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Post  Admin on Fri 10 Oct 2014, 7:06 pm

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Dzongkha People of Bhutan
Aug 21, 2014 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Psalm 141:2 (NIV) "May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the 
lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice."

At first glance, this verse from Psalm 141 might appear to be much like a 
Buddhist exhortation. In both cases incense is used in worship. But the big 
difference
is that most Buddhists are reaching out to a spiritual force. To the Jewish 
and Christians who read Psalm 141, prayer is like sweet-smelling incense for
a loving God, a true living being.

Pray that the Dzongkha people will have a hunger for the loving God. Pray 
that they will not settle for a spiritual force.

Today's People Group

High in the mountains of Bhutan a teenage boy sat in a temple facing the 
statue of Buddha. Soon he would be 15, and by custom he would be required to 
make
a commitment to Buddha. That is the way of the Dzongkha people group. The 
boy lit a stick of incense and placed it in a bowl. The sweet aroma soon 
filled
the room. The only god the boy had ever heard of was Buddha, and he wondered 
if other gods existed. The elders had told him that gods were attracted to
incense. They also told him that demons were attracted to incense. The boy 
wondered who would contact him first, a god or a demon.

The Dzongkha have lived in the high mountains of Bhutan for longer than 
anyone can remember. According to legends, this people group converted to 
Buddhism
during the mid-8th century A.D. Only in recent years has this people group 
been contacted by outsiders. High mountains have isolated them from those 
who
could tell them about Jesus Christ, the only source of salvation. There are 
very few followers of Jesus Christ among the Dzongkha.

Pray that God would lead faithful workers to reach out to the Dzongkha with 
the message of salvation. Ask God to create a hunger for the true God among
this people group. Pray also for the start of radio outreach in the Dzongkha 
language.

Learn more atJoshua Project.
Copyright © 2014 U.S. Center for World Mission, All rights reserved.

The Karate Kid
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Culture Editor

But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the 
right cheek, turn to him the other also. –
Matthew 5:39

When it comes to old movies, there’s really no beating the 1984 Karate Kid. 
It’s the classic coming-of-age story of a young man who finds his potential
with the help of a wise, old man. Of course, back then all I cared about 
were the awesome fight scenes. The first time I saw the movie I must have 
spent
a week doing “Crane kicks” around the house like an inebriated flamingo. 
Those same action sequences haven’t aged well, and these days The Karate Kid 
looks
downright corny, but the film still contains some valuable lessons for 
people who listen.

At one point in the movie Daniel grows frustrated with his training. He’s 
tired of being bullied, tired of being treated like a loser, he wants some 
payback
and karate seems like the best way to get it. Mr. Miyagi listens patiently 
as his young pupil vents his anger, then pulls him aside and in broken 
English
tries to explain the essence of what he’s teaching.

Pointing to his head, Miyagi says, “Daniel san, karate here.” He then points 
to his heart and says “Karate here.” Lastly, he points at his fists and say,
“karate never, never here.”

The Karate Kid might be a cheesy movie, but I think a lot of Christians 
could take a lesson from Mr. Miyagi. It bothers me how often I hear
pastors
and Christian leaders say things like, “We’re soldiers in the army of God”, 
“We’re fighting a Culture War”, or “The line is being drawn in the sand”.
I understand how hard it is to live as a Christian in modern culture, 
believe me, but that doesn’t mean we start living our
faith
with our fists. In fact, that sounds almost counter to what Jesus told his 
disciples to do.

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate 
you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone 
strikes
you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, 
do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and 
if
anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you 
would have them do to you.”– Luke 6:27-31

The truth is Jesus doesn’t need us to fight His battles. Our job is to be 
reflections of His love and mercy, and we can’t do that when we’re branding 
people
as enemies of the Church. The same principles Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel about 
karate are true for Christians. God is in our hearts, God is in our minds,
but God is never, never in our fists.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Take some time and examine how you witness to 
others. Are you showing them genuine friendship?

Further Reading
Romans 12:14

Whose Voice Do You Hear?
Mary Southerland
Today’s Truth

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me
(John 10:27,
NIV).

Friend to Friend

Dan and I had been married one year when we moved to Fort Worth, Texas, so 
Dan could attend seminary. I desperately wanted a teaching job, but none was
available. Instead I was hired as a secretary in an insurance office. It was 
definitely not my idea of a dream job, but I had a plan. Every day, on my
lunch hour, I call the school district’s personnel office to ask, “Do you 
have a job or me yet?” After several weeks, a frustrated voice finally 
responded
with the words I had been longing to hear. “Mary, will you teach anything 
anywhere?” she asked. Finally! I jumped at the job offer and made an 
appointment
to visit my new classroom that afternoon. The principal escorted me up a 
flight of stairs, pointed to a door, and said, “That’s your classroom. Good 
luck!”
With a knowing smile, he turned and walked away…quickly.

Stepping into the classroom, I froze at the astonishing sight before me. 
Some children were jumping on desks while others crawled under tables, all 
screaming
and yelling at the top of their lungs. Paper and food littered the floor. In 
the corner sat an obviously frazzled substitute teacher, who was desperately
trying to gain control of her students…uh, make that my students. The 
classroom was in total chaos. My first thought was, “What have I gotten 
myself into?”
The next few weeks certainly answered that question.

Each classroom was arranged in learning centers instead of desks. The 
students moved from center to center as they completed assignments, a plan 
that naturally
invited noise. I learned that because of overcrowding, each teacher had been 
asked to select two children to form a new classroom…my classroom…and of 
course,
each teacher had chosen his or her two most difficult students.

The first few weeks were a nightmarish battle for control. After losing my 
voice twice, my sister, Betty, a veteran first grade teacher, gave me some 
great
advice. “The louder you are, the louder the children will be. If you want to 
get their attention, speak softly so they will have to be quiet in order to
hear your voice.” I put her advice into action the very next day. As the 
children entered the classroom, I greeted each one with a silent smile. In 
my
hands was a brightly wrapped box. Curious, they asked, “What is that, Mrs. 
Southerland?” I merely smiled and said nothing until every student was 
quietly
seated. “I have a new plan,” I began. “Sometime during the day, I will call 
your name once. If you hear my voice, you may choose one prize from our new
prize box. If you don’t hear my voice, you will miss the opportunity to 
select a prize and I will call another student’s name.” It worked like a 
charm!
In a matter of days, my students learned to listen for my voice above all 
others.

Stress comes when we allow the many voices in life to drown out the only 
voice that really matters, the voice of God. We can’t obey every voice we 
hear.
If we try, we will end up in total failure, carrying a heavy load we were 
never created to carry. Obedience to God is not a heavy load because we don’t
have to carry it alone. God’s strength and power bear the burden of our 
obedience to Him. The more time we spend in God’s Word and in prayer, the 
easier
it will be to recognize His voice.

Let’s Pray

Father, I come to You today, wanting and needing to hear Your voice. I am 
drowning in the expectations of others and am so confused about the next 
step
I need to take. Please give me Your direction and the strength to follow 
Your plan for my life.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read John 10:4 (NLT) “After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of 
them, and they follow him because they recognize his voice.” Notice that the
shepherd walks ahead of his sheep, gently calling them to follow. What 
change do you need to make in your life so that you can look for God’s hand 
at work
and listen for His voice alone?

By faith, accept the truth that God is always at work in your life and thank 
Him for His steadfast provision. Look back over the last few days, weeks and
months of your life. Now praise Him for the things He has done. Identify the 
“voices” that you tend to listen to instead of listening for the voice of
God.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070
info@girlfriendsingod.com


Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You

A Word With You
Daily Devotional
Running Into Yourself - #7205

Some friends said, "How would you like to use our condominium down by the 
ocean in Florida?" It was a very hard decision, but it took us ten seconds. 
I'll
tell you what, it was really a great place. I never thought I'd stay in a 
place like that. It had some very distinctive furnishings. Well, yeah, the 
mirrors!
They were everywhere. And they were very strategically placed so you could 
see the ocean from almost any spot in the house.

I was the first one up that first morning. I was alone. Now, I'm not 
familiar with this place, okay? I'm puttering around in the kitchen for 
breakfast.
I went over to the kitchen table. I leaned over to get something and 
suddenly out of the corner of my eye I saw this hand reaching for me. It 
scared me!
Of course I spun around to see who was sneaking up on me. It was me. I 
hadn't realized that there was a mirror on the wall right next to me 
reflecting
everything I did. Everywhere I went in this place I kept running into me.

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

One of the writers of the Bible kept running into himself everywhere, and he 
didn't like what he saw. He wrote words that people have been able to 
identify
with very closely for a long time. His name is Paul. He wrote much of the 
New Testament, and it says in Romans 7:18, "I have the desire to do what is 
good,
but I can't carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do. No, 
the evil I do not want to do. This I keep on doing." Oh for goodness sake, 
who
can't relate to that, in our marriage, with our kids, with our friends?

Then he says in verse 21, "I find this law at work: when I want to do good, 
evil is right there with me." And finally he is desperate. In verse 24 he 
says,
"What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death?" Then 
he's got an answer. He says, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our 
Lord."

In spite of being a very religious man, Paul kept running into this dark 
side of himself that was selfish and sinful. Is that unique to him? No! Like 
that
condo we were in, we've got a lot of mirrors that show us some things that 
scare us. If you're married, your spouse is probably a mirror for you. Your
parents are a mirror; showing you things that you may not like about 
yourself; you may not like to hear.

Our children - man, are they our mirrors! They reflect our inadequacies, our 
weaknesses, our baggage, our mistakes, and our pain. And even our critics;
they're mirrors. Even if we throw away a lot of what they say as being bias, 
they still show us things we'd rather not see. And a crisis - now there's
a mirror. Where things are coming apart - that's where you see the real you.

Now, when our dark side is suddenly staring us in the face, we try to run 
from it, we try to rationalize it, blame someone else until one day we 
finally
get honest and say, "You know what? There is a darkness inside of me that 
scares me. I can't change the ugly parts of me. If I could have, I would 
have."
And that's where Paul was here, "Who will rescue me?" And then there's the 
answer: God would through Jesus Christ. See, life's mirrors all seem to say
the same thing, "You need a Savior." And we do.

That's why the Bible says in Romans 5:8, "While we were still sinners 
(That's means running our own lives that God was supposed to run.) God 
proved His
love for us by Christ dying for us. We have this killer disease called sin, 
and God's Son came to break its' power, to die for your sin and mine to be
our Rescuer. And then He showed His power over the most powerful force on 
earth - death, by conquering it on Easter morning.

Couldn't you use that power in your life, in your relationships, in your 
family? There's a new beginning that comes when you get every sin and every 
mistake
forgiven by God. This all happens when you go to the cross of Jesus and you 
surrender to this wonderful Savior. Have you ever done that? Have you ever
started your relationship with Him? If you haven't and you want to, can I 
ask you to take the next step on that journey and go to our website 
ANewStory.com?
I want to help you get this going.

Maybe you are even running into yourself in life's mirrors recently and you 
don't like what you see. Look again. Right behind you, just over your 
shoulder,
there's someone there. That's Jesus extending His hand to you. Grab Him 
right now. He's helped you run into yourself so you'll run into Him.

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

Love Worth Finding Ministries

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Peace, Be Still
BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Keep me as the apple of the eye…hide me under the shadow of Thy wings.â€
Psalm 17:8

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Charles Wesley was walking through the woods on a stormy day when a 
lightning storm broke out and the rain began to come down in torrents. A 
bolt of lightning
flashed, and a little bird was so frightened that it flew down to Wesley and 
it tried to hide in his coat.

He was so moved by the scene that he wrote a song we often sing: “Jesus, 
lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly, while the nearer waters roll, 
while
the tempest still is high. Hide me, O my Savior, hide, ‘til the storm of 
life is past; safe unto the haven guide me, O receive my soul at last.†That’s
what our Lord does. He hides us, sustains us, and keeps us.

ACTION POINT:
Are the storms of life raging around you? Hide yourself in the dark 
clouds—they are just the shadow of His wing.

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 Wed 08 Oct 2014, 4:09 pm

3607 cdd The Leprosarium
Monday August 18, 2014
Volume 15 Number 171

Today's Author: Pastor Bill

Scripture: Genesis 50:20
"But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in 
order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive" NKJV

The story is told of Joey Guerrero in the Philippines and begins in 1941 
just prior to World War 2. Life was good for Joey growing up and she married 
with
anticipation of a wonderful life. But sometimes tragedy will change a life's 
direction forever. Joey full of life and anticipation learned she had 
leprosy.
Immediately she began treatment at a Leper colony isolating her from 
everyone she loved. But when Japan invaded the Philippines all leprosariums 
closed
and were abandoned. That left Joey to fend for herself.

Despite her disease Joey joined the underground in opposition to Japanese 
rule. She was a food, clothing and medicine smuggler. She became a life line
for messages to prisoners of war dispersed in many camps. She used her mind 
which was not affected by the disease and mapped out Japanese fortifications
along the waterfront. Her mapping skills pin pointed the locations of 
anti-aircraft batteries.

When her band of underground guerrillas discovered newly-sown minefields 
Joey was called in to develop the map for the fields. Then she was 
dispatched
on an incredibly difficult mission. She was asked to carry a minefield map 
to the US Army 37th Division stationed near Clark Air Field. The 37th was in
the final stages of preparation for the invasion of Manila.

With little thought for her own life, Joey trudged through miles of enemy 
territory. Passing encampment after encampment with the minefield map taped 
to
her back. The map sat in-between her leprosy ridden shoulder blades. The map 
was safely secure under her shirt and a back pack strapped over her 
shoulders.
Along the way Japanese occupation forces searched her. They soon became 
repelled by her leprosy and allowed her to pass. The map was delivered 
safely and
many soldiers were saved from the savage assault of the minefield due to her 
heroism.

"When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window" Maria from the 
Sound of Music 1965

"You just can't beat the person who never gives up" Babe Ruth

Prayer: Father thank you for making ways in my life where the world says 
there is no way. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

Pastor Bill Team Prayer:

Father please bring 1............. 2............. 3.............. into your 
kingdom.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

Copyright (c) 2014
Pastor Bill Christian Cyber Ministries


Leading the Way

Week of Aug. 18

The Bow and Arrow

Have you ever been described as an impatient person? It is easy to feel 
impatient. Maybe traffic isn't moving fast enough and you are going to be 
late
for your meeting. Or you can't get through the checkout lane quickly enough 
to pick up your children from the babysitter. These daily irritations can 
zap
your strength and cause you to lose sight of what really matters.

The source of true patience is the Spirit of God. His patience toward us 
allows us the opportunity to grow and to become more like Him. He does not 
give
up on us. When we are stubborn and fail to learn what God wants to teach us, 
He continues to demonstrate His patience.

Many times, we grow impatient with a colleague, friend, child, or spouse and 
forget that God is patient with us and requires us to do the same with 
others.
One of the causes of impatience is spiritual shortsightedness. Our view is 
limited. Therefore, many times we only see what has a direct impact on our 
lives.
We become impatient because we can't see life from God's perspective!

God has a greater plan. While He does not always show us the details, we can 
know the big picture—we are in His loving hands.

Oswald Chambers writes:

Patience is more than endurance. A saint's life is in the hands of God like 
a bow and arrow in the hands of the archer. God is aiming at something the
saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the 
saint says, ‘I cannot stand anymore.' God does not heed, He goes on 
stretching
till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God's 
hands.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves 
with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 
3:12).

The Holy Spirit possesses a dynamite-like power that works within a believer 
to blast out anything that is unlike God. Michael Youssef explores this 
topic
in our free resource this month—"Dynamite Power."
Download it today.

By Passionately Proclaiming Uncompromising Truth, Leading The Way is 
revolutionizing lives at home and around the world. Discover more at
www.leadingtheway.org.

Featured Sermon
from
LightSource.com

Pastor Denny D. Davis
St. John Church Unleashed Grand Prairie

Studying Your Bible
Jarrid Wilson

Over the last few months I have had hundreds of you request a post on “How 
to Study The Bible.” Well, here it is. I pray this post blesses you, 
challenges
you, and inspires you to take the initiative to deepen your relationship 
with God.

Below is the formula I use when studying and journaling through the 
scriptures. This doesn’t mean it’s the only way to study, but I do believe 
this formula
is a great way to strengthen your foundation in Christ.

1. Uncover

1. Time/Date/Author

2. Place/Location

3. Audience (who is the text directed to?)

2. Relate

1. How does it affect me?

2. How does it make me feel?

3. In what ways do I share a similar experience?

3. Apply

1. What did I learn?

2. How can it be applied to my life?

3. What is God trying to tell me through this text?

Featured Sermon
from
LightSource.com

Kay Arthur
Precepts for Life

Today's Daily Encounter

The Big IF

This edition is for professing Christians.

"If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get
anything done. Keep on sowing your seed, for you never
know which will grow--perhaps it all will."1

And as Jesus said to His followers, "But you will
receive power when the Holy [God's] Spirit comes on
you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in
all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."2

Recently in a Sunday morning worship service our church
congregation was singing with great enthusiasm the old
hymn: "Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is
born," while the reality is that far too many of us
don't even "go tell it" across the street. We have
excellent community services, but we mostly don't even
make any helpful gospel literature available.

I remember reading years ago the tongue-in-cheek
comment of a fellow Christian who in a take off on the
hymn, "Onward Christian Soldiers marching as to war,"
said we should really be singing, "Like a mighty
tortoise moves the church of God, brothers we are
treading where we've always trod."

The sad reality is that, according to the highly
respected Barna Research Group, the church in the
U.S.A. today is in decline. Furthermore, according to
an adjunct professor from Fuller Seminary, "The fastest
growing church in America today is the church of none."
That is, more and more people are dropping out of the
organized church.

Jesus commissioned His followers saying that they were
to "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to
everyone,"3 and again, Jesus said, "Follow me and I
will make you fishers of men."4 Thus, if we are not
actively involved in fishing for lost souls, are we
truly following Jesus?

Some years ago I prayed and in my prayer I said to God,
"I hate witnessing and I'm quitting because I am too
scared. However, God, if you want to use me, I'm
available, but You'll have to do it through me because
I'm too afraid."

A few hours after that, I was traveling on an airplane,
sitting alone reading Hal Lindsay's book, 'The Late
Great Planet Earth.' At one point a fellow passenger
got out of his seat, sat down in the empty seat beside
me and, after introducing himself, asked me about the
book I was reading.

I told him it was a book about the return of Christ to
earth coming for all His true followers. He asked, "Do
you believe that Christ will return to earth?"

When I told him I did, he said, "Will you please tell
me all about it?"

Now I love to witness like that and it all happened
because I admitted to God that I was afraid to witness,
but that I was available for God to use me to share the
gospel message with others--and I've been sharing the
gospel with mega thousands of people ever since,
primarily through the printed page, e-Mail and the
Internet.

After all these many years I still pray the following
prayer every morning and plan to keep doing so for the
rest of my life. I encourage you to do the same:

"Dear God I am available again today. Please make me
usable and use me to be an effective witness for Jesus
today, and please help me to be 'as Jesus' in some way
to every life I touch. Thank You for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name,
amen."

NOTE: for practical tips, helps and tools to easily
keep on sowing the seed of the gospel and be an
effective witness for Jesus go to:
http://www.actsweb.org/people_power02.php

1. Ecclesiastes 12: 4, 6 (TLB).
2. Acts 1:8 (NIV).
3. Mark 16:15 (NLT).
4. Matthew 4:19 (NKJV).

<Smile)))><

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

* * * * * * *

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

http://www.actscom.com

ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
San Clemente, California 92673-0119
U.S.A.
Phone: 949-940-9050
http://www.actsweb.org

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

Strength to Soar

Shifting his backpack, James let out a long breath. He and his dad were high 
in the Rocky Mountains on a long hike on the Continental Divide Trail. The
path was rugged, and James was tired. Suddenly his father stopped. “Look, 
son!” James looked where his father was pointing. Over the valley, a large 
bird
was soaring. It was dark brown with a white head, and it gave a shrill cry.

“Dad, it’s a bald eagle!” James said.

His father grinned. “Is that awesome, or what?” Grabbing his binoculars, 
James watched the eagle. It made powerful strokes with its wings and then 
glided,
the feathers of its wingtips extended.

“It must have a six-foot wingspan!” James said, handing his dad the 
binoculars. Both of them stood there, admiring the majestic creature. As he 
watched
it fly, James breathed in deeply, his weariness gone.

Even kids get worn out sometimes, especially when the going gets rough. Are 
you feeling weary? Are you discouraged because of difficulties you’re going
through? Don’t give up hope. Put your hope in God. Remember his promises and 
keep trusting them. God will refresh your strength, enabling you to soar 
like
an eagle.

Bible Verse: Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will 
soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk
and not be faint. –
Isaiah 40:31

Words to Treasure: [God] gives strength to the weary and increases the power 
of the weak. –
Isaiah 40:29

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

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Adventure Bible Handbook: A Wild Ride Through the Bible
By Robin Schmitt,David Frees

The Crucified Life
Jesus said:

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross 
and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, NIV)

Jesus spoke these words to His disciples on His way to Jerusalem to be 
crucified. Standing at a safe distance, I can understand what He was telling 
them.
But what is He saying to me? And what is the Apostle Paul telling me when he 
says:

Count yourselves dead to sin. (Romans 6:11, NIV)

Or what about this?

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live. (Galatians 2:20, 
NIV)

I’m comfortable with the concepts as long as they’re aimed at somebody else. 
They make sense. But if my personal interests are being crucified, I get 
very
uncertain. I can stand back and admire the beauty of these truths until I 
actually have to deny myself. When I have to lay aside my ego and my rights 
in
a relationship and act only in the other person’s best interests, then 
suddenly unselfishness doesn’t seem so sensible.

Sometimes I see Jesus’ footsteps leading me to the Calvary, just when 
pursuing “the good life” seems so natural.

I feel the weight of the cross when I realize that I’m here to serve God, 
not my comfort and career.

I feel the nails in my hands when I ask what He wants me to do with His 
money and His time in this world of suffering and need.

I feel the spear pierce my side when I realize that my whole life—all my 
energies and every dream—are to glorify Him, not me.

When I honestly address these deep demands of discipleship, I choke. How can 
I even begin to measure up? Is this one of those guilt trips I have to 
either
avoid or rationalize away?

But then I face my Savior, who is here with me now, and I realize it is His 
voice I hear and His heart that is speaking to me. I am reminded that like
all His commands, these words are gifts of love. They are invitations to 
remove everything that separates Him and me, to enjoy a deeper fellowship 
with
Him and a more complete rest in Him. And with Jesus speaking the words, I 
start to hear them differently.

Yes, I have to count myself dead to sin. But then I am alive to God in 
Christ Jesus, and the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord 
(Romans
6:11, 23, NIV).

When I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, Christ lives in 
me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who 
loved
me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20, NIV).

As I trust Him, Christ lives in me! I rejoice in His presence and eagerly 
listen for His voice. I start to taste His freedom from selfishness and 
begin
bringing all my needs to Him.

As I turn my life-style over to Him, my love for Him grows warmer and more 
personal. I begin to release my fears and embrace Him with my whole heart.

As I embrace Him, I find He takes away, not my freedom, but my slavery to 
myself. He doesn’t take my dignity, but only my empty pride. He doesn’t 
lessen
the excitement of life. He helps me enjoy more and more of the full life 
that He wants for me.

Jesus Christ offers each of us freedom and wholeness, if only we will lay 
down our lives daily and let Him live through us.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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Post  Admin on Mon 06 Oct 2014, 8:15 pm

Apple Cider

Isaiah 55:1 - Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who
have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and
without cost. (NASB)

On a hot, fall day our high school marching band took part in the Apple
Festival in Chilhowie, Virginia, USA. We marched in a parade, then waited
around for our time to compete in the field competition. After that parade,
I was hot and thirsty. I went to a vendor who had cans of soft drinks. The
one I bought was good and cold, but it did not quench my thirst. Then I saw
a vendor who had bottles of ice cold apple cider. I bought one of those, and
that hit the spot.

We are created with a spiritual thirst, but most people don't know what will
quench that thirst. We may try different things, activities, or
relationships, but they don't quench it completely. Disappointed, we go on
to something else which we think might fill that need in us. But Jesus
Christ is the only one who can really quench our spiritual thirst.

There is a cost to what we *think* will quench our thirst: possessions,
adventures, relationships. But what *will* quench our spiritual thirst is
free: the cost is not ours to pay. But to quench this thirst it cost Jesus
Christ His life. He gave His life so we could be filled without cost.

Matthew 5:6 – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for
they shall be satisfied. (NASB)

Let us all partake of Jesus Christ to quench our spiritual thirst. And let
us share Him with others so they may know what will truly quench their
thirst.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, we thank You for giving Your life for us. Thank
You for offering Yourself to quench our thirst. Help us to continually drink
from Your supply. Help us to let others know that You are the only One who
can quench their thirst. Amen.

By Dean W. Masters
Unedited redistribution approved
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Post  Admin on Sun 05 Oct 2014, 8:41 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Love
"There are three things that remain--faith, hope, and
love--and the greatest of these is love."1

Many years ago, when I was a youth, I read the
following poem that I have never forgotten. It was
written by John Oxenham:

Love ever gives, forgives outlives,
And ever stands with open hands,
And while it lives, it gives.
For this is love's prerogative-
to give, and give, and give.

As the Apostle Paul wrote in perhaps the greatest
literary masterpiece on love ever written: "If I speak
in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I
have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries
and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move
mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give
all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the
flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."2

Love is much more than sentiment and even a feeling.
It's a commitment of one imperfect person to another.
It's a choice. It's a byproduct of growth and maturity.
It is a gift from God. It also needs to be learned. We
learn it from loving people who know us totally--warts
and all--and still love us. And we learn it from others
who model it, the supreme example being the Lord Jesus.

And remember, we always need to do the loving
thing--even when we don't feel loving.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in the words of John
Powell, 'Please don't let me die without having fully
lived and fully loved.' Thank You for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Paul the Apostle (1 Corinthians 13:13, TLB).
2. 1 Corinthians13:1-3 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

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

* * * * *

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

Welcome to the Nugget
August 16, 2014

Hands of God
By Answers2Prayer

Many of you have likely heard the expression, "Be the hands of God." I have 
always taken this to mean that when we do something for someone, we are 
being
the physical hands of God. He uses us to bring about blessing to His 
children.

But what does this mean, in practical terms?

There is a patient in the chronic care hospital where I work who spends her 
day screaming. After hearing this day in and day out, you can imagine how 
tired
the staff become of this particular patient, and how little she is liked.

I was working with this patient one day, and I am ashamed to admit that I 
was cringing, fearful of when the screaming would start, wishing I could be 
somewhere
else. My eye then roamed over the head of her bed to the bulletin board, 
where there were several pictures of young people. They were obviously 
siblings,
and obviously the children of our screaming patient. My mind went quickly 
back to what I had learned about this patient: Besides being a mother, she 
had
been a pastor's wife. My mouth gaped open as I took a moment to stare at my 
patient. How could she have been a pastor's wife?

But then, why not?

And suddenly God spoke clearly into my mind: "She did much for the Kingdom 
when she still could. She raised godly children, she faithfully supported 
her
husband as he did My work, and she has touched countless lives for Me! Now I 
am caring for her!"

"...And now You've put her in my hands!" I stated quietly, suddenly humbled 
by the responsibility God had given me. My eyes teared over as my hand began
to stroke her hair. "When I care for her," I continued, aloud, "I am caring 
for someone who is very, very valuable in Your eyes!"

Then came that clear impression in my mind, the voice of God: "When you care 
for her, you are being MY hands!"

I stood there for several moments more, just stroking the hair of this dear 
lady as I began to realize how every patient under my care had a past, every
patient was precious to God, and when I cared for any of them, I was caring 
for something of very high value in God's eyes. And suddenly I realized what
it meant to be the "hands of God." It meant that I was to follow the example 
of our Lord and Saviour, when He was here on Earth, and do good to my fellow
man. When I do, I am acting as God's hands on Earth.

But then, aren't we told that when we do good to others, it is like we're 
doing it to God Himself?

"'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You 
drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe 
You?
Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King 
will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did 
it
to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" (Matt 25:37-40 
NKJV)

I can truthfully tell you that my attitude towards this patient, as well as 
every other patient on my floor, changed at that moment. I no longer see my
job as only a means of supporting my family. I now try to see each patient 
as God does, and I use it as an opportunity to be God's hands on Earth.

I can only pray that this lesson will carry over into every aspect of my 
life, that I will begin to seek out all opportunities to be used as "the 
hands
of God." I know that my life will be richer and happier as a result!

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:

Are you ever tempted to think that your sin has no consequence? After all, 
Jesus forgave ALL our sins! Even that one little time when we knew better, 
but
it anyway! What could be the harm? Check out "Lessons From David's Fall," a 
mini-series designed to help us understand that EACH and EVERY ONE of our 
actions
have a profound affect, not only on our own lives, but on the lives of 
thousands of others around us
http://scripturalnuggets.org/Folder11/lessons_from_davids_fall.htm

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

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

A Norvell Note

Vol. 17 No. 33 August 18, 2014
Just Serve Me

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. 
“Teacher,” they said, “Lord, we want you to do us a favor.” (Mark 10:35, New 
Living
Translation)
I pray the same prayer, regularly, “Lord, I want you to do me a favor.”
My prayer is not usually about being the greatest, like James and John, but 
it is equally self-centered. I say the words then start my list.
I want You to make our church grow.
I want You to make us more effective in reaching the community.
I want You to change the attitudes of some of our people.
I want You to make people do what I want them to do.
I want You to show people what a good guy I am.
I want You to make our marriage better.
I want You to change my spouse, my children, my co-workers, my church 
members, my friends, people in our community, and people in general so that 
they
think and act more like I want them to think and act. That would be really 
nice!
I want You to make me a better preacher, a better writer, a better teacher, 
and a better counselor.
I want You to bring peace to the world.
I want You to do away with all the hunger and pain in the world, and make 
sure everyone has a home.
I want You to cause our church to be bigger without losing the warm, 
personal, and friendly atmosphere that we now enjoy.
I want You to make me rich and not think I am anything special just because 
I am rich.
I want You to make me appreciate what I have and while you are at it make me 
content with what I have.
There is my list, Lord. Lord, I have a lot of favors that I want You to do 
for me. At least that’s all I can think of right now. Tomorrow I will 
probably
add a few more things to the list of favors I want you to do for me.
Then, to my amazement, I had a rare unselfish moment and turned to the Lord 
said, “Lord, You do so much for me. Is there anything I can do for You? Can
I do a favor for you?”
He smiled and said, “Thank You for asking. As a matter of fact I do have one 
request.”
“Name it, Lord. I am all about doing what You want me to do.”
He put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eyes said, “Just serve me.”
He continued. “I look around and see so many of my children struggling for 
power and position. I just want you to serve me. Don’t worry about where you
will sit or what role you will play in my Kingdom. Just serve me.”
“I see so many of my children doing without, struggling to get by, and 
searching for answers to the many questions that puzzle and perplex them. I 
wish
you would help them. Just serve me by helping them.”
“I know that you have a lot of pressure on you from the people of the world 
to act big and strong and set policy and make important decisions. Maybe 
someday
you will be called to a place where you will make important decisions that 
impact the world, but for now, just serve me.”
“Don’t worry about being first. It’s okay to be last. When it is time for 
you to move to the front of the line, I’ll make sure it happens. You don’t 
need
to worry about it. For now, just serve me.”
“What I really want you to do for me is do what I do. I came to serve, not 
to be served. So just serve me.”
“And when you serve me, do it with joy and do it cheerfully. Serve me 
because you love me. Serve me because my Spirit lives in you. Just serve 
me.”
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, 
“we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for
you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other 
at your left in your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus
said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am 
baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink
the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to 
sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those
for whom they have been prepared.” When the ten heard about this, they 
became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, 
“You
know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over 
them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with 
you. Instead,
whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever 
wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come
to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 
(Mark 10:35-45, NIV)
Tom
A Norvell Note ©️ Copyright 2014. Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.
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Post  Admin on Sun 05 Oct 2014, 10:02 am

4 Ways to Embrace the Season You're In
Cortni Marrazzo

As I write this, it's summer time and the temperatures in my area of the 
country have been consistently pretty high lately. I’m not typically a huge 
fan
of hot weather in general, and my current state of being almost 9 months 
pregnant is not helping that! Not to mention that autumn is my favorite 
season
and seems to be right around the corner, yet also so far away at the same 
time. Because of these reasons, I will admit that I am counting down the 
days
until September when I will no longer be pregnant and summer will for the 
most part be over.

The problem is that I still have quite a few weeks until this happens, and 
while it is great to have something to look forward to, I know that I can’t
just wish away the time and be miserable in the interim. I know that this 
season is short and especially with this being our last child, I know that I
will never get this time back once it is gone. My husband is also currently 
in a similar situation as he has the responsibility of finishing the 
basement
in our house to make room for our newest
family
member (in addition to working full time). I realized that in order to keep 
a good attitude and enjoy these last few weeks, that we really need to 
embrace
our current seasons instead of stressing about it. Since I am a very 
practical person, I sat down to think about how we could really do this and 
came up
with a few ideas.

Enjoy the Benefits

Every season we go through in life, no matter how difficult or 
uncomfortable, has some benefits, even if they are small ones that we really 
have to search
for. Like I mentioned, I'm not a huge fan of summer because I generally 
prefer cooler weather, but one small benefit of summer for me is getting to 
wear
flip flops every day and never having to find socks! It's a very little 
thing I know, but it is still a benefit that I can embrace! When my husband 
has
to travel for work and I'm at home playing a single mom, it’s easy to get 
down about hard that is, a small benefit of that time is that I get to 
choose
what TV show to watch and what to eat for dinner (which is often Thai food 
since my husband isn’t a fan). Again, it’s a small thing, and I’d much 
rather
have my husband home, but finding the small things in the midst of tough 
situations really does help me through that time.

Be Thankful

Aside from the small benefits that come specifically with the difficult 
seasons we go through, we also have things in our lives we can be thankful 
for
that aren’t affected by most circumstances. For instance, no matter what 
stressful situations my husband and I face, I am always thankful for the 
health
of our family and the wonderful blessing we have in our son (even when his 
attitude is the difficult circumstance I face!).

I’m thankful for our church and our church family, as well as our extended 
family and the fact that we have a roof over our heads and that we serve an
amazing God that will never leave us or forsake us. I realize that some 
people’s difficult circumstances do include a loss of some of these things, 
but
there is always something to find to be thankful for. We simply have to look 
at
Job
who lost everything, but was still able to be thankful for God, whom he 
served.

Learn the Lesson

In the midst of pretty much every difficult season we go through, God wants 
to teach us a lesson of some sort. Even if he didn't cause our tough time 
(such
as death of a family member or sickness) he can still use it for our good by 
helping us grown and learn through it. If we can really lean on God and 
learn
the lesson from the situation, we will walk away stronger and find some 
meaning in it. For instance, if a relationship is strained or ends, you 
learn that
God is really all you need, and you can be at peace with him at the center 
of your life, even if someone else is no longer there. I personally have 
learned
to be content and not put so much value in material things when I have gone 
through financial shortages. I've learned I can be happy, despite not having
all the things I want. There is something to be learned in every situation 
of life and if we submit to that and are open to learning and growing, we 
will
walk out of those circumstances a better person than we were before.

Give and Serve

Nothing shakes up a gloomy mood more than helping and serving others. When I 
am serving at church, or helping others in my life, my own problems often
seem smaller and more manageable. It takes my eyes off myself and my 
circumstances and my selfish focus of how I’m currently feeling. Even when I 
give
some of my time to spend with my friends, it instantly helps me feel more 
able to overcome and get through whatever I am going through at the time. 
Isolating
ourselves while going through a difficult situation is a normal response, 
but it’s not the healthiest and it actually drags us backwards. Putting 
ourselves
around people who can lift us up and encourage us, as well as those who we 
can help and encourage ourselves, really does lift our spirits and give us 
the
mental push to get through what we are going through.

Thankfully difficult situations are usually only temporary, but how we think 
of them can make them feel longer and harder. We decide how we handle these
things in our lives and how much they really affect us. It’s not easy, but 
we can spin things around to a positive light and enjoy the process a bit 
more
than we would if we just let it overtake our lives. Let’s take the time to 
embrace our lives and our current season because even though your particular
situation will soon be over, another difficult one is bound to be just 
around the corner. If we can learn to embrace and find joy in these, we will 
experience
and more joyful life.

Cortni Marrazzo currently resides in Spokane, Washington with her husband 
Jason and 3 year old son. She has a Degree in Biblical Discipleship and has 
a
passion for ministry and encouraging the body of Christ. She and her husband 
currently serve as small group directors at their local church. You can 
contact
her at
Cortni.Marrazzo@gmail.com
Experiencing LIFE Today

Truth For Life Daily

August 13

Re-Read the Promise

Genesis 9:15

Note the form of this promise. God does not say, "And when you shall look 
upon the bow, and you shall remember My covenant, then I will not destroy 
the
earth," but it is gloriously put, not upon our memory, which is fickle and 
frail, but upon God's memory, which is infinite and immutable. "When . . . 
the
bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant." It is not my 
remembering God—it is God's remembering me that is the ground of my safety; 
it is
not my laying hold of His covenant, but His covenant's laying hold on me. 
Glory be to God!

The ramparts of
salvation
are secured by divine power, and even the minor towers, which we could 
imagine being left to man, are guarded by almighty strength. Even the 
remembrance of
the covenant is not left to our memories, for we might forget; but our Lord 
cannot forget the names of those whom He has graven on the palms of His 
hands.
It is with us as it was with Israel in Egypt; the blood was upon the lintel 
and the two side-posts, but the Lord did not say, "When you see the blood I
will pass over you," but "When I see the blood I will pass over you."

My looking to Jesus brings me joy and peace, but it is God's looking to 
Jesus that secures my salvation and that of all His elect, since it is 
impossible
for our God to look at Christ, our bleeding Surety, and then to be angry 
with us for sins already punished in Him. It is not left with us even to be 
saved
by remembering the covenant. There is not a single thread of human effort in 
this fabric. It is not of man, neither by man, but of the Lord alone. We 
should remember
the covenant, and we shall do it, through divine grace; but the hinge of our 
safety does not hang there—it is God's remembering us, not our remembering 
Him;
and hence the covenant is an everlasting covenant.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Jeremiah 41

verse 2 Psalms 17
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Post  Admin on Thu 02 Oct 2014, 9:34 pm

The Woman of Proverbs 31

Her character: She represents the fulfillment of a life lived in wisdom.
Her joy: To be praised by her husband and children as a woman who surpasses 
all others.
Key Scriptures:
Proverbs 31:10-31

Her Story

Proverbs brims with less-than-glowing descriptions of women. There are 
wayward wives, prostitutes, women with smoother-than-oil lips, strange 
women, loud
women, defiant women, wives who are like a continual drip on a rainy day or 
decay in their husbands' bones, women whose feet never stay home, 
brazen-faced
women, and even a woman so repulsive she is likened to a gold ring in a 
pig's snout!

Any woman reading Proverbs may be tempted to conclude that its authors 
tended to blame women for weaknesses actually rooted in the male psyche, 
especially
when it comes to sexual sin. But to balance things out there are also some 
odious descriptions of men, including scoundrels, villains, chattering 
fools,
and sluggards. And Proverbs actually opens and closes with positive 
portrayals of women: first as wisdom personified and then as a woman who can 
do no
wrong.

Just who was this woman on a pedestal described in
Proverbs 31?
Was she, as many think, the ideal wife and mother? In traditional Jewish 
homes, husbands and children recited the poem in
Proverbs 31
at the Sabbath table. Written as an acrostic, each line begins with a Hebrew 
letter in alphabetical sequence, making it easy to memorize. The poem 
describes
a wealthy, aristocratic woman with a large household to direct. She was 
hardworking, enterprising, capable, strong, wise, skilled, generous, 
thoughtful
of others, dignified, God-fearing, serene—a tremendous credit to her 
husband. She arose while it was still dark to feed her family. She looked at 
a field,
considered its merits, and purchased it. She wove cloth and made linen 
garments, which she then sold. "Her children arise and call her blessed; her 
husband
also, and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them 
all' " (
verses 28-29).

The description of the woman in
Proverbs 31
offers a refreshing contrast to other ancient depictions of women, which 
tend to portray them in more frivolous and decorative terms, emphasizing 
only
their charm or beauty. Still, the perfect woman of
Proverbs 31
hasn't always been a friend to ordinary women. In fact, she has sometimes 
been rubbed into the faces of lesser women by critical husbands and 
preachers
unable to resist the temptation. What woman could ever measure up to her? 
And is a woman's worth to be measured only by what she can accomplish in the
domestic sphere? Or is the woman in
Proverbs 31
a symbol of all the contributions a woman could make within the culture of 
her day? Regardless of how you answer these questions, there is more to her
story than simply being the ideal wife and mother.

Before we can discover more about her true identity, it is worth posing a 
broader question: Are there really all that many women running around in the
pages of Proverbs? Perhaps, in fact, there are only two main women in 
Proverbs: the wise woman and the woman of folly (as some have called her). 
The latter
encompasses the adulteress and her many wicked counterparts; the former 
encompasses wisdom in the abstract and wisdom made concrete in the woman of
Proverbs 31.

In
Proverbs 3:13-16
a young man is instructed: "Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who 
gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields 
better
returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can 
compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are 
riches
and honor." Here is wisdom in the abstract, personified as a woman.

Proverbs 31
echoes this praise: "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth 
far more than rubies…. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her 
life.
She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the 
merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still 
dark;
she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She 
considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard" (
verses 10,
12-16).
Here is a concrete example of what wisdom looks like in a person's life.

By contrast, the man who welcomes the brazen-faced woman, the prostitute, 
the adulteress is nothing but a fool. He has fallen prey to the woman of 
folly,
who offers deceitful pleasures that will lead to his death.

From beginning to end, Proverbs is a practical handbook for leading a life 
based on wisdom. In the end, there are only two choices for both men and 
women:
to embrace wisdom or to love folly. The woman of
Proverbs 31
may well be meant to inspire both men and women with a picture of what a 
virtuous life, male or female, is capable of producing: shelter for others, 
serenity,
honor, prosperity, generosity, confidence about the future—true blessedness. 
Who wouldn't want to be like such a woman? Who wouldn't sing her praises?

Her Promise

Many women find
Proverbs 31
discouraging. Don't let that happen to you. Remember, this very capable 
woman is ultimately praised not so much for all she accomplishes as for one 
thing:
She fears the Lord. The woman who is worthy of praise is not necessarily the 
one who does all her own sewing or is a great cook or is a natural 
beauty—the
woman who gets the praise is the woman who fears the Lord. That's the target 
to aim for. Not outward beauty. Not a perfectly decorated home. Not even 
more
intellectual knowledge or business acumen. Instead, aim for a bold, 
all-consuming love for God. Then you too will be worthy of praise.

Today's devotional is drawn from
Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture
by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Visit
AnnSpangler.com

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You

A Word With You
Daily Devotional
Undeniable Evidence - #7196

Nancy got off to a really fast start spiritually. Well, in a way she did, 
because it took about two years of her coming to my Campus Life Club before 
she
finally chose Christ as her Savior. But after that she really took off. In 
fact, she came over to my house not long after she made her commitment and 
said,
"Ron, could you give me an argument to convince my big sister, Linda, that 
this is real?" What had happened was that Nancy came home talking about 
Jesus,
and Linda said, "Oh, right, Nancy! Last week it was a drug, next week it 
will be a boyfriend. This week it's Jesus. You'll get over it."

Nancy needed to know how to convince her. She needed an argument. I said, 
"Well, maybe I could. But I'd rather you'd do this, Nancy. Ask yourself this
question, 'What change could I ask Jesus to make in me that my big sister, 
Linda, would have to notice?'" She said, "I've got it!"

Two weeks later she came back. I said, "Well, how did it go with the Lord 
and with Linda?" She said, "Oh great! I gave God the chair." Right! "I gave 
God
the chair?" She said, "See, we've got this big, red overstuffed chair in our 
living room. It's right by the picture window and right in front of the TV
set. And Linda and I always start by arguing over this chair...like who's 
going to get it. So I just said, 'Lord, help me to be unselfish about this 
chair.'"

Wouldn't you know it began to get Linda's attention. She said, "Nancy, 
what's happened to you?" Two years later these girls are like; takes them 
two years.
Linda came to me. She said, "Ron, Nancy and I just wanted you to know I've 
just given my life to Christ." I said, "Oh that's awesome!" She said, "Yeah,
but we've got a question. Now, who gets the chair?" That is a true story.

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

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 5:15. "People do 
not light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand
and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light 
shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father
in heaven." Notice here it doesn't say they will hear your good beliefs and 
praise your Father in heaven. They will see your good deeds.

Now, here's 1 Peter 2:12. It's sort of a companion verse. "Live such good 
lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may 
see
your good deeds and then glorify God on the day He visits us." These people 
who start out criticizing you end up praising your God. Why? It's not 
beliefs.
It's not meetings that interest people in your Jesus. It's your changed 
life. It's the difference He makes.

Maybe you need to ask yourself in light of the lost people in your world, 
"What change could I ask Jesus to make in me that they would have to 
notice?"
If you're concerned for a parent who doesn't know the Lord, why don't you 
ask yourself, "How could I give them a better son? How could I give them a 
better
daughter?" That's what they ought to get out of me being a Christian is a 
better son or daughter, more time with them, more help around the house, 
more
respect. See, that's a change a parent would notice.

Maybe you're a parent and you've got a son or daughter who doesn't know the 
Lord. Ask yourself, "What change could I have Jesus make in me as a mom or
dad that my son or daughter would sure notice?" Who could be against 
something that gives them a better parent or a better child? Maybe you're an 
employee
and you want to reach your employer. "Lord, how could I change? Make me more 
reliable, more on time, more conscientious; whatever they would notice; a
better friend, a better neighbor. In other words, be different in the way 
that would matter most to the lost person you want to take to heaven with 
you.

For Nancy it was the chair in the living room. Listen! Give the people 
around you a new and improved model of you, made possible daily by a Savior 
named
Jesus. But be new in their language. It will win you the right to introduce 
them to the One who's changed you. See, they can't see Jesus, but they're 
looking
at you. So, show them in living color that life-changing difference-making 
power of Jesus Christ, a change that matters to them. Now that's undeniable
evidence.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA

Complicated Choices

As James held the map, his father pointed at the line that ran through 
Glacier National Park in Montana. “We’re right here—near Triple Divide 
Peak,” his
father said. They’d stopped to get their bearings while backpacking along 
the Continental Divide Trail. Looking up, his father indicated a rugged 
mountain
ahead of them. “There it is. An interesting place!”

James gazed at the mountain. “Why is it so interesting?” he asked as they 
resumed their hike.

“It’s the spot where two divides meet,” his father said. “We’re on the Great 
Divide. That runs north and south across the continent, through this 
mountain.
The Northern Divide starts at this mountain and runs east. These divides 
determine which way rainwater flows. Water that falls on the summit of 
Triple
Divide Peak can go in three directions. It can go west to the Pacific Ocean, 
north to the Arctic Ocean, or east to the Atlantic Ocean.”

Making choices can be hard. Especially when you have many options! How will 
you know which way to go? If you listen carefully, God will tell you. His 
Spirit
will whisper to yours. The Holy Spirit can speak to you directly, or through 
a Bible passage you read, or through a godly person you turn to for advice.

Bible Verse: Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will 
hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” –
Isaiah 30:21

Words to Treasure: [God] will be our guide even to the end. –
Psalm 48:14

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

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Welcome to the Nugget
August 14, 2014

Caught in the Rain
By Answers2Prayer

"My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my 
salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from 
violence. I
call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my 
enemies." (2 Samuel 22:3-4)

The rains were torrential as I drove the thirty miles to home from my work 
place. At times I could barely see the road as sheets of rain blew across my
car. Several drivers had pulled to the shoulder to wait it out but my 
father's words rang in my ears, "Don't stop, keep going slow and steady. If 
you pull
over you are a hazard to the other motorists." So, I crawled down Highway 71 
to my home in Huntington.

Huntington is on a bluff and the highway makes a good turn on this two lane 
road that makes visibility difficult on a good day. I heard my father's 
voice
again, "Drive safely and make good decisions." I turned across traffic early 
to pull onto a street that was two blocks down from the bluff drive that 
took
me home. Thankfully, the rain eased and visibility had improved greatly.

The ditches were full of rain to overflowing into the streets making the 
pavement look like small streams as it rushed down the roads. I found myself 
tired
with eyes that were strained from the journey that took more than double the 
normal time to make. Murmuring about how the clean-up would take several 
days,
I turned on a street that had the Huntington Baptist Church on the corner. 
Looking at the water running down the ditches, my tired eyes saw something 
white
on the top step of the church. As I drove slowly and closer, I saw that it 
was a white kitten who had taken refuge from the rains in the only place it
could find: under the small awning and huddled up to the entrance of the 
church.

Suddenly, the first verse of Psalms 46 came to my mind: "God is our refuge 
and strength, a very present help in trouble." Even the little animals 
sought
refuge in a time of trouble on the steps of that old wooden church. And like 
that terrified and water soaked kitten, the very hand of God had guided me
and protected me as I drove home. In my time of trouble, our Father 
protected me just as He as protected my new damp furry friend.

When we let God in our lives and work for His glory, He will meet your every 
need! Truly the passage is true He is: "worthy of all praise and I am saved
from my enemies." (2 Sam 22:4)

Jack James

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



August 12, 2014

Sleeping in Church
by Charles R. Swindoll

Acts 20:6-12

I really feel sorry for Eutychus. It was bad enough for the fella to fall 
asleep in church while Paul was preaching . . . he even fell out the window 
to
his death three stories below! But then, of all things, Dr. Luke included 
the incident for all the world to read down through the centuries. Think of 
that!
The only time Eutychus got his name in Scripture was when he died while 
sleeping in church. Makes you glad the Bible is complete, doesn't it?

Listen to the story:

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, 
Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he 
prolonged
his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we 
were gathered together. And there was a young man named Eutychus sitting on
the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept on talking, he 
was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor and was picked up
dead. (Acts 20:7-9)

If the same thing happened to sleepers today, every church would have to 
build a morgue in the basement. There isn't an experienced preacher who 
hasn't
faced the most incredible (sometimes hilarious) slumbering saints in the 
pew. I've seen them bump their heads on the back of the pew in front of them 
.
. . snore out loud . . . stay seated when everyone else stood up . . . drool 
on their Bible . . . and even drop their hymnbook, then jump when it hit the
floor.

I've watched couples nod in magnificent rhythm, perfect timing. One student 
used to come to a church I formerly pastored and sit right down front . . .
and be sound asleep in a matter of seconds. He was there every Sunday, 
resting his eyes. I honestly used to wonder why he bothered to get dressed 
and come
to church in the first place. And then there was the lady who had the 
strangest wheeze and smile when she exhaled while snoring---a shrill, 
stutter-like
sound that reminded you of a chattering chimpanzee. She kinda looked like 
one when she slept, come to think of it.

Why? Now there's the question worth answering. Why do people sleep in 
church? Let me suggest several reasons.

Tradition. That's right. We are often trained to do it. As children we 
stretched out on the pew beside our parents and were encouraged to sleep 
rather
than make a disturbance. Habits are hard to break.

Physical factors. Occasionally a church is not well ventilated or gets too 
warm and stuffy, almost "cozy." This was part of the problem Eutychus had. 
The
flickering lamps brought warmth up where he was sitting plus a hypnotizing 
"spell" in the room. Poor lighting and obstructions of vision are additional
causes.

Personal factors. Lack of sufficient sleep during the week---or especially 
Saturday night---creates drowsiness on Sunday. Some medication makes us 
sleepy
. . . as well as low-thyroid problems or low blood sugar. Concentration is 
broken and soon our minds start to drift and doze.

Indifference. Although it would be pleasant to ignore this, it is 
nevertheless another real reason. People are sometimes turned off 
spiritually. Sleep
allows them to tune out the input. Carnality---or lack of salvation 
entirely---creates an indifferent attitude.

Dull, boring messenger. We preachers can be guilty of not organizing our 
material clearly and concisely. This leads to rambling and mumbling . . . 
unnecessary
details not essential to the message. A failure to present the Word of God 
with genuine enthusiasm accompanied by fresh, specific illustrations and set
forth in an unpredictable yet appropriate manner can cause boredom. A 
monotonous voice only adds another dose of Sominex to those fighting the 
battle of
the eyelids. In all honesty, the messenger can be as guilty as the hearer, 
sometimes more.

So much for diagnosis . . . what about a prescription to overcome "the 
slumbers"?

It must be a team effort. Three parts must work together. The building must 
be comfortable and conducive to worship . . . yet altogether unlike a 
funeral
parlor. That's so important. Then the listener must be 
prepared---physically, spiritually, emotionally---for worship. It takes good 
habits of health to
cultivate a spiritual appetite. Last, the speaker must be alert and 
sensitive. Not a clown or a candidate for head cheerleader---but ever aware 
of the
most effective ways to combat plainness, sameness, and tameness.

Think it over. See you Sunday. If you sit in the balcony and get sleepy, 
watch out! Eutychus, "being dead, yet speaketh."

Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1988, 
1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by 
permission.

Abraham: One Nomad's Amazing Journey of Faith
In the Bleachers

© 2014 Insight for Living. All rights reserved worldwide.
Dean Masters owner of the Masters list
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HOW THE DOWN CAN GET OUT

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks 
to Him; bless His name. For the LORD is good; His loving kindness is 
everlasting,
and His faithfulness
to all generations."
Psalm 100:4-5

Down and out. Feeling the blues. Lonely. Depressed. Discouraged. 
Disillusioned. A case of the blahs.

What do you do if these words seem to characterize your life right now? How 
can you get out of the dark pit you are in when you feel down and defeated?

God has the answer in His word, and it is a sure fire way to change your 
outlook on life. What is this silver bullet of an answer? Well, it is very 
simple,
but very profound. The answer is ... thanksgiving and praise. There is 
great power in a thankful, praising heart.

DISCOURAGED PEOPLE

I have found that when people get down and discouraged, thanksgiving and 
praise tend to be the last things on their list. To the natural mind, it 
seems
ludicrous to thank and praise God when everything is going wrong. But the 
truth is, God inhabits the praises of His people (Ps. 22:3), and the giving
of thanks, regardless of the adverse circumstances, is a great declaration 
of faith. And faith pleases God!

You see, thanksgiving and praise say to God, "Father, I know You are the 
King and in complete control of all things. I know You are good and 
merciful.
I know that You love me. So as an act of faith, I thank You and praise You, 
even in this great trial that I am experiencing, for I believe You are 
going
to work all of this together for my good, just like You promised."

TRY IT AND SEE

I encourage you to take the challenge and put God's Word into practice in 
your life. Every morning,noon, and night, "enter His gates with 
thanksgiving
and His courts with praise." As you do, you will experience a change 
within, a significant attitude adjustment regarding your circumstances. For 
God
will help you get your eyes off your pitiful situation and onto your 
powerful Savior who can move mountains and part seas. There is nothing too 
difficult
for Him. So praise Him, thank Him, and bless His name. You'll be so glad 
that you did!

Love,
Pastor Jeff Schreve
From His Heart Ministries
www.fromhisheart.org

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com

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

A Norvell Note

Vol. 17 No. 32 August 11, 2014
Another Thought On Being An Encourager: We Need You!
Encouragement is the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope; 
to persuade someone to do or to continue something; the act of trying to 
stimulate
the development of an activity, state, or belief. We need more encouragers.
You are and encourager when you, as parents, coaches, friends, and fans, 
surround your little league team before they go on the field and as they 
come
off the field (win or lose) and shower them with high fives, pats on the 
back, fist pumps, and affirmations that say, “You played a great game!” “You 
did
a great job!” “You can do it!” “We believe in you!” “We are proud of you!”
You are and encourager when as a teenager you take the time to sit down with 
an older friend, ask for advice, listen to the advice when it is given, and
express appreciation for the influence the person is having on your life.
You are and encourager when your favorite golfer leaves a green, whether it 
was played well or not, and they hear your cheers of: “Keep it going!” “Keep
your head up!” “You’re the man!”
You are and encourager when you move close to a young woman, put your arms 
around her, and hold her while she cries.
You are and encourager when you call a friend you have not heard from in a 
while and say, “I’ve missed you.”
You are and encourager when you stop the work you are doing to help a 
co-worker understand their job and talk with them about how they can do it 
better.
You are and encourager when you notice the little things that are done 
around the church that almost nobody notices and you find that person and 
say, “Thank
you.”
You are and encourager when you take the time to write a hand written note 
to the man who has not been in church for a while and say, “I want you to 
know
that I miss you.”
You are and encourager when you text your best friend and say, “Thanks for 
being my best friend.”
You are and encourager when walk along side the little old lady in the 
grocery story and ask her if you can help her get her groceries to her car.
You are and encourager when go to your teacher and say, “Thank you. I’ve 
learned so much from you.”
You are and encourager when you promise to pray for someone, then you send 
them a note to let them that you have just prayed for them.
You are and encourager when thank the server who hands you your coffee and 
leave them an appropriate tip.
You are and encourager when see someone do a kind deed and you make a point 
to tell them, “I saw what you did. Thank you.”
You are and encourager when you sense that someone is having a tough day and 
you ask them, “Are you okay?” And you wait for the answer.
You are and encourager when you look your son or your daughter in the eyes 
and say, “I’m proud of you.”
You are and encourager when everyone in the room has lost hope and you 
remind them that with God all things are possible.
You are and encourager when you come across a passage of Scripture that 
reminds you of someone you recently had a conversation with, and you send 
them
a email including the Scripture and say, “This verse reminded me of you.”
You are and encourager when you are listening to someone you love as he 
shares his greatest fear and deepest regrets, and before you offer advice 
you say,
“We should pray,” and you pray.
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that 
none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13, NIV)
Tom
A Norvell Note © Copyright 2014. Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.

Subtle and Crafty
Monday, August 11, 2014
“The serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God 
had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, “You shall not 
eat
from any tree of the garden”?’”
– Genesis 3:1 NASB
In C.S. Lewis’ classic book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, one of 
the boys, Edmund, entered the kingdom of Narnia alone and encountered the 
White
Witch. She used her magic to produce a wonderful-tasting drink. Edmund was 
impressed. When she asked what food he’d like, he requested Turkish Delight.
She produced a fancy box with the very best he’d ever had.
As Edmund gorged himself, the witch pumped him for information about his 
brother and sisters. When he wanted more Turkish Delight, she promised to 
give
him all he wanted…if he brought his siblings to her. Only later did he 
realize he had betrayed his brother and sisters because of manipulation and 
deception.
Lewis used this story to help us see how subtly Satan can deceive us. We see 
this when the serpent twisted God’s words and enticed Eve to eat the fruit
from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Like Edmund looking at 
Turkish Delight, she saw only a tree that “was desirable to make one wise.” 
Satan
promised only good things, and Eve believed his lies.
Every day, we see displays of Satan’s subtle deception all around us. As 
Paul said, “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 
11:14).
His ideas can seem so appealing! But the damage can be huge. This is why we 
must know our enemy!
Today, be on guard against the subtle deception of your enemy. He’s working 
day and night, looking for ways to deceive you! But God has given you what
you need to resist him, to escape (1 Corinthians 10:13), and to be 
victorious. Be ready. Fight back!
Today's Inspiration Prayer

Today's Inspiration Prayer

Father, give me discernment. Thank You for being with me and giving me the 
power to resist temptation. Help me to be alert to the enemy’s schemes. In 
Jesus’
name. Amen.

Further Reading: Genesis 3
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Geese and Crabapples

"Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of 
others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own 
interests, but take an interest in others, too." (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

Across from our house is a park that has a couple of ponds in it. When they 
built the park they brought some ducks and geese to make their home around 
the ponds. Now there are not many ducks but a lot of geese. They love to 
come into our yard to have lunch or supper. They like to eat our grass. They 
also love to eat the berries that fall off the dogwood trees and also love 
the crabapples.

The geese will sit in a circle around the crabapple tree. Then one of them 
will get up, stretch his long neck, grab a limb and shake it so that more 
crabapples fall to the ground. Then all get up and start eating. When all 
are eaten they will go back to the circle and wait for another goose to get 
up and grab another limb. The goose that shakes the limb won't get much to 
eat but they do take their turns so that all can eat.

Paul wrote in the Scripture above to the Philippians that this is what we 
need to do as Christians. We should not forget about ourselves but do more 
for others. This goes further than what Jesus taught when He said to do to 
others as you would have them do to you. Paul is saying do more for others 
than you would have them do for you.

Prayer: Our Provider, we praise you. We thank you for all your many 
blessings. Please forgive us when we get selfish and don't think of others. 
Help us to follow the teachings of your son Jesus Christ to do to others as 
we would have them do to us. In your holy name we pray, Amen

Thought for the day: Let us stretch our necks out to help others in our day 
to day living.

By Dean W. Masters

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Finding His Power in the Midst of Our Storms
LIZ CURTIS HIGGS

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power."
Ephesians 6:10
(NIV)

It was a dark and stormy night. Alone in my writing study, I pounded away on 
my laptop computer, while the air conditioner hummed in the background, 
holding
the summer heat at bay.

A glance at the clock confirmed the late hour, with many pages yet to be 
written. After several extensions on my book deadline, the pressure was 
intense.
Like having five college term papers due the same day.

On my calendar I'd circled July 22, the day my family and I would head to 
Pennsylvania for a reunion my sister had planned for two years. If it meant 
writing
around the clock, I had to finish my manuscript before we left town.

All at once a deafening crack of thunder sounded overhead, and the lights 
blinked out. After saving my work on the laptop's hard drive, I located a 
candle
and made the most of my waning battery.

Our power returned the next afternoon, but not for long. A second storm left 
our old farmhouse in the dark — this time for two days. My editor called to
check on my progress. "Not good," I confessed. "We've lost power. Again."

Although my laptop was portable, my many bookshelves full of resources were 
not, which ruled out moving to a hotel room or a friend's kitchen table. 
When
the electricity finally returned, I brushed away tears of relief and fired 
up my computer.

One week later, a third storm struck.

The blackout was so massive our city made the national news. Five powerless 
days dragged by. Meals were fast food, showers were cold, and tempers were
short. After my husband tracked down an overpriced generator, I had 
electricity flowing into my laptop. What wasn't flowing were words or ideas, 
as my
stress mounted.

When July 22 dawned, I still had two dozen chapters to go. Genuine panic set 
in. My siblings and I hadn't gathered in one place for nearly a decade. How
could I miss my own family reunion? Yet how could I go, when my publishing 
contract required a completed manuscript — right away, if not sooner?

I didn't dare phone my editor and ask for more time. Heartsick, I called my 
sister instead and begged for mercy.

Guilt washed over me as I helped my family pack. My husband promised he 
would hug all my relatives, especially my understanding sister. But I still 
felt
awful.

With a heavy heart I watched our car disappear down the driveway, then 
returned to my desk, determined to write nonstop. I'd paid a terrible price 
for
this time, and I wasn't about to waste it.

My fingers flew over the keys. By nightfall, I'd almost completed another 
chapter. Then the unthinkable happened: the lights blinked out again.

"Nooo!" I shrieked, fumbling for my cell phone. With trembling hands I 
called the utility company, only to hear, "Could be an hour, ma'am. Could be 
tomorrow.
Sorry."

I sank across my desk, tears flowing in earnest. Sorry? I was the sorry one. 
Sorry I hadn't started sooner and worked harder. Sorry I'd sent my family
off without me. Sorry I'd once again put my work first.

I closed my eyes, afraid of the truth. Are You punishing me, Lord? I didn't 
really think He was; blackouts from summer thunderstorms are business as 
usual
in Kentucky. But I still felt the weight of regret. Lord, can You help me? 
Please?

In the silence of my study, I was unprepared for the sudden whir of the air 
conditioner and the lights blinking back on.

Oh, Father. Thank You.

I could credit Louisville Gas & Electric for prompt service. But the truth 
is, the Lord alone fully restored my trust in His mighty power. Not only to
meet my immediate need, but also to provide the forgiveness I needed even 
more.

Ten summers have come and gone since that night in my study, and another 
family reunion is around the corner. Am I facing another book deadline? I 
am.
Will I miss that reunion? Not for one minute.

I have a long way to go, but this I know: we can depend on God's strength, 
instead of our own, and show His love best by putting others first.

Lord, You know I'm a slow learner. Thank You for Your patience, Your 
persistence and Your grace. Thank You for allowing me to learn things the 
hard way,
so I'm more likely to remember them. And thank You for choosing provision 
over punishment. How You do love us, Lord! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 147:5,
"Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit." 
(NIV)

1 Peter 5:10,
"And 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." (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Liz Curtis Higgs writes about a gal in Scripture who knew how to stand firm 
in a storm. Read
The Girl's Still Got It
for the story of Ruth.

Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace in Your Chaotic World
by Tracie Miles

Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions
by Lysa TerKeurst

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Have you ever forgotten to call upon God's strength when yours was depleted? 
What were the results?

Consider posting a reminder, a Scripture verse or a simple drawing of a 
power cord where you'll see it daily, prompting you to call on God first 
when the
next storm blows in.

© 2014 by Liz Curtis Higgs. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries






3600 cdd Far Above any Ruler or Authority
Friday August 8, 2014
Volume 15 Number 164

Today's Author: Pastor Bill

Scripture: John 14:6a
Jesus answered, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" NCV

When lost -- Jesus leads me
When hurt -- Jesus heals me
When I fail -- Jesus forgives

When weak --- Jesus is strong
When I fall --- Jesus lifts me up
When adrift --- Jesus is the way

When hungry --- Jesus feeds me
When broken --- Jesus mends me
When afraid --- Jesus is my courage

When I stumble --- Jesus picks me up
When persecuted --- Jesus protects me
When I face loss -- Jesus provides for me

When I face trials --- Jesus encourages me
When I face problems --- Jesus comforts me
When I face Death --- Jesus ushers me Home

Ephesians 1:21
Now He (Jesus) is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or 
anything else-not only in this world but also in the world to come" NLT 
(Emphasis
Added)

Prayer: Father, I testify to all these things --- even so, come, Lord Jesus. 
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

Cyber Daily Devotion fund raising details
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Pastor Bill Team Prayer:

Father please bring 1............. 2............. 3.............. into your 
kingdom.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

Copyright (c) 2014
Pastor Bill Christian Cyber Ministries

Transformed by Grace

Mark 16:9

Mary of Magdala was the victim of a fearful evil. She was possessed not just 
by one demon, but by seven. These dreadful inmates caused much pain and 
pollution
to the poor frame in which they had found a lodging. Hers was a hopeless, 
horrible case. She could not help herself, and no human power could set her 
free.
But Jesus passed that way, and without being asked and probably while being 
resisted by the poor demoniac, He uttered the word of power, and Mary of 
Magdala
became a trophy of the healing power of Jesus. All seven demons left her, 
left her never to return, forcibly ejected by the Lord of all.

What a blessed deliverance! What a happy change! From delirium to delight, 
from despair to peace, from hell to heaven! Immediately she became a 
constant
follower of Jesus, listening to His every word, following His winding steps, 
sharing His busy life; and in all this she became His generous helper, first
among that band of healed and grateful women who ministered to Him out of 
their means. When Jesus was lifted up in crucifixion, Mary remained the 
sharer
of His shame: We find her first watching from a distance and then drawing 
near to the foot of the cross. She could not die on the cross with Jesus, 
but
she stood as near to it as she could, and when His blessed body was taken 
down, she watched to see how and where it was laid.

She was the faithful and watchful believer, last at the sepulcher where 
Jesus slept, first at the grave where He arose. Her loyalty and love made 
her a
favored beholder of her beloved Master, who deigned to call her by her name 
and to make her His messenger of good news to the trembling disciples and 
Peter.
Grace found her useless and made her useful, cast out her demons and gave 
her to behold angels, delivered her from Satan and united her forever to the
Lord Jesus. May we also be such miracles of grace!

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Jeremiah 37

verse 2 Psalms 10
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. 
Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News
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Post  Admin on Sat 27 Sep 2014, 10:49 pm

Welcome to the Nugget
September 23, 2014

Dancing in the Leaves
By Answers2Prayer

"in everything give thanks. For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 
(1Thess 5:18, NET)

I was taking a walk in the woods on a late August evening. Suddenly, a cool 
breeze started to blow and a single red maple leaf broke off of its tree and
circled down and around until it landed peacefully upon the top of my head. 
I took the leaf in my hand, looked at it with a smile, and dropped it gently
to the ground. "It has started already," I thought to myself. "How early in 
the year it begins to be late."

I knew that soon the green mountains of my home would be painted by God's 
own hand. Soon every leaf on every tree would become a masterpiece. Bright, 
beautiful
reds would come first, followed by sunny yellows and glorious golds. 
Brilliant burgundies, outrageous oranges, and earthy browns would finally 
complete
this colorful canvas.

As I walked on my mind was filled with memories of Autumns past. I 
remembered the crisp crunch as I walked on the freshly fallen leaves. I 
remembered the
delightful dry leaf smell that filled the air. I remembered raking huge 
piles of leaves in the park for my children to hide in, jump on, and run 
through.
I even remembered dancing on that colorful carpet while it crackled 
underneath my feet.

I also thought of how Autumn is the most bittersweet of seasons. It is so 
beautiful and yet so brief. It is so joyous and yet also a sign of the 
Winter
to come. It is the ultimate reminder that our time on Earth is short and 
that we need to live now before it is gone. That is why I plan to thank God 
for
everyday of this beautiful season. That is why I plan to take more walks in 
the woods while the colors last. That is why I plan to love more, laugh 
more,
give more, share more, and smile more in the days I have left here. That is 
why I plan to dance in the leaves again this Fall and in Heaven when the 
time
comes. May you do the same.

By: Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

Questions about parenting? Wondering whether you've made the right decision 
with your kids? Thinking about discipline? Why not check out "
Bringing up Kids God's Way"!

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

September 2014
Desperate for Jihad
Rev. Daniel McNerney

If we don't fill our own lives with purpose and meaning, someone else will 
come along and do it for us. At the core of our being is an essential need 
to
experience an exciting mission in our lives. All of us want to lead a life 
with clarity and joyful abandon. Living life in neutral, or even first or 
second
gear, is a drag. We all want to make that shift into a higher gear, but only 
if we know where we are going! Jesus said, "Come follow me." He assured his
followers that the greatest abundance or purpose in life can be found in 
doing the Father's will. God has a particular assignment or mission for each 
one
of us to do battle against the forces of evil in this world. But if we say 
no to that invitation, we leave ourselves wide open to saying yes to 
something
else that is often harmful and destructive to our souls.

The great American 19th century writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, 
was spot on when he wrote; "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation
and go to the grave with that song still in them. What is called resignation 
is confirmed desperation." Quiet desperation is not a good thing. It can 
easily
lead to fear and anxiety, anger or depression. Too often we become 
incredibly angry with ourselves because we have not found what we are 
looking for, or
discovered what we are supposed to do with our lives. And, nine times out of 
ten, we attack others and blame them for our own quiet desperation. That is
one of the reasons so many people are dying these days on the streets of 
American cities, victims of gang warfare. Gangs have become very good at 
recruiting
people who are living lives of quiet desperation, filled with unmet needs.

Tragically in recent years, gang behavior has gone international. On 
everyone's minds and hearts these days is the Islamic State of Iraq and 
Syria, ISIS,
also called ISIL. They have taken gang organizational management and 
recruitment techniques to new heights. The leaders of ISIS are Internet 
savvy, YouTube
friendly, and cunning in their promotional materials. Hundreds of British 
and American youth, not to mention thousands of Arab youth, have recently 
deserted
their home countries and joined forces with ISIS. These young men believe 
the recruiting messages our intelligence officials say ISIS uses: "Jihad 
will
give you meaning and purpose in life. It will drive away your depression." 
ISIS has recognized and is exploiting the core of the human experience, just
as Thoreau had identified and predicted. ISIS knows, too, that the human 
soul is desperate for meaning and purpose in life. If that need for meaning 
is
not filled with the grace and the love of our Lord, the risks are great that 
that unmet need will be filled with something else, often extremely violent,
dangerous and lethal.

This summer, I met with wonderful, grace-filled Christian workers from 
churches in Minneapolis. They had asked that I advise them on how to 
approach Muslims
in their community. They wanted to learn the way of Jesus, the path of 
peace, so as to gain the trust of local mosques and local Muslim 
communities. Minneapolis
has a large number of Somali and Ethiopian immigrants, many of whom are 
being recruited daily by militant Muslim groups from abroad. They have 
discovered
it is not just African immigrants who have become the target of ISIS 
recruiting efforts; it is also disenfranchised young Americans from many 
different
backgrounds. For these and other reasons, my friends in Minneapolis are 
trying to build bridges of friendship with their Muslim neighbors as quickly 
as
they can to share the peaceful way of Jesus, before it is too late.

Can you imagine the level of desperation in one's soul if you found yourself 
becoming a suicide bomber in Pakistan, a killer of innocent children in an
elementary school in Connecticut, or a murderer that would behead children 
in Syria? What happens to someone if killing others is the only way to find
radical meaning and purpose in life? If we are not careful, if we do not 
take seriously the depravity of the human soul apart from our loving God, we 
will
find these bloody tragedies becoming everyday common occurrences in our 
modern world.

ISIS is not the only destructive recruiter in our world. Our American 
landscape is filled with other equally dangerous messages of promoting 
obsessions
of wealth, self-sufficiency and destructive chemicals that come in many 
different shapes and colors - all designed to be cheap substitutes for God's 
unique
calling in your life.

On the other hand, the Apostle Paul modeled for us what it looks like for a 
human being to be fully engaged in God's purposes and calling. When we turn
to God, if it is done with a sincere and seeking heart, and ask him what 
purpose he has for our lives, God will answer in a most loving and helpful 
manner.
Paul was filled with vitality, wisdom, grace and effectiveness in all his 
endeavors. Miracles sprang from him because of his utter devotion to God's 
calling
in his life. Almost single-handily, he laid the foundation of Christianity 
in what is now called the western world. Paul never wavered in his calling 
even
to the point of being unjustly put to death by the Roman Empire. Listen to 
what Paul wrote to his disciple Timothy just months before his death: "As 
for
me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my 
departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, 
I have
kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me a crown of 
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that 
day, and not
only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing." (2 Timothy 
4:6-8)

To be a follower of Jesus is to believe in his return. When Jesus ascended 
to heaven, he left us plenty of work to do before he comes back again. He 
told
us to go to the ends of the earth with his message of grace and love. He 
warned us that we would find many people living lives of quiet desperation, 
many
who might even want to harm us. But he also assured us that his kingdom of 
peace and grace would have the final word and victory. The only issue would
be our willingness to follow him, or not.

It is not too late if you believe a life that is fully alive and filled with 
purpose has eluded you. All of us flirt with quiet desperation. But none of
us need to say yes to desperation as a way of life. Military jihad or 
harmful aggression against innocent people is not the answer to our quiet 
desperation
or depression, as too many people are proclaiming today. Saying yes to a 
loving God, joining his army of love and grace, will give you more purpose 
and
clarity than your soul ever imagined. Follow Him, and He will lead you to a 
life of peace and fulfillment.


The Incomparable Gift of a Friend
By Skip Heitzig

Do you have friends? I know it sounds like a silly question, but it's an 
important one. God created us as social beings—we all need friends. When 
we're
alone, we don't grow much spiritually or emotionally. By ourselves, we're 
easy to get along with; it's when we get around other people that we start 
to
have trouble. But God gave us friends to reveal our flaws and help us smooth 
out the rough edges.

Sometimes it seems easier to be alone. There are people who say, "Why bother 
with friendships? If I let myself be vulnerable, I'll get burned. Isn't it
better to be alone and aloof?" Let me tell you, it may be easier, but it's 
not better. God's comment when He looked at man was, "It is not good that 
man
should be alone" (Gen. 2:18). God created relationships, beginning with 
marriage, to take care of the problem of isolation.

When you call people your friends, you give them quite a title. When someone 
calls you their friend, you receive quite an honor. It's a wonderful thing
to be called a friend, but it's not something to take lightly; friendship is 
a great responsibility. As
Christians,
we need friendship and fellowship to guard one another against temptation 
and to protect one another from compromise.

I've noticed that in relationships, people operate from one of two 
platforms: the platform of need or the platform of supply. When you operate 
from the
platform of need, you make demands on people. When you operate from the 
platform of supply, you serve the needs of others. A true friend builds on 
the
platform of supply, not need.

To help you become a better friend, I'd like to share six marks of a true 
friend:

1. A friend is friendly. While you can't necessarily choose to have a 
friend, you can choose to be one. Just as love begets love, friendliness 
begets friends.

2. A friend is faithful. In good times and bad, "A friend loves at all 
times" (Prov. 17:17).

3. A friend is frank. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses 
of an enemy are deceitful" (Prov. 27:6). Friends who are tactfully and 
lovingly
honest with you cause you to grow.

4. A friend is fortifying. "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the 
countenance of his friend" (Prov. 27:17).

5. A friend is forbearing. There is an ebb and flow to friendship—sometimes 
timing is everything. "He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising
early in the morning, it will be counted a curse to him" (Prov. 27:14). It's 
good to give encouragement and even reproof, but a true friend patiently 
waits
for the right time.

6. A friend is forgiving. One of the greatest things about friends is that 
they will confront you, yet give you latitude. When you mess up, true 
friends
won't make you feel that it's permanent—they help you clean up your mess.

Because friendship is so valuable, it's vulnerable. We often fail one 
another because we're imperfect and fragile. Friendships should be handled 
with care
and guarded vigilantly.

Do you have a good friend who you are having problems with? I encourage you 
to take the steps to resolve them today! Start by verbally telling your 
friend
how much you appreciate and value them. Most importantly, take time now to 
tell Jesus, the best friend you will ever have, that you love Him.

Copyright © 2014 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.
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Post  Admin on Fri 26 Sep 2014, 11:03 pm

Spiritual Fruit – Self-control

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, 
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and 
self-control. There is no law against these things!" (
Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

We have the complete fruit of the Spirit when we grow self-control by the 
power of the Holy Spirit. Self-control is physical and emotional mastery. 
One may be able to have some self-control just by sheer will power. Some may 
join an organization to help them not abuse alcohol or drugs, lose weight or 
stop gambling. But none of these can grow self-control except by the power 
of the Holy Spirit.

Here is what the Harper’s Bible Dictionary says about self-control:

self-control, the English translation of a Greek term common in the Greek, 
especially the later Stoic, philosophical tradition but seldom appearing in 
the Greek ot (lxx) or the nt, probably because biblical faith sees human 
beings not as autonomous but as responsible to and directed by the will of 
God. Felix was alarmed when Paul ‘argued about justice and self-control and 
future judgment’
(Acts 24:25). Paul knew that it was difficult for Corinthian Christians to 
exercise self-control in sexual matters (1 Cor. 7:9). He compared himself 
with an athlete who ‘exercises self-control in all things’ for the Gospel’s 
sake (1 Cor. 9:25). For Paul, self-control was not really a human 
achievement but was linked with love, joy, peace, etc., as ‘the fruit of the 
spirit’ (Gal. 5:22-23). 2 Pet. 1:6 links self-control with such 
characteristics as faith, knowledge, and steadfastness. Again, ‘God did not 
give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control’ 
(2 Tim. 1:7). A bishop must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard 
but ‘a lover of goodness, master of himself, upright, holy, and 
self-controlled’ (Titus 1:7-8).

So let us not try to grow our own fruit by man power but rely on the power 
of the Holy Spirit to grow all nine parts of the fruit in and through us.

by Dean W. Masters
Unedited redistribution approved 

The Joy Will Come
Christina Fox / August 4, 2014
The Joy Will Come

I received unexpected news recently. The kind of news that made my heart 
hurt and tears burn my eyes. I felt the pressure of its weight on my entire 
being.
David’s words in Psalm 6 mirrored the feelings in my heart, “I am weary with 
my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with
my weeping” (Psalm 6:6).

Have you ever turned to the Psalms in time of sorrow, fear, or uncertainty? 
Though penned in a different time and out of somewhat different experiences,
the words of the Psalms seem to give voice to our own emotions. As John 
Calvin said, the Psalms are an anatomy of all the parts of the soul.

Journey with the Psalmist

In particular, the psalms of lament echo our own struggles with loss and 
brokenness. But the truth is, these psalms go farther than just venting 
woes.
The psalmist follows a trajectory. He is on a journey, and it’s one we can 
follow as well.

The laments follow a three part structure. They begin with an expression of 
feelings. The psalmist comes before the Lord and pours out all his heavy and
burdensome emotions. He is honest with God, revealing the depths and degree 
of his pain. “I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have 
come
into deep waters, and a flood overflows me. I am weary with my crying; my 
throat is parched; my eyes fail while I wait for my God” (Psalm 69:2–3).

As the psalmist goes forward in his journey, he moves from expressing 
feelings to calling out for help. He knows that it is God alone who can 
rescue, redeem,
and restore him. He asks for what he needs, whether it be rescue, mercy, or 
justice. “Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing 
love”
(Psalm 6:4). “Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer 
me” (Psalm 27:7).

Stay the Course

Continuing on in his journey, the psalmist’s faith is strengthened as he 
remembers who God is, as he sees God's hand at work in his life, and as he 
reflects
on God’s past grace. The psalmist then comes to the end of his journey. He 
responds in an affirmation of trust in God. He offers a sacrifice of praise
and worship. “I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and offer a sacrifice of 
thanks for your help” (Psalm 56:12). “But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he 
has been good to me” (Psalm 13:5–6).

This three stage journey through the emotions is not something that happens 
overnight. The psalmist went through these steps over a course of time. But
he pushed through. He followed the path forward. He stayed in the battle.

Too often I have remained in the first step. I have voiced all the pain in 
my life to God and then stayed there. As though simply voicing my emotions 
was
the end of it all. But it’s not the end. Getting everything out there may 
bring temporary relief, but it’s not the final goal. We need to go forward, 
to
work through our emotions on the way to our ultimate destination: trust and 
worship.

Jesus Endured the Cross

This journey is made possible only through Jesus, the Man of Sorrows who was 
well acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). It was Jesus who paved the way for
us as he followed his own journey of lament. On that fateful night in the 
Garden of Gethsemane, he voiced his sorrow, “My soul is very sorrowful, even
to death” (Mark 13:34). He cried out to God for help saying, “Abba, Father, 
all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I 
will,
but what you will” (13:36).

Trusting in his Father’s will, the Book of Hebrews tells us that, “for the 
joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and
is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (12:2). Jesus claimed the 
psalmist’s lament as his own when he cried out at the cross, “My God, my 
God,
why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1).

Jesus personified the heart cries of his people at the cross. He became the 
fulfillment of all our laments. And he calls us to cast all our burdens on
him. Because of Jesus and the gospel we can come to the “throne of grace in 
confidence and find the help and grace in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
We can come to Jesus with all our emotions and cares and know that he hears 
us, that he cares for us, that he is at work in us.

Push Through

That’s what we do when we follow the structure of the laments. We cast our 
burdens on our Savior. We cry out for his help. He strengthens us through 
his
Spirit and word, refreshing us and renewing our faith in him. And then we 
respond in the glad affirmation of trust and worship. The sorrows of life 
try
to pull us away from him; but the journey of the laments draws us toward 
him.

Perhaps you’ve received unexpected news of your own. Maybe you are in a 
place of sorrow, fear, or uncertainty. If you can relate to the cries of the 
psalmist,
journey through your own lament. Follow the three part structure. Push 
forward into the dark night of your emotions, knowing that the light of the 
Son
will rise in you. For “weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with 
the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

Caring for the Anxious Pastor-in-Waiting
Dave Harvey / August 3, 2014
Caring for the Anxious Pastor-in-Waiting

“What do I do while I wait?” It’s a question I’ve heard dozens of times.

Trained men, ready to rumble for the gospel, can sometimes find they lack 
immediate opportunity to fulfill their ministry dream. It feels to them like
the big game has started, and they’ve been benched by God, even as a parade 
of friends, classmates, and seemingly less gifted players sprint on to the
field.

They want to be happy for others, but deep down they feel frustrated and 
confused. Would a better grade in Systematic Theology have made me an 
earlier
pick in God’s ministry draft? Insight and patience are rarely companions 
when a disappointed shepherd-to-be is riding the pine.

How can you help him?

Start by listening.

Really. It’s too easy to grab his frustration and hastily slap a Sovereignty 
sticker on it. God’s loving labor to make all things good is a truth best
served once people know we love and understand them (James 1:19).

Try to remember the last time you had an unrealized dream even though you 
thought it was ripe for picking. How did it feel? What were you tempted to 
think
about God? A potential pastor stands vulnerable, and he needs to know he is 
not alone. If he feels like you can empathize with his trials, he will open
his heart to your truth.

Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” When it seems 
that the dream of ministry is being deferred, the heart is vulnerable. If 
you’re
going to serve him effectively, you need to listen before you start 
dispensing advice.

Tell him he’s not on the bench.

God has no bench. The bench is a feeling, not a reality. God puts all 
believers in the game every day. He’s just not in the position he wanted. 
For now.
But real ministry doesn’t start with a title, a salary, or a blog. Real 
ministry begins the moment a man is born again. This is why it says in 
Ephesians
2:10, “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which 
God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

A man enters ministry not when he is ordained, but when he is converted. 
Fixing his identity there could be the beginning of a long and fruitful 
ministry
— through the many roles he may fill.

Tell him waiting means training.

I was heartsick. Sitting in my security vehicle, I realized another 
anniversary had just passed in my vaunted role as a security guard. My dream 
to preach
seemed as achievable as navigating a spaceship to Mars or discovering the 
cure for talk-radio. Yet in a little over a year from that very moment, 
through
a series of providential events, I moved to the Philadelphia area and landed 
in a ministry role. From the view behind the wheel of my security vehicle,
those years were wasted. But as I waded into the complexities of pastoral 
work, I consistently drew from lessons learned in my crime-curbing job.

To me, security work was a fast road to nowhere. For God, the waiting was 
all part of his preparation and a way to express his goodness (Lamentations 
3:25).
It happens often. It happened to Moses, Abraham, Joseph, David, and Paul. 
Tell him that.

As the years have passed, I’ve become convinced of something every anxious 
pastor-in-waiting must learn: When it comes to shaping men for ministry, God
knows what he’s doing. Trust him. It will be worth it.


God Works Wonders
Jonathan Parnell / August 3, 2014
God Works Wonders

We’ve all seen some kind of concert put on by kids. Either at church or 
school, most people have been to a children’s assembly of some sort. The 
kids,
the smaller the better, line up as the teacher directs them. They’ve been 
practicing for weeks, rehearsing their lines, singing their songs, and now 
the
big day is finally here. The costumes are on, the crowd is in their seats, 
and almost without fail, the kids break from the plan.

What do they do? They wave, of course.

You’ve seen it. The youngsters scan the crowd until they find their parents, 
and don’t stop waving until Mom and Dad say hi. They stick their hands up
high, motioning back and forth, Hey, it’s me! It’s me! Dad, it’s me! This 
isn’t choreographed. You won’t find it in the program. But nobody minds. In 
fact,
we can’t help but smile. It’s cute. We like it, as long as some parental 
figure is there to answer back.

Still Waving

But imagine for an instance that you’re at this concert and you begin to see 
this familiar scene unfold. It happens like usual, but this time there is
one kid who won’t stop waving. He’s found his dad, he’s waved and called and 
jumped up and down, but Dad doesn’t respond.

Imagine, if you will, that this keeps happening all throughout the concert, 
that the event is over and everyone leaves until only two people are left in
the auditorium. It’s just the kid on the stage and the dad in the seats. The 
kid keeps waving; the dad keeps still. This goes on for hours. Then the 
lights
go off. The floors have been swept, the trash cans emptied, the building is 
closed. But the kid is still there, now standing in the dark, waving without
weariness, calling out to the man sitting silent in the seats: Dad, it’s me! 
It’s me!

In the Silence

There’s nothing feel-good about that, though it’s not an uncommon 
experience, at least not how that kid must have felt, at least not for the 
psalmist in
Psalm 77.

This psalm of Asaph begins, “I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will 
hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is 
stretched
out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted” (Psalms 77:1–2).

He’s calling out and won’t stop. He’s stretching forth his hand in the dark, 
waving it back and forth. “The true rendering is,” according to
John Peter Lange,
“My hand was stretched forth in the night and was not still” — which is not 
so different from the kid at the concert. His arm is held up, his hand 
continues
motioning, but he’s getting no answer. Why is God just sitting there? Why 
isn’t he answering me back? These are the questions asked in such 
circumstances,
the questions that become brushfires across the dry terrain of our parched 
souls. They are the questions that eventually beget questions like,

Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion? (Psalm 77:7–9)

Where He Leads Us

In one sense, though we really feel them, these are silly questions. We 
might as well ask if God has stopped being God. Remember, after all, that 
steadfast
love is not merely what he does, but who he is. Grace is his essence. 
Compassion is his heart. His faithfulness doesn’t have a cap. His promises 
aren’t
limited by quotas (Exodus 34:5–7). To ask these things then, to wonder if 
God has ceased his love, is to worry that God has changed, that somehow he’s
not who he used to be. We actually go here sometimes. We think like this 
sometimes when we’re in the dark, waving our hands back and forth, wondering 
what’s
wrong with God.

We tend to think that the kid at the concert is so patient to keep waving, 
but in reality, it’s the dad who is so patient to keep letting him.

God doesn’t have to take you where he does. He doesn’t have to sit there and 
let you keep waving. He sees you. He hears you. He could say one word and
you’d know it. But he doesn’t, and it must be because there’s something 
glorious that happens in those moments of our waiting.

He leads us, perhaps by his circumstantial silence, to remember all the 
things he’s already said. That’s where the psalmist goes, and where he 
intends
to take us. Psalm 77:11–14:

I will remember the deeds of the Lᴏʀᴅ;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.

We know who he is. We know he doesn’t change. We can keep waving to God, as 
long as we keep remembering his deeds. We can recall his works, and know 
that
he knows. Dad, you know it’s me. I know you know it’s me. And I know you are 
the God who works wonders.

God Works Wonders

“Wonders.” This is an important word in the Old Testament. It hearkens back 
to God’s work in the exodus, when he, majestic in holiness, rescued his 
people
through glorious deeds and wonders (Exodus 15:11). It’s the work of God for 
the sake of his people that we’d never expect. It’s the kind you never 
forget,
the kind that changes things. And it’s what the psalmist needs to remember 
about God. He needs to remember that God is faithful to his promises, that 
he
will do everything he says he’ll do — even if it turns the world’s wisdom 
upside down. This is where he goes when he’s waving in the silence of the 
night,
and it’s where we can join him.

We also need to remember that God works wonders, and that there’s a cross to 
prove it. We can pray with the psalmist, meditating on God’s mighty deeds,
by focusing straight on the mightiest of them all.

God works wonders — in the deep, mysterious ways that nobody saw coming that 
Friday at Golgotha. The Messiah slain? The Son of God crucified? God works
wonders — in the confusion of Jesus’s disciples as they held his lifeless 
body, unbroken, buried in a borrowed grave, surrounded by darkness. God 
works
wonders — in the early Sunday morning when Mary found the tomb empty, when 
she ran to tell the disciples, when Thomas refused to believed, when Jesus 
showed
up to him eight days later and said, stretching out his arms, “Put your 
finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my 
side.
Do not disbelieve, but believe” (John 20:27).

Wave in the dark. Call out his name. And know that he hears, that he is 
there, that he is the God who works wonders — and he will answer in his 
perfect timing.


Will They Know Us By Our Love?
by Debbie Holloway, Crosswalk.com
Family
Editor

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for 
one another
" (John 13:35).

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and it 
not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not 
provoked,
does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in 
unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all 
things, hopes
all things, endures all things
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

These two passages are arguably the most famous Bible verses about love. 
Love is a concept promoted
by Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Muslims. It is a thing acknowledged by 
atheists and agnostics.
Something every man, woman, and child strives to obtain every day. Love is 
something we all know
about and all desire. But so often it seems to be the most difficult thing 
for us to practice.

As Christians, we have no excuse for not knowing what love is. 1st 
Corinthians chapter 13 tells us in no
uncertain terms. And Christ tells us in John 13 that the world will know 
that we belong to Jesus if we
practice this love. But how often do we truly think of those two scriptures 
as one command? How often
do we piece together the “how?” and the “what?” of love in our own lives?

The ramifications of doing so present a clearly defined, but difficult life. 
If we combine 1 st Corinthians 13
and John 13, what would our lives look like? How would people come to 
recognize Christians?

Well, they would know us by our patience. They would know that we are 
Christians by our
contentment, modesty, and humility. They would recognize us, for we would 
not be rude. We would
seek the best for others, be difficult to make angry, and refuse to keep 
count of how many times we've
been hurt. They would know us because evil makes us sad, and truth makes us 
happy. They would
know us because we protect the defenseless and we do not live in suspicion 
of others.

They would know us by our hope. They would know us by our perseverance.

That is what love looks like. Those should be the marks of Christ’s 
disciples.

Oftentimes when the world hears “Christian” – they do not think of this 
love. They think Patriotic. They
think of rules. They think of stingy, bad-tippers, who blindly vote 
Republican and will judge you if you
drink beer or use four-letter words. And that might not be fair. That might 
not be you. But it’s still your
responsibility to change what the world thinks of Christians. It’s still 
your responsibility to demonstrate
that radical love Paul described to the Corinthians.

Because then, one by one, people might start to know Jesus a little better. 
Because then, one by one, we
could really reach the world with this radical, biblical, Christ-like love.

Intersecting
Faith
and Life: Find one relationship or duty in your life that lacks love. And 
change it.

Further reading

1 John 1:5

No Exemptions

Psalms 72:19

This is a large petition. To intercede for a whole city needs a stretch of 
faith, and there are times when praying for one man is more than we can 
handle.
But how far-reaching was the psalmist's dying intercession! How 
comprehensive! How sublime! “May the whole earth be filled with his glory” 
Not a single
country is exempt even if it is crushed by the foot of superstition; this 
does not exclude a single nation however uncivilized. For the terrorist as 
well
as for the civilized, for all places and races this prayer is uttered: It 
encompasses the whole circle of the world and omits no one. We must be up 
and
doing for our Master, or we cannot honestly offer such a prayer. The 
petition is not asked with a sincere heart unless we endeavor, with God's 
help, to
extend the kingdom of our Master.

Are there not some who neglect both to pray and to work? Reader, is it your 
prayer? Turn your eyes to Calvary. Look at the Lord of Life nailed to a 
cross,
with a crown of thorns upon His brow, with bleeding head and hands and feet. 
What! Can you look upon this miracle of miracles, the death of the Son of
God, without feeling within your heart a marvelous adoration that language 
never can express? And when you feel the blood applied to your conscience 
and
know that He has blotted out your sins, you are not a man unless you jump 
from your knees to cry, “May the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen,
and Amen!”

Can you bow before the Crucified in humble adoration and not wish to see 
your Monarch Master of the world? You only pretend to love your Prince if 
you
do not desire to see Him the universal ruler. Your piety is worthless unless 
it leads you to wish that the same mercy that has been shown to you may 
bless
the whole world. Lord, it is harvest time; put in Your sickle and reap.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Jeremiah 34

verse 2 Psalms 5, 6

Click here to learn more about
Truth For Life

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

Featured Sermon
from
LightSource.com

Pastor Denny D. Davis
St. John Church Unleashed Grand Prairie

How to Find Your True Identity in Christ
Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of 
Mark Driscoll's new book,
Who Do You Think You Are?: Finding Your True Identity in Christ
(Thomas Nelson, 2013).

Who are you? That’s a question many people struggle to answer.

Too often, people base their identities on what they do (from their jobs to 
their roles in relationships), defining themselves by those pursuits. But by
doing so, they significantly limit their lives. The truth is that God 
intends for all people to find their identity in Christ.

If you’re a Christian, your identity encompasses all the abundance of being 
a beloved child of God. Here’s how you can start living your life fully in
Christ, keeping in mind that:

You’re a saint. The fact that you’ve placed your trust in Jesus Christ is 
enough to qualify you to be a saint. Even though you’ll still struggle with 
sin
while you live in this fallen world, your core identity as a Christian is as 
a saint, not a sinner – and you can always count on Jesus’ help to overcome
sin in your life. Rely on His help to resist temptation. When you do sin, 
confess and repent. Maintain attitudes of humility and gratitude for God’s 
grace.

You’re blessed. God has given you the greatest blessing of all – Himself. No 
matter what other blessings God may or may not choose to send into your 
life,
you can always be confident that God Himself will be with you, loving you, 
and working everything in your life out for good purposes when you trust Him
to do so. God also brings many different, specific blessings into your life 
regularly. Make a habit of reflecting on those blessings every day (or every
week) and thanking Him for them.

You’re appreciated. God notices and appreciates every good choice you make 
throughout your life – even when other people don’t. So change the way you 
live
as a result. Exchange grumbling for praying, competing for celebrating, 
bitterness for thankfulness, performing for serving, and boasting for 
encouraging.

You’re saved. Thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, you’re saved from: 
sin, death, Satan, your old human nature, and a pattern of worldly living. 
You
can respond in gratitude to your salvation by doing good works that God has 
prepared for you to do, to help others discover relationships with Him and
help redeem this fallen world.

You’re reconciled. Jesus has spiritually reconciled you to God and other 
believers. Since God plans for all Christians – from all the diverse types 
of
backgrounds on Earth – to live harmoniously together in heaven forever, you 
should do your best to live harmoniously here and now. Ask the Holy Spirit
to help you be peaceful, humble, and compassionate toward other people.

You’re afflicted. Everyone in this fallen world – Christians and 
non-Christians alike – must endure suffering. However, as a Christian, your 
suffering
can accomplish good, redemptive purposes. Rather than asking “Why?” when you 
suffer, ask “Who?” instead, shifting your focus from trying to figure out
something that you may not be able to understand and toward seeking God 
Himself, who promises to always be with you. Ask Jesus to use the suffering 
you
experience to make you more like Him and point more people to Him.

You’re heard. God always hears and responds to your prayers when you’re 
connected to Him through Jesus. Feel free to confidently express any of your 
thoughts
and feelings to God at any time, expecting Him to listen to you and answer 
your prayers according to what’s best for you.

You’re gifted. God has given you special abilities that He wants you to use 
in the Christian ministry work He calls you to do – both inside your church,
and out in your community. You can discover those gifts by asking yourself 
questions like: “Whom/where do you have a passion to serve?”, What do you 
have
a burden to do?”, “What needs do you see in the church?”, “What do you find 
joy in doing for others?”, “What opportunities has God already provided for
you to serve others?”, “What things are you best at and have the most 
success in?”, “What have godly people commended you for doing?”, and “What 
acts of
service have given you the deepest sense of satisfaction?”

You’re new. Jesus placed a new spirit within you when you began a 
relationship with Him, so, at your core, you’re a new person than who you 
were before
you became a Christian. However, you’ll keep learning and growing every day 
for the rest of your life as you gradually become more like Jesus.

You’re forgiven. Since Jesus paid the price that God’s justice demands for 
your sin and took God’s wrath for you upon Himself, you were forgiven for 
all
of your sins (past, present, and future), when you placed your trust in 
Jesus. You can thank Jesus for forgiving you by obeying His commands to 
forgive
others who have harmed you and to seek forgiveness from people you’ve 
harmed.

You’re adopted. As a Christian, you’ve been adopted into God’s family. The 
work of your big brother – Jesus – on the cross has made it possible for you
to become one of the sons or daughters of God the Father. So make your main 
goal of life learning how to know, love, and trust God as your Father.

You’re loved. While the people who love you can’t do so completely 
unselfishly, continually, or perfectly, God does. As a Christian, nothing 
can ever separate
you from God’s great love for you.

You’re rewarded. God will reward you for everything faithful and holy that 
you do as a Christian. Although you can’t earn your salvation, after you’ve
been saved you can earn rewards in heaven for the work you do serving God on 
Earth.

You’re victorious. Jesus has given you the power to ultimately overcome 
evil, sin, and death. Use the spiritual weapons at your disposal as a 
Christian
(truth, righteousness, the Gospel,
faith,
salvation, scripture, prayer, and the strength to stand) in spiritual 
battles, trusting that you can always emerge victorious.

Adapted from
Who Do You Think You Are?: Finding Your True Identity in Christ,
copyright 2013 by Mark Driscoll. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, 
Nashville, Tn.,
www.thomasnelson.com.

Mark Driscoll
pastors
Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, one of the fastest-growing churches 
in the nation. He is the author or coauthor of 12 books, including
Real Marriage
and
Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe.
Mark and his wife, Grace, have five children. Visit his website
here.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a 
Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s
site on angels and miracles.
Contact Whitney at:
angels@aboutguide.com
to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience 
like an answered prayer.

Publication date: January 14, 2013
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 66673
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 75
Location : Wales UK

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The Level Ground
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Culture Editor

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God –
Romans 3:23

I've always felt parables are the best resource anyone has for studying the 
gospel. The stories Jesus used to teach his followers are timeless and many
Christians, including myself, are prone to forgetting their lessons. The 
parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector is one such lesson,

“And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that 
they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt. Two men went up into
the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The 
Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself, 'God, I thank You that I am 
not like
other people, swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax 
collector. I fast twice a week ; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the 
tax collector,
standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to 
heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the 
sinner
!' I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; 
for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself
will be exalted." – Luke 18:9-14

Reading this section of scripture, I tried to picture what this story would 
look like if it was played out on a modern stage. The Pharisee would look 
the
model Christian: He grew up in a Christian home, attended youth group as a 
teen, participated in a dozen missions trips, as an adult he runs a 
respectable
business, and has a godly wife and three well behaved children. And the tax 
collector, who would he be? I tried to come up with a fictional description,
but instead something else happened. I started seeing the faces of all the 
Christians who had ever been honest with me about their struggles.

Friends who had struggles with addiction, others who had confessed to 
adultery, I saw myself confiding in them about my own sins and realized, in 
that
moment, we are all tax collectors. As Romans 3:23 says, we have all fallen 
short of God’s glory. The moment we start to believe ourselves saved by our
own worth is the day we become Pharisees. It’s an old moral, I know, but 
sometimes the hardest lessons to learn are the ones we think we already 
know.

Intersecting
Faith
and Life: Who do you most resemble, the Pharisee or the Tax collector?

Further Reading

Matthew 7:1-3

Choosing What to Keep

Standing beside the van outside the amusement park, Audrey punched the 
digits of her home number. In front of her, the Ferris wheel lights flashed 
colorful
patterns against the night sky.

“Hi, Mom. We’re leaving. Cami’s dad said I’d better call you on his cell 
phone, since it’s late.” Climbing in the van, she buckled up next to Cami. 
“What?
Yeah, we had fun! The new water ride is excellent. And there’s a roller 
coaster now with three loops. We went on bumper cars and go-karts and 
everything!”
Audrey listened for a moment, then said, “Okay. See you soon.” Touching the 
screen, she ended the call.

Cami said, “You didn’t tell her that your favorite ride was broken. Or that 
you lost your arcade money. Or that you got sunburned.”

Audrey laughed. “Well, my mom always says to only remember the good stuff!”

What are you storing up in your heart as you go through each day? Is it 
thankfulness for God’s blessings or bitterness over things that go wrong?

Choose carefully what to keep in your heart. The things you pack in there 
determine the kind of words you say and the kind of person you are.

Bible Verse: The mouth speaks what the heart is full of. –
Matthew 12:34

People in Bible Times: Believers’ hearts should be filled with truth, not 
lies. Peace, not fear. Love, not hatred. Forgiveness, not anger. 
Contentment, not
envy. Joy, not sorrow. Hope, not despair. Faith, not doubt.

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

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You

A Word With You
Daily Devotional
No Third Choice - #7193

I don't know whether or not your town has a big water tank. But if it does, 
I bet I can guess what it says. It probably has the name of your town on it,
right? I don't have some kind of gift. I've just seen a lot of water tanks, 
and they all look basically the same, you know, with the name of the town or
something on them.

But I saw a particular water tank on one trip that really got my attention. 
Actually, I saw two of them. We were driving through Virginia, and all of a
sudden I looked up and here are two water tanks on a mountain overlooking 
this town. You can't miss them. Two tanks; each one has one word on it. One 
says
"HOT." I'll bet you can guess what the other one says - "COLD."

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "No Third 
Choice."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Revelation 3:15. God is 
talking to a church in a place called Laodicea. He could be talking to some
of us today. He says, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. 
I wish you were either one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm, 
neither
hot or cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Boy, that's strong 
language for God, isn't it?

This is kind of disturbing to some of us who might want our Christianity 
like we want our oatmeal. You know, not too hot; not too cold. "I'll just 
get
a little involved. I'll give a little money. I'll be a little committed." 
How about, "I'll believe the beliefs, I'll sing the songs, I'll pray the 
prayers,
I'll read the Bible sometimes, I'll help out a little, but you know, I've 
got a life. Let's not get carried away."

See, we don't mind getting hot when it comes to sports. Oh, man, we get 
crazy excited. Or business. We're intense! There's no laid back there. Or 
recreation
- wow! Man, we get all passionate about the thing we love to do for fun or 
about a relationship. But Jesus? Well, lukewarm is okay. He'd rather have 
you
be cold. That's what He just said. "I'd rather have you be cold. Would you 
be really something? But lukewarm I find repulsive." Like those water tanks:
hot/cold. There was not a third choice. There isn't in following Jesus 
either. It is hot or cold.

In verse 17, it describes these people a little more. It says, "You say I am 
rich. I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But you do not realize
that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." See, these are 
people that, well you can't tell by looking at them, but they're cold on the 
inside.
They look like they've got it totally together.

See, it's easy to mistake success, or prosperity, or a good image for 
spiritual health. But God is not fooled. Here is this poignant picture in 
chapter
3, verse 20. Jesus is talking to the church and He says, "Here I am. I stand 
at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will
come in." Literally, Jesus has been locked out of His own church. He has 
been locked out of a life that He purchased with His life. Maybe yours. 
Isn't
it time you let Him in and let Him run things? Lukewarm Christianity frankly 
is hardly worth the trouble. It's boring, it's powerless, and it's 
unsatisfying.
And you're sitting there saying, "Man, I wonder why this faith of mine is so 
lifeless? Why bother with it?"

See, real Christianity is as radical as taking up a cross daily. This is a 
time for no holding back - being all in. The Word of God says in Romans 
12:1,
"In view of God's mercy, what Christ did on the cross for us, offer your 
bodies as living sacrifices, (That means you're not hanging onto anything.) 
holy
and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship."

See, there are two signs over God's people today: hot and cold. Step up to 
one or the other, will you? And when it comes to the Lord Jesus Christ, 
remember,
there is no third choice.

Experiencing LIFE Today

Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His 
disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts. — Mother
Teresa

It’️s one thing to know about faith; it’️s another to live by faith. How do we 
depend on Jesus in everyday life?

• Deliver the burden to God.
• Rest in Him.
• Depend on Him.
• And then do what He says in the power of the Spirit.

That’️s it? That’️s it.

Most of us can make it through the first three, but get stuck on the last 
one. The big question is always: How do I know what Jesus is saying to me?

God communicates however He desires, but starting with Scripture is always a 
good idea. We can also listen to friends and mentors – making sure to take
their advice back to the Bible to see if it parallels.

He desires to communicate and has given His Spirit to guide you. Take your 
burden to Him. Trust that He knows. Depend upon Him for the resolution. And
then act when you’️re led to do so. That’️s the beginning of great stories.

I once sat next to a couple who were in their 50’️s. He was a college 
professor and she was working in retail. Both had been burdened for their 
city, and
had taken that burden to God. She shared, “It’️s hard for the incarcerated,†
the wife told me. “When they are released, they suddenly no longer live in
community and are often totally alone.†In faith, the couple continued 
working their jobs, and trusted that He’️d let them know when it was time to 
do something.
When we met, they were six months away from moving into a new, transitional 
community. “Our home will be a healthy, faith-filled community for them. We
won’️t give them a chance to feel alone.†That’️s just one story of one couple 
who delivered the burden to God, rested in Him, depended on Him, and then
did what He said in the power of the Spirit.

This is the adventure of the Christian life, friends – where life gets 
excitingly out of our hands. What’️s He doing in your story?

Lord who leads, this is exciting. I can barely contain myself. The fact that 
You desire to give me guidance and lead me in an adventure of faith is more
than I can handle. Let’️s get started right now, Lord. I’️ve been struggling. 
I’️m turning this over to You and am going to wait for You to lead me. I’️
depending
upon You because You are faithful. Now, I’️m listening for You because You 
speak. Amen.

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

Today's Daily Encounter

Reality Check

"Faith without works is dead."1

One of my favorite quotes happens to be from a Buddhist
monk who said, "To know and not to do is not yet to
know." To translate this into our Christian terminology
it could be, "To believe and not to act is not yet to
believe because I only truly believe that which
motivates me to action."

It has also been pointed out that we don't always act
consistently with what we profess but we always act
consistently with what we believe. In other words, I
may profess to be a Christian but if I don't act like
one, chances are I may not be one.

Furthermore, if I say I believe that Jesus Christ is
coming again and unless people receive him as their
Savior, they will be lost forever--but don't do
anything to share the gospel--chances are I don't
really believe that people are lost and that Christ is
coming back again. I only profess it.

As James put it, "What's the use of saying that you
have faith and are Christians if you aren't proving it
by helping others? Will that kind of faith save anyone?
It isn't enough just to have faith. You must also do
good to prove that you have it. Faith that doesn't show
itself by good works is no faith at all--it is dead and
useless."2 And as James also said, "Anyone, then, who
knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it,
sins."3

Good works don't save us. They just confirm what we are
and what we believe. Jesus said the same thing. "By
their fruits you will know them," he declared.4 In
other words, to know and not to do is not yet to
know--or to believe and not to act is not yet to
believe.

Have you had a reality check lately to see what you
really do believe? You measure it by your actions and
the way you live.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to be a doer of
Your Word and not just a hearer and grant that my
belief in You will be for real--and be evident in what
I do and in the way I live. Thank You for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."

1. James 2:20.
2. James 2:14, 17 (TLB).
3. James 4:17 (NIV).
4. Matthew 7:20.

<Smile)))><

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

* * * * * * *

Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
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interested friends. Donations can be sent at:

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Choosing What to Keep

Standing beside the van outside the amusement park, Audrey punched the 
digits of her home number. In front of her, the Ferris wheel lights flashed 
colorful
patterns against the night sky.

“Hi, Mom. We’re leaving. Cami’s dad said I’d better call you on his cell 
phone, since it’s late.” Climbing in the van, she buckled up next to Cami. 
“What?
Yeah, we had fun! The new water ride is excellent. And there’s a roller 
coaster now with three loops. We went on bumper cars and go-karts and 
everything!”
Audrey listened for a moment, then said, “Okay. See you soon.” Touching the 
screen, she ended the call.

Cami said, “You didn’t tell her that your favorite ride was broken. Or that 
you lost your arcade money. Or that you got sunburned.”

Audrey laughed. “Well, my mom always says to only remember the good stuff!”

What are you storing up in your heart as you go through each day? Is it 
thankfulness for God’s blessings or bitterness over things that go wrong?

Choose carefully what to keep in your heart. The things you pack in there 
determine the kind of words you say and the kind of person you are.

Bible Verse: The mouth speaks what the heart is full of. –
Matthew 12:34

People in Bible Times: Believers’ hearts should be filled with truth, not 
lies. Peace, not fear. Love, not hatred. Forgiveness, not anger. 
Contentment, not
envy. Joy, not sorrow. Hope, not despair. Faith, not doubt.

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

The Level Ground
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Culture Editor

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God –
Romans 3:23

I've always felt parables are the best resource anyone has for studying the 
gospel. The stories Jesus used to teach his followers are timeless and many
Christians, including myself, are prone to forgetting their lessons. The 
parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector is one such lesson,

“And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that 
they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt. Two men went up into
the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The 
Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself, 'God, I thank You that I am 
not like
other people, swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax 
collector. I fast twice a week ; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the 
tax collector,
standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to 
heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the 
sinner
!' I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; 
for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself
will be exalted." – Luke 18:9-14

Reading this section of scripture, I tried to picture what this story would 
look like if it was played out on a modern stage. The Pharisee would look 
the
model Christian: He grew up in a Christian home, attended youth group as a 
teen, participated in a dozen missions trips, as an adult he runs a 
respectable
business, and has a godly wife and three well behaved children. And the tax 
collector, who would he be? I tried to come up with a fictional description,
but instead something else happened. I started seeing the faces of all the 
Christians who had ever been honest with me about their struggles.

Friends who had struggles with addiction, others who had confessed to 
adultery, I saw myself confiding in them about my own sins and realized, in 
that
moment, we are all tax collectors. As Romans 3:23 says, we have all fallen 
short of God’s glory. The moment we start to believe ourselves saved by our
own worth is the day we become Pharisees. It’s an old moral, I know, but 
sometimes the hardest lessons to learn are the ones we think we already 
know.

Intersecting
Faith
and Life: Who do you most resemble, the Pharisee or the Tax collector?

Further Reading

Matthew 7:1-3

What to Do When Life Hands You Lemons
Cliff Young

Dale Carnegie, American author and speaker known for his self-improvement 
and leadership courses, popularized the saying, “When life hands you lemons,
make lemonade.” This sounds a lot better when you’re not the one holding the 
lemons.

Over the past couple of years, I have shared some of the trials I have been 
going through, many involving “untimely” deaths (as if there are any other
kind) of
family
and friends, job loss, end to relationships and home disasters. I am very 
appreciative of the outpouring of encouragement and prayers I have received.

To be completely honest though, “making lemonade” has not been my first 
thought when “life” happened. My immediate reaction was to throw the lemons 
at
something or somebody (especially those armed with Christian clichés and 
verses), and scream “Why?!” (God has been working on my anger issues.)

Throughout these struggles, the only thing that has kept me going (and from 
being a fruit assailant) on this journey is my faith.

Truly believing God has a better plan in all of this has not been 
doubt-free, however faith in him has allowed me to seek and see small 
victories each
day in the midst of these tragedies. It’s not an easy road and no one should 
ever tell you it is.

Some days, just deciding to get out of bed is an accomplishment. Others 
days, crossing items off a “to do” list is a major success. But for me, most 
days
I feel the Lord is pushing me to just stay involved, stay in community with 
others and stay connected.

The worst things we can do are retreat into our seemingly safe cocoon and 
pretend “it” didn’t happen (or hope it will all go away).

Understandably, everyone needs some time to process the changes in their 
life (whatever they may be) and for many that means spending time alone to 
grieve,
going off to pray about what to do, formulating a plan of attack, and 
seeking what it all means.

With each passing day I decide to take a step (however big or small). As I 
do, I move one step further through this current season and one step closer
to the ultimate goal of where God wants me to be, or just showing obedience 
in the process.

When my brother was diagnosed with stage four cancer, our family’s world 
stopped and nothing else took on any importance beside his health.

Since his passing, I could be living in the past reflecting on the “why,” 
“what,” and “who’s to blame?”

Why did it happen?

What if we had another opinion?

Why wasn’t he transferred to another hospital?

What else could have been done?

The doctor should have reacted faster.

Many of us play this game in relationships, careers, and with every decision 
we (finally) make in life.

The choice I have made is to do things which would honor his legacy and make 
him proud.

I have picked up responsibilities that aren’t necessarily under the standard 
duties of an uncle. I have invested into the lives of his children and I 
make
sure his family is cared for and loved. Although Jesus wasn’t speaking 
specifically of this type of situation, his words encourage this sort of 
action
when he instructed a disciple, “Follow me and let the dead bury their own 
dead” (
Matthew 8:22).

I know my brother is up in Heaven. I will let Jesus take care of him while I 
try to continue to do Christ’s work and care for those on earth.

One of the most important topics for singles, or at least at the forefront 
of most everyone’s mind, is relationships. There is nothing worse than a 
relationship
you thought was “going the distance” that ends in a break-up.

After I experienced a broken engagement a few years back, I could have 
justifiably fallen into a pity party, seclusion, playing the blame game or 
an angered-filled
life.

However, by the grace of God, a friend offered me an opportunity thousands 
of miles away in a place I had only visited where I knew next to nobody. 
Instead
of living in the past and feeling sorry for myself, I felt God was 
challenging me with a fresh start.

In choosing to move forward, I have experienced some things many only dream 
of, faced my fears in several areas and overcame them, made many life-long
friends and didn’t waste my time on “what could have been.”

Just the other day I offered to help a friend with the hospitality for an 
event our church was sponsoring. When I entered the kitchen, he handed me a 
bunch
of lemons and told me my job was to grate lemon zest (which is the colorful 
outer layer of the citrus peel).

When I was done, I asked him what to do, and he responded “juice the 
lemons.”

After all of the grating, squeezing, mixing and baking that night, we ended 
up with some of the most flavorful lemon poppy seed muffins I have ever 
tasted.

This is all to say, when life hands you lemons don’t just settle for lemons 
or even lemonade. Look beyond the obvious because God usually has bigger 
things
in mind, but only if we take our eyes off the immediate and look at a 
broader perspective of the situation.

What I have found is each of us contributes to the duration of our season by 
the attitude we have and the actions we take. We can choose to live in the
past, try to “make things right or fair” (or at least understandable and 
justifiable in our own minds), and fight for “our way,” or we can accept the 
outcome
as part of God’s plan and look for opportunities within our “new normal.”

Whatever your “lemon-filled” journey is, take the time you need (not 
forever), and when you’re ready look for all of the different opportunities 
your lemons
allow you to do.

Dale Carnegie had the right idea, but with God we can do so much more.

Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as 
well as the monthly column, "
He Said-She Said,"
in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he 
now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian
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Sacrament of Broken Seed
by Charles R. Swindoll

Titus 3:3-8

Chances are running high that you're in a hurry today. Am I right? Your "To 
Do" list stretches on and on. If you're reading this in the morning, you're
wondering how in the world you'll get it all done. If the day has already 
slipped away as you read these words, you're wondering where in the world 
the
hours went.

Yeah, I can identify. It's been that kind of week. Really, that kind of 
month. But let's take five and ponder a word that gets overlooked in the 
midst
of a breakneck schedule. Just a simple word . . . helping.

Think about that. About being of assistance . . . your arm around the 
hunched shoulder of another . . . your smile saying "try again" to someone 
who's
convinced it's curtains . . . your cup of cool water held up to a brother's 
cracked lips, reassuring and reaffirming.

Every time I pick up my pen, the thought of helping urges me to push ink 
into words. There are enough---more than enough---specialists in body blocks 
and
pass defense and tackling those with the ball, causing fumbles, bruises, and 
injuries. I'd much rather run interference. Open up holes. Slap some fanny
and say, "You can do it, now git at it!" I couldn't agree more with Philip 
Yancey, a man who models his own advice:

C. S. Lewis once likened his role as a Christian writer to an adjective 
humbly striving to point others to the Noun of truth. For people to believe 
that
Noun, we Christian writers must improve our adjectives.

Whether in the sweltering heat of summer or during winter's bitter blast, 
I'd like to think that some carefully selected turn of a phrase, some 
pointed
story, even the choice of a single word I used reached over to your hand 
with a grip of fresh hope. The Noun is so attractive, so satisfying, we dare 
not
get sloppy with our adjectives.

It's all part of helping folks "hold fast the confession of our hope without 
wavering . . ." and being committed to "stimulate one another to love and
good deeds" (Hebrews 10:23-24).

I hope that the following poem will stimulate you to reach beyond the safe 
bounds of your private, fenced-off territory. It's called "At the Winter 
Feeder,"
a perceptive piece by John Leax, professor of English and poet-in-residence 
at Houghton College:

His feather flame doused dull
by icy cold,
the cardinal hunched
into the rough, green feeder
but ate no seed.
Through binoculars I saw
festered and useless
his beak, broken
at the root.
Then two: one blazing, one gray,
rode the swirling weather
into my vision
and lighted at his side.
Unhurried, as if possessing
the patience of God,
they cracked sunflowers
and fed him
beak to wounded beak
choice meats.
Each morning and afternoon
the winter long,
that odd triumvirate,
that trinity of need,
returned and ate
their sacrament
of broken seed.¹

If birds had souls, I have no doubt that that cardinal would, long before 
springtime, yield to the God of his friends. Attractive adjectives plus 
unselfish
verbs equal faith in the Noun of truth.

It's an axiom that holds true at the winter feeder and at any season of the 
year.

1. "At the Winter Feeder," copyright © 1985 by John Leax. All rights 
reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1988, 
1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by 
permission.

© 2014 Insight for Living. All rights reserved worldwide.

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Welcome to the Nugget

August 2, 2014

Sowing Our Talents, Part 1
By Answers2Prayer

I don't have a wonderful singing voice, but I love to sing. And sometimes, 
when I get to work early and no one is there, I will sing as I go about my 
work.
Then one day one of my co-workers came up to me and told me how much she had 
enjoyed the songs I had been singing that morning. I was shocked and 
embarrassed,
and the next time I was tempted to sing at work, I stopped myself. Why? 
Because that singing was never supposed to be heard by anyone! I am, after 
all,
not talented enough to be a blessing...

But there was that little fact that my co-worker told me she had been 
blessed by my squeaky attempts to hold a tune...Hum...

It all makes me think about this whole concept of talents. It seems to me 
that when it comes to talents, there are 4 classes of people:

1. Those who have few, recognize their limitations, and keep what little 
talent they might have to themselves;
2. Those who have few, recognize their limitations, but aren't afraid to use 
the few they have;
3. Those who have many, but believe their talents aren't good enough and 
thus, they don't use them; and
4. Those who have many and who aren't afraid to use them.

Jesus actually has a lot to say about three of these types of people: "And 
to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each 
according
to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey." (Matt 25:15)

In this famous parable, Jesus directly addresses the two classes of people 
that have been given little, and one of the classes that has been given 
much!

In the story, the man who is very talented (5 talents!) uses those talents. 
He invests them back into the rich man's kingdom: "Then he who had received
the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents." 
(Matt 25:16). This man is, therefore, in the class of the ones who are 
talented
and not afraid to use those talents.

The second man is not very talented. He has only two talents. However, he 
also invests them back into the rich man's kingdom. "And likewise he who had
received two gained two more also." (Matt 25:17). He represents the class of 
people who have few talents, but who aren't afraid to sow what they have 
back
into God's kingdom.

The third man is also not very talented. He has only received one talent, 
and he recognizes his lack of talent. "But he who had received one went and 
dug
in the ground, and hid his lord's money." (Matt 25:18). He represents the 
first class of people, who have few talents, recognize their lack, and bury 
what
they have.

Why would he do such a thing? Because he believes that the "lord of those 
servants" is a perfectionist, that he requires perfection in all that he 
does:
"Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and 
gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and 
hid
your talent in the ground." (Matt 25:24,25)

Hum. Is that why I am concerned about people hearing me sing? Because I'm 
afraid that God requires perfection, and since I don't have a perfect voice,
He will be angry with me if I try?

Let's see what happens to these three men:

The lord of those servants then comes back to "settle accounts with them." 
Here is his response to the very talented man, the one who has invested the
5 talents and has earned back 5 more: "His lord said to him, 'Well done, 
good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make 
you
ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'" (Matt 25:21)

The lord of the servants is proud of this man!

But then, why wouldn't he sow his talents back into the kingdom? He is, 
after all, very talented!

The lord's response to the second servant is also very interesting. This is 
the servant who doesn't have many talents at all, but who invests what he 
does
have and earns interest: "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have 
been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. 
Enter
into the joy of your lord." (Matt 25:23)

Wait! Isn't this the exact same response he gives to the man who is very 
talented?

But notice his response to the third servant, the one who isn't talented at 
all, who recognizes his lack of talent, and who doesn't do anything: "But 
his
lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I 
reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So
you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I 
would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent 
from
him, and give it to him who has ten talents.'" (Matt 25:15-28, NKJV)

What Jesus is saying here, friends, is that it isn't how talented we are 
that matters, it's what we do with those talents!

Hum. But this is speaking about "talents," a word used for money in the New 
Testament. Surely God isn't trying to tell me that I need to sow my poor 
singing
voice back into the kingdom!!!

Or is He? Join us next week, for Sowing Your Talents, Part 2.

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 onTwitter @lynchaffart.

Announcement:

Sometime early in His ministry, Jesus had an interesting encounter with a 
Pharisee named Nicodemus. We aren't told much about this particular 
Pharisee,
but Jesus' short encounter with him, recorded in John 3:3-20, is packed with 
essential life-giving nuggets of Truth. Please check out "
Jesus and Nicodemus,"

A Study on Rebirth!

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

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com


A Norvell Note

Vol. 17 No. 31 August 4, 2014
Sometimes There Are No Answers

When a dream you have had for years, maybe a lifetime, begins to fade and 
you realize it is probably not going to come true, you ask the questions, 
but
there are no answers?
When disease suddenly attacks and otherwise perfectly healthy body you ask 
the questions, but there are no answers.
When a marriage that began with all the hope and joy that a couple can 
envision ends with heartache and sorry you ask the questions, but there are 
no answers.
When a child walks away from everything you taught them, refuses to explain, 
and cuts off all communications you ask the questions but there are no 
answers.
When what you desire of your heart is always just beyond your reach you ask 
questions but there are no answers.
When the love you crave from another human being never develops you ask the 
questions, but the answers do not come.
When you think you are doing the right things, making the right decisions, 
and moving in the right direction but the results you had hoped for and 
assumed
would come do not, you ask the questions but sometimes the answers do not 
come.
The questions? Why? Why me? Why us? Why not? Why not now? When? How? Ever?
When you wake up and realize that you are blessed beyond your wildest 
imagination you ask the questions but there are no answers.
When your marriage has grown and matured and becomes a blessing to others, 
you ask the questions but there are no answers.
When your children make good choices, walk faithfully with the Lord, and 
experience the fullness of life you ask the questions but there are no 
answers.
When you feel like a complete failure in everything you have ever done and 
cannot remember the last time you did something right, yet you have been 
blessed
beyond measure, you ask the questions but the answers do not come.

The questions? Why? Why me? Why us? Why not? Why not now? When? How? Ever?
Sometimes there no answers. At least there are no answers that we can 
understand. If you will look behind it all — the pain, the confusion, the 
frustration,
the disappointment, the questioning, the joy, the celebration, the 
amazement — there is an answer. It is the answer who holds the answers all 
the questions.
The answer is God. He is there. He has been there through it all. He will be 
there through it all. He will not leave us. He will not forsake us. He is
beyond our understanding. His thoughts and reasons and actions are beyond 
our comprehension. He is God. He is the answer to the questions that seem to
have no answer. Ask your questions. He can handle them. When you see Him, 
your questions will disappear.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)

Then Job answered the Lord:
“I am unworthy — how can I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
I spoke once, but I have no answer —
twice, but I will say no more.” (Job 40:3-5)
Then Job replied to the Lord:
“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:2-6)
Tom
A Norvell Note © Copyright 2014. Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.
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38 Ways to Give Thanks in Hard Times
Dr. Ray Pritchard

The Bible instructs us to "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s 
will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

We know this is biblical, but it is not always easy.

The question revolves around the expression “in all circumstances.” We know 
that we should give thanks when things are going well. It is right and good
to “praise God from whom all blessings flow.” We shouldn’t take our 
blessings for granted or think that we somehow deserve them. But if you only 
give thanks
when you have money in the bank, when your
marriage
is good, when the deal goes through, or when the doctor says, “You don’t 
have cancer,” when your kids are doing well, when the church is growing and 
your
friends are glad to see you, if that’s the only time you give thanks, what 
will you do when trouble comes?

What will you do when your company downsizes and you are out of a job, when 
your retirement fund loses 45% of its value, when your marriage collapses,
when your daughter gets pregnant out of wedlock, when the cancer returns, or 
when your friends betray you?

I freely admit that often things happen to us (and to our loved ones) that 
make no sense. Try as we might, we cannot trace God’s hand in every 
circumstance
because God paints on a canvas much larger than our tiny vision. How do we 
give thanks when our hearts are broken? How do we give thanks when we are 
confused?
How do we give thanks when we are angry at what sin has done in the world?

I think it is biblical to give thanks in the following manner even in the 
worst moments. We give thanks . . .

That God is sovereign.
That nothing happens by chance.
That God causes all things to work together for good for his children.
That hard times reveal our weakness, break our pride, and show us our total 
need for God.
That God has triumphed over sin and death through his Son, the Lord Jesus 
Christ.
That God uses the worst that happens to promote our spiritual growth.
That God is faithful even when we are faithless.
That God’s Word will be vindicated.
That God’s promises are true.
That evil will not reign forever.
That heaven is real.
That this world is not the “real” world.
That when we are weak, he is strong.
That his grace is sufficient for every situation.
That nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
That our salvation rests on God and not on us.
That there is no pit so deep that the love of God is not deeper still.
That the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from every sin.
That God delights to save sinners.
That the Lord can soften the hardest heart.
That there are no impossible cases with God.
That even when we feel alone, we are never alone.
That our Father will not test us beyond what we can bear.
That the Holy Spirit abides with us always.
That the Lord Jesus feels our pain.
That the Holy Spirit prays for us when we are too weak to pray for 
ourselves.
That the Lord Jesus intercedes for us so that we are finally saved.
That God uses everything and wastes nothing.
That our doubts cannot cancel God’s work in us.
That someday we will be conformed to the image of Christ.
That God is faithful to finish his work in us.
That our hardships equip us to minister to others.
That we are invited to come boldly to the throne of grace.
That God’s plan far exceeds our puny imagination.
That weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
That we are still God’s children even when our
faith
falters.
That while we suffer outwardly, we are being renewed inwardly.
That our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal weight 
of glory.

Eugene Peterson nicely captures the meaning of verse 18 this way. “Thank God 
no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ
Jesus to live” (MSG). I like that phrase “no matter what happens” because it 
perfectly describes life in a fallen world.

I do not mean to suggest that this is easy, only that it is absolutely 
necessary. As hard as it may be to rejoice always, what is your alternative? 
To
give in to despair and anger? If you refuse to give thanks in every 
situation, you are virtually saying that you know better than God how to run 
the universe.
By giving thanks when we don’t feel like it, we are proclaiming that God’s 
wisdom is greater than ours. That simple act of giving thanks in the midst 
of
sorrow is a testimony worth more than 10,000 words spoken when things are 
going well.

If we know the Lord, we can still give thanks even when life makes no sense.

You can reach the author at
ray@keepbelieving.com.

elcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever 
follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" 
John 8:12
By Answers2Prayer

A Light to Land

During World War II an aircraft carrier was out in the North Atlantic.

Six pilots took off from the carrier to spot enemy submarines. While the 
pilots were gone, the captain of the ship was forced to issue an alarm. A 
button
was pushed and instantaneously every light on the ship was extinguished.

While their mother ship remained in blackout, the pilots started to return. 
The experienced airmen knew their ship was down there. Yes, she was down 
there
somewhere, they just didn't know her exact location.

They radioed the ship: "Give us light, we're coming home." The radio 
operator on the ship radioed back: "The order is for a blackout. We can't 
give you
more light."

Another pilot picked up his microphone and said, 'Just give us some light 
and we can make it." To his request the radio operator said, "No light - 
blackout."

A third pilot went on his radio and begged, "Look buddy, all we need is one 
light. Give us just one light, and we can try to land." The operator could
do no more. With great reluctance he reached over, turned the switch and 
broke radio contact. Six aviators, the pride of their families, hometowns, 
and
country went down in the cold north Atlantic Ocean and into eternity.

There is a point to this terribly tragic story.

It should be noted that those aviators were highly trained flyers. Even more 
they were good men trying to do the right thing. This they did by following
orders and fighting for a noble purpose. But, no matter how good they were, 
how trained they were, how noble they were, without that light they were 
lost.

It is no different for the rest of humanity.

People can be kind, noble, committed, and live every minute of their lives 
for others. They can try as hard as they can, but without the Light of Jesus
Christ, they are still lost . . .

. . . they are still helpless . . .

. . . they are still condemned to hell.

Which is why those who are saved need to give thanks for the Light, and 
those who are still lost need to see just how much they need the 
salvation-light
which Jesus gives. Which is why we pray that God will grant such a thing 
happen for these millions before they go down, die, and enter eternity.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I pray that others may be brought to the Light, be 
washed of their sins and be brought safely into heaven. May I do all I can 
to
reflect Jesus' Light to others. In His Name I ask it. Amen.

Pastor Ken Klaus

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

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."

The Light of the World
Sunday, August 3, 2014

“I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the 
darkness, but will have the Light of life.” – John 8:12 NASB
Born in London in 1827 to a Christian family, William Holman Hunt spent 
considerable time reading the Bible as a child. Gradually, he began dreaming 
of
becoming an artist. Through many struggles, he realized his only hope was in 
Jesus, and he felt inspired to use his artistic talents to teach Biblical
truths.
Around 1850, Hunt began working on a painting that symbolized the importance 
of salvation and what Christ meant to him. He called the painting, “The 
Light
of the World.” Hunt later commented that he intended “to show how the still 
small voice speaks to a human soul in the turmoil of life.” He sensed how 
important
light was, both to this painting and to the Christian life. So he painted at 
night, with only a lamp to give him light. He wanted to feel darkness and
the impact of light.
As author Cynthia Pearl Maus has described, Hunt used this painting to focus 
on light in two ways. There was a lantern in Jesus’ hand representing “the
light of conscience,” revealing sin with a fire that “is red and fierce.” 
The other light radiated His face. Hunt wanted people to understand that 
Jesus
was the “Light of the World,” and that He was standing at the door of their 
hearts, ready to come in (Revelation 3:20).
Today, more than ever, the world needs the Light of the Gospel. Jesus is at 
the door of people in every nation. He is ready to bring salvation, joy, and
peace. He waits for men and women, boys and girls, to invite Him in. 
Dedicate yourself to bringing this Light to the world. Live in His light!
Today's Inspiration Prayer

Today's Inspiration Prayer

Father, show me how I can help spread the light of the Gospel. Shine Your 
light through my life. Guide me and give me wisdom. I commit my life to You.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Reading: John John 8

Inspiration Ministries
3000 World Reach Drive, Indian Land, SC 29707
+1 803-578-1899 US | 0845 683-0580 UK
www.inspiration.org

Finding or Being Found
By Skip Heitzig

A tour group was visiting the Grand Canyon. Three friends got off the bus 
and gave their impression of what they saw before them. One, an artist, 
said,
"What a magnificent panorama to put on canvas!" The next, a pastor, said, 
"What a beautiful example of the majesty and creativity of God!" The third, 
a
cowboy, said, "What a terrible place to lose a cow!" They were all correct 
from their individual perspective.

Some things in Scripture are just tough to understand. And one of the areas 
we have the greatest problem with is divine choice versus human choice. From
the divine perspective, God chooses people. From the human perspective, 
people choose God. The Bible says both are true: God predestined people for
salvation,
yet we are called to make a decision. How can that be?

In John 1:35-51, Jesus called some of the first disciples. They made a 
conscious decision to follow Him, but at the same time, this story suggests 
that
Jesus had been anticipating them all along. Which is it: Did they choose to 
follow Him, or had He chosen to have them follow Him? I'd say it's all a 
matter
of perspective. Can't both be true?

From a divine standpoint, it's always the case that God chooses. People come 
to know Jesus Christ because God sought them, first and foremost. Jesus told
the disciples, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you 
that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain" (John 
15:16).

Notice a repeated phrase in John 1: "We have found the Messiah" in verse 41 
and "We have found Him" in verse 45. And yet, verse 43 says, "Jesus…found 
Philip
and said to him, 'Follow Me.'" So the question is: Who really found whom? We 
often say, "I found Jesus," but isn't the truth that you were lost and He
sought you out and found you?

It's the deep, theological mystery of election and predestination. 
Throughout Scripture, people are commanded to exercise a choice and respond 
by faith.
But the same Bible teaches that we have already been selected by God and 
that our salvation began way before we were born. Jesus said, "No one can 
come
to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44). Paul said, "Just 
as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…having predestined
us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good 
pleasure of His will" (Eph. 1:4-5).

You can't reconcile sovereign election and human decision in your finite 
mind. People have tried for centuries to unravel these mysteries; they've 
even
fought over them. But it's sort of like a suspension bridge: the reason it 
stands is because opposing forces pull it taut. So you can either say, "I 
just
don't understand that," or drive across.

Here's what I mean: we can argue over election, or we can enjoy it. God 
picked you. Let that sink in. Instead of struggling with election, just get 
over
it and enjoy it. He picked you—how cool is that?

If you're struggling with the whole election thing, thinking, "Maybe I'm not 
among the chosen," I can prove to you that you are. Come and receive Christ
as your Savior and Lord and you will discover that He chose you from the 
foundation of the earth. If you come to Him, you'll discover that He will in 
no
way cast you out (see John 6:37).

Copyright © 2014 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.

For more from Skip Heitzig, visit
ConnectionRadio.org,
and listen to today's broadcast of The Connection with
Skip Heitzig
at OnePlace.com.
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

The Unexpected Guest...by John Naberhaus

Several years ago I had an unexpected guest come to my home. His name was 
Mr. Dolor. As his stay extended from a few days into months and years, I 
began
to call him only as Dolor.

Like a small dog, Dolor was always with me. There seemed to be no getting 
rid of him. He was always faithful to find me. I took vacations and tried to
leave him home, but somehow he managed to tag along. I could be miles away, 
yet he would still show up, always content to be close by.

Dolor never let me out of his sight for very long...even at bedtime. I could 
be asleep for a few hours, and he would awaken me with twinges and nudges
at my hands and feet. It was his way of settling in for the night. After 
half an hour or so, I'd get accustomed to him there and we would fall asleep 
till
morning when he would awaken me again.

I remember when Dolor first came, his constant presence greatly bothered me. 
I tried to convince him to leave...that it would be best for him and me if
we permanently parted company. However, he made it clear he needed help. 
Seemed he was afraid of leaving. At least he was thinking about it.

I took Dolor to several doctors to cure this fear of leaving. Tests were 
taken. Drugs prescribed. But his fear remained. In some ways the fear 
increased-or
maybe it was a renewed desire to stay-and he awoke me even more often during 
the night. So much for doctors and drugs!

I've finally convinced myself that Dolor is not a guest in my house. He is 
my constant companion. And I no longer call him by his Spanish name, but by
the English translation---PAIN.

We read in scripture...And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; 
there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more
pain, for the former things have passed away.(Revelation 21:4)

The passage tells us that one day pain will no longer be with us. It will be 
a thing of the past. But we must understand that until then, pain is a part
of this world and most of us will have to deal it.

We all have stories of physical pain, but there is emotional and mental 
pain, too. My own is both emotional and physical. I lost my first wife and 
my two
sons. At times the pain in my heart is unbearable because I cannot see them 
or hear their voices. That's the emotional side of pain.

The physical side is that it now takes at least three hours to prepare every 
morning before I can go anywhere. You see, I must use a powered wheelchair
to get around. So each day, Jill (my second wife) must get me out of bed and 
bathe, dress and exercise me before sitting me in my wheelchair. Then she
has to get herself ready.

Many others must deal with pain. I have a friend with great emotional pain 
over his brothers and sisters not being Christians. Prayers are offered for
their salvation every day. He has physical pains, as well, and mini-strokes 
to contend with.

If you are in pain, you are not alone. God has allowed it for a reason. But 
He has assured us that one day it will be all gone for those in Heaven. So
be encouraged and take heart. Pain is never lasting, but Eternity with God, 
Jesus, and your loved ones in Heaven most definitely is!

What a happy day that will be!!

God bless and protect you all,

John

Love Worth Finding Ministries

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Happiness vs. Joy

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”
Philippians 4:4

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Happiness comes from outside circumstances. Joy comes from within. So it’s 
cruel to say to people who are in sorrow, “Smile and be happy.” Better to 
come
alongside and mourn with them than to try to force the square peg of 
happiness into a round hole of sorrow.

The human life is a life of tragedy, sorrow, heartache, and pain. Yet in 
every difficulty, you can find joy. Happiness is an outside job. Joy is an 
inside job.

ACTION POINT:
There is someone in a nursing home that longs for that joy. Find some time 
this week to bring the joy of the Lord to them.

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.

© 2014 Love Worth Finding Ministries | PO Box 38300 - Memphis, TN 38183-0300
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Spiritual Fruit – Faithfulness

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, 
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and 
self-control. There is no law against these things!" (
Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

We are closer to having the complete fruit of the Spirit when we grow 
faithfulness by the power of the Holy Spirit. Synonyms for faithfulness are 
endurance and perseverance. The Christian life is not one of ease. Just 
because we live on earth our lives are full of trials. But Paul tells us:

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that 
they help us develop endurance." (Romans 5:3, NLT)

Paul wrote in another of his letters that it should not surprise us when we 
face temptations. God shows us that He is faithful and thus we can be 
faithful:

"The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. 
And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you 
can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can 
endure." (
1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT)

We must grow the part of the fruit of the Spirit known as faithfulness or 
endurance or we will not live with Christ:

"if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also 
deny us;" (
2 Timothy 2:12, NRSV)

Let the Holy Spirit grow the fruit of faithfulness in you so that you may 
hear Jesus say what He said in several parables:

"“ ‘Well done!’ the king exclaimed. ‘You are a good servant. You have been 
faithful with the little I entrusted to you…" (Luke 19:17, NLT)

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List
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5 Questions to Ask When Making a Decision
LYSA TERKEURST

"For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and 
count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it — lest, after he has laid
the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 
saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish'?"
Luke 14:28-30
(NKJV)

I wasn't in the mood to take on the stress of making another decision. I was 
just so tired. So spent. Not in the mood to deal with one more thing.

A family friend in her early 20s was looking to move out of her apartment 
and into a less expensive living situation. We adore this young lady. She's 
spent
a lot of time with our family. She's lovely and no trouble at all.

When she asked to move in with us however, I felt a deep sense of caution. 
We'd been helping a family member through a difficult situation that 
required
a lot of my time and emotional energy.

But maybe I could do this, too, I thought. My heart was certainly saying 
yes. But my heart and my reality don't always line up.

So, I knew I needed to take myself through a process of evaluating this 
decision. And my evaluation would have to include my capacity.

It's good to use wisdom, knowledge and an understanding of your resource 
capacity to assess your decisions.

In fact,
Luke 14:28-30
encourages it: "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit 
down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it — lest, 
after
he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin 
to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish'?"

I ran this situation through the filter of 5 questions:

1. Do I have the resources to handle this request along with my current 
responsibilities?
2. Could this fit physically?
3. Could this fit financially?
4. Could this fit spiritually?
5. Could this fit emotionally?

I dug through my purse to retrieve the only paper I could find — a random 
receipt. I scrawled out a list of things to consider when making this 
decision.

Did saying yes to this make sense in each of these areas?

• Physically? We had a spare bedroom.
• Financially? Her small rent payment would cover any additional expenses.
• Spiritually? We are Christians, and we want to love other people. This 
seemed to fall right in line with our core values.

But there was one more aspect to be considered. Could I handle this 
emotionally? Did I really have the white space to do this and keep an 
attitude of love?

This is where I felt the most caution. Remember how I was feeling at the 
time? So tired. So spent.

I've learned to pay attention to my emotional capacity and be honest with 
myself when I'm stretched too thin. When I allow myself to get overloaded 
emotionally,
the worst version of me emerges. And that's not good for anyone.

As I continued to count the cost and assess my available resources, I felt I 
should say no. But I also felt I was expected to say yes. Do I go with what
I'm expected to do? Or what I feel I should do?

Whenever there is a conflict between what we feel we're expected to do and 
what we feel we should do, it's time to step back from the decision. And 
seek
clarity from the only source free from entanglements.

God.

Praying for wisdom and considering these 5 questions gave me a peace that 
God would be her provider. Therefore, my saying yes when I knew I should say
no would prevent her from experiencing His best provision.

Amazingly, when I called her to explain why this wouldn't work, she was 
giddy with excitement over an apartment she'd found that was right in line 
with
her budget.

God provided. He provided my friend with a great living situation. He 
provided me with another assurance that not every opportunity was meant to 
be my
assignment.

Dear Lord, thank You for providing wisdom whenever we ask for it. Please 
guide me in the decisions I need to make today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 24:3-4,
"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; 
through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." 
(NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Overcome the agony of hard choices by embracing a wisdom-based 
decision-making process in Lysa's new book, The Best Yes: Making Wise 
Decisions in the Midst
of Endless Demands. Although it doesn't release until August 12, you can be 
among the first to pre-order your copy by
clicking here
!

You're invited to join Lysa for the release of her book, The Best Yes! She's 
doing a fun, free webcast on August 12 that you don't want to miss.
Click here
to sign up for the information list.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Think of a decision you need to make in your life right now. Then, run it 
through the 5-question filter Lysa talked about today. Remember to be honest
about your current commitments and resource availability.

© 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

Unqualified
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Culture Editor

It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his 
commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. -
Deuteronomy 13:4

Sometimes I feel like, as a Christian, I’m no good. I have no memory for 
Bible verses, I don’t have any gifts in leadership or preaching, and I’ve 
done
some pretty stupid, not to mention embarrassing, things while trying to 
serve Christ in the past. In moments like these, I try to remember Gladys 
Alyward.

Gladys Alyward was a London-born woman who became a missionary to China in 
the 1930’s. Another missionary named Mrs. Lawson had invited Alyward to 
China,
where the two women would run an inn and tell Bible stories to the passing 
travelers. Lawson and Alyward were the only foreigners in the city, at a 
time
when Europeans were looked on with great distrust by the Chinese, and not 
long after her arrival, Mrs. Lawson suffered a severe fall and died a few 
days
later.

Only a few weeks after Lawson’s death, Alyward was approached by the city’s 
Mandarin. The government had decided to put an end to the ancient practice
of foot-binding, and this meant the government needed a foot-inspector, a 
woman (someone who could invade the women's quarters without scandal) who 
would
patrol the district and enforce the decree. Though Alyward was now running 
the inn by herself, she chose to accept the position and used it to minister
to countless individuals.

A year after that, Alyward was once again summoned by the Mandarin. A riot 
had broken out at a local prison, and Alyward was told to calm it. The 
prison
guards had heard of her strange religion and wanted to put it to the test, 
so Alyward had no choice but to walk into the rampaging prison. To everyone’s
surprise, when Alyward called for the rioting prisoners to stop, they did. 
She told them to select a spokesman for the prisoners whom she could speak 
with,
which again, they did without argument. It turned out the prisoners were 
confined to close quarters all day, with nothing to do and nothing to eat 
but
food sent to them by
family
members. Though prison reform was unheard of at the time, Alyward managed to 
gather equipment the men could use to grind grain, earning them money for
food.

As the years passed, the people of the city gave Alyward the name 
Ai-weh-deh, meaning "Virtuous One." Her inn expanded to become an orphanage 
where she
cared for over 100 children, and when the Japanese threatened to invade in 
WWII, it was she who led the children over the mountains to safety. Alyward
continued to preach the message of Christ all her life until she died in 
1970.

Funny thing about Gladys Alyward: when she first applied to be a missionary, 
she was turned down. The organization she’d applied for considered her 
"unqualified"
to minister in a foreign country.

God loves unqualified Christians. Look at Peter - a day laborer and a 
coward. Look at Matthew, who was a tax collector and an outcast. Look at 
Mary, who
the scripture say Jesus cast twelve demons from. Don’t underestimate what 
Christ can do with your life. Give God one willing Christian, and he can 
change
the face of the world.

Intersecting
Faith
and Life: Do you feel like an unqualified Christian? Don’t feel down; pray 
to God and seek a place where you can serve him.

Further Reading

Romans 12:11


Love Worth Finding Ministries

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Carrying Our Own Burdens

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.”
Psalm 55:22

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
A man was carrying a heavy load of grain down a country road. Another man in 
a wagon being pulled by a horse saw the man walking and said to him, 
“Mister,
you need a ride?” And so the man got in the wagon. But he kept the load of 
grain on his shoulder. The wagon driver said, “Man, put that down and 
relax!”
The rider said, “Oh no. It’s enough for you to carry me without having you 
carry this too.”

Have you ever done that to the Lord? You say, “Lord, I’ll let You save me, 
but I’ll carry my own burdens.” How foolish we are to do this with the God 
who
hung the stars and planets.

ACTION POINT:
If you can trust God to save you from hell, don’t you think you can cast 
your burden upon the Lord right now?

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Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.

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Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:
Isaiah 61:1b,3b "He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to bestow on 
them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of 
mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."
By Answers2Prayer
The Pit Of Despair

Have you ever been in the pit of despair, having lost your way in the fog of 
self-pity and remorse? The other day, I listened to a friend recall how she
felt when lost in the fog of despair and anger. It centered on her son's 
wedding. I will let her tell you what happened.

As I think back to the situation when my life took a downward spin into rage 
and hate, the problem facing us was our oldest son getting married to a girl
17 years his junior. I recall what led up to the wedding, which my husband 
and I were not going to attend because of things said and done. The choice 
of
a girl wasn't something I agreed with, and we didn't talk for some time. It 
was the Christmas before the January wedding when a meeting was set up at 
our
other son's home, and all the cards were put on the table, and we 
reluctantly agreed to attend with reservations. On the wedding day, we were 
told by one
of the attendants that our son's wife had said that the new bride would be 
feeling better if the parents of her husband-to-be were not at the wedding.
Sigh! We did attend though, hiding my feelings.

Nothing was going right, and I couldn't control the situation, no matter how 
hard I tried. I couldn't sleep, and I had continued headaches. My thoughts
of the situation overwhelmed me. I felt weak and helpless. My life was going 
down the wrong thought trail. I was struggling like a fish swimming 
upstream.
I finally fell down on my knees and cried out to God, "I give this situation 
to You, Lord. Please forgive me for trying to control things I have no 
control
over." Then I prayed:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

As I said the Serenity Prayer over and over daily, I totally surrendered to 
God to let Him handle it in His time. As time has gone by, I finally have 
that
sense of peace back. God's Spirit is definitely at work in my life, and I 
leave the rest up to God to oversee my son's life and his relationship with 
his
wife. My burden of being bewildered has passed as I let go and let God do 
His work.

Hearing of my friend's life-giving struggle, I thanked God for His peace 
which was obviously with my friend now, having brought her through a very 
painful
time. Yes, God does send us His peace, as Isaiah said in today's verses. "He 
has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to bestow on them a crown of 
beauty
instead of ashes and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."

We struggle through life with many challenges facing us, and we hit that 
wall and wonder whether we can get over it or through it. Yes, we can, 
through
God and His Son, our Saviour and Redeemer. He is our Rock through life. 
Praise to our Lord!

Prayer: Dear Lord, we believe in You, but we can lose our way in the fog of 
self-contemplation and self-will. We should have called out to You, and when
we finally did, You were there in the fog with a bright light. Please 
forgive us, for You alone are the only One who can truly lead life here on 
earth,
as we walk on with faith and trust. You were always there for us. Thank You, 
dear Lord, for picking us up when we were down. All praise and glory be to
You. Amen.

Iris Ford

Parksville, British Columbia, Canada

Thanks to
PresbyCan Daily Devotional

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Experiencing LIFE Today

“God will never put you in a situation that you can’t handle.” — Unknown

I hear that saying all the time. Sometimes I automatically nod my head 
because it just sounds right, like a plaque on your mom’s fridge. It is 
usually
presented as a concise summary of God’s care for us. The problem is, it isn’t 
true…

We’ve all hit obstacles in our walks that aren’t possible for us to pass. In 
fact, I’d even say that God puts things in our lives that we can’t take care
of on purpose. If we could handle everything on our own, there would be no 
need for us to rely on God, and that’s how we were designed to live!

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, 
having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. —2 Corinthians
9:8.

He is able to empower us.

Because of God’s grace, we are able to do things that we would be unable to 
do on our own. How does that work? I have no idea! I don’t know how it is 
that
He energizes our thoughts or the molecules in our bodies to allow us to 
accomplish things and choose things that we couldn’t without His strength. 
But
we know that He does. And when we obey Him and allow Him to work through us, 
we also experience it.

Father, it’s tough to take on the challenges that I sometimes have to face. 
I don’t want to try it on my own. I’m weak. You are strong. Be my strength.
May others see what You’re doing through me and be amazed by it. Let the 
world know through Your works in me that You are the source of this power! 
Amen.

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

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Spiritual Fruit – Goodness

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, 
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and 
self-control. There is no law against these things!" (
Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

The next part of the fruit which grows through the Holy Spirit is goodness. 
Easton’s Bible Dictionary says that goodness in man is not a mere passive 
quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and 
persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of 
all moral good.

In the Gospels a rich young ruler came to Jesus and ask the good Teacher 
what he must do to be saved.

"So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, 
that is, God." (
Mark 10:18, NKJV)

Jesus was just testing the man as He did a lot in the Gospels. But here we 
find that God is the greatest good. But if we belong to Him then we have the 
Holy Spirit inside of us to grow that goodness in us.

But it is possible to grow our own fruit of goodness but this is not true 
spiritual fruit.

Goodness Not Godliness
Being good is not necessarily being godly. To be godly, though, is good.
A sociology textbook in my library provides an example of goodness that is 
unrelated to godliness. The author describes the high level of cultural 
morality that is found among the Cheyenne, a group of native Americans who 
once lived in central Minnesota and northern South Dakota. These people 
exhibited moderation, dignity, and generosity, and manifested an almost 
unbelievable degree of self-control. Parents loved their children and gave 
them a lot of affection without spoiling them. They also taught them ethical 
values at an early age, so that many of them became dedicated, 
self-sacrificing, and well-behaved human beings. Yet these Indians were not 
Christians.
—Our Daily Bread

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List

10 Ways to Experience More of God’s Presence
Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of 
Alec Rowland’s upcoming book
The Presence: Experiencing More of God
(Tyndale House Publishers, 2014).

God has promised always to be with us, but often we’re not aware of his 
constant presence in our lives. It’s easy to get so caught up in dealing 
with the
demands of daily life that we don’t notice God at all, and we wonder when – 
if ever – we may experience the thrill of encountering him again.

The good news is that God loves to be close to us and wants us to know him 
better. If you long to experience more of God’s presence, you can take steps
that will lead you closer to him, inviting him to make his presence known 
more strongly in your life. Here’s how:

Choose adventure over safety. Accept the fact that there’s nothing safe 
about pursuing God and decide to take whatever risks you need to take in 
order
to experience the blessing of getting closer to God. Be willing to have God 
turn your life upside down, reshape your values and redirect your energy. 
Rather
than trying to stay inside your comfort zones, be open to saying “yes” to 
God whenever he calls you to follow him on adventures. Expect encounters 
with
God that inspire awe and wonder in you.

Pursue revival. The definition of revival is: “the overwhelming sense of God’s 
presence that falls powerfully on a Christian people who have become dead
and lethargic in their spiritual lives, reviving those elements of the 
Christian life that God intends to be normal for his church.” You may have 
heard
about revivals in history or on the news that affect whole churches or 
entire geographic areas. Keep in mind that large-scale revivals start when 
individual
people pursue fresh encounters with God. The signs of revival include: 
repenting of sin, worshiping and obeying God with joy, experiencing a new 
love for
fellow believers that restores broken relationships, using ministry gifts 
both inside and outside of the church, and witnessing about God to 
unbelievers
who then come to
faith
in God themselves.

Instead of trying to make a tangible encounter with God happen, prepare 
yourself for when God decides manifest his presence to you. The constant 
presence
of God around you (and within you, in the form of the Holy Spirit, if you’re 
a believer) that you may or may not sense is his essential presence, while
the tangible encounters with God that capture your attention are his 
manifest presence. You can’t convince God to show you his manifest presence 
whenever
and however you’d like, no matter how hard you may try or how faithful you 
may be. God shows up on his terms only, according to his own wisdom and 
purposes.
But you can prepare yourself for encountering God’s presence in the future 
by making your relationship with God your top priority in life and investing
it in regularly (such as through
prayer,
Bible reading, and service), so you’ll grow closer to God and invite him to 
reach out to you more. Cultivating your life for God’s presence isn’t about
your own effort as much as it is about responding to God’s initiatives of 
love and grace so you’ll be in the right place at the right time, and in the
right soul condition, when God shows up.

Expect to encounter God. Supernatural encounters with God aren’t actually 
rare; God manifests his presence through the Holy Spirit in tangible ways 
every
day to various people on Earth. So expect to encounter God through his 
Spirit in a way that you can powerfully sense, whenever God decides that it’s 
the
right time and place to show up in your life that way.

Remember, repent, and return. Remember the passion you felt for God when you 
first began a relationship with him, and let that motivate you to repent of
your sins afresh and return your relationship with God to first place in 
your heart.

Draw near to God with confidence, yet never be flippant about approaching 
him. Keep in mind that God invites you to come close to him and welcomes you
with great love, but he is also completely holy and all-powerful, so you 
should always approach God with the reverence and respect that he deserves.

Let go of whatever is distracting you from giving God your full attention. 
Remove distractions from your life so you can experience God to the fullest.
Confess and repent of sin in your life regularly, since sin interferes with 
your ability to perceive God’s presence and grow closer to him. Turn your 
worries
into prayers, so anxiety won’t crowd a focus on God out of your mind.

Open both your head and your heart to the Holy Spirit’s work. Pursue getting 
to know God better through the Holy Spirit’s work in both your mind (such
as guiding you when you’re studying the Bible) and in your personal 
experiences (such as touching your emotions through a tangible encounter 
that makes
you more hungry for God).

Test your experiences to discern whether or not they’re truly encounters 
with God. It’s important to ask the Holy Spirit to help you evaluate 
personal
experiences that you think may be bringing you into contact with God’s 
manifest presence, rather than simply assuming that a thrilling spiritual 
experience
really originates with God – because the evil side of the spiritual realm 
sometimes tries to deceive believers into thinking that God is communicating
with them in ways that are dramatic but ultimately lead to confusion. To 
discern if a specific experience is truly from God, ask: “Does it have 
clear,
telltale marks of being from the God whose nature the Bible reveals?”, “Is 
it in line with biblical principles?”, “Does it make me want more of God, or
simply more of the experience?”, “Does it make me more selfless, or more 
selfish?” and “Am I teachable and open to correction as I consider the 
meaning
of this experience?”

Let God’s presence transform you. Always remember that God’s presence isn’t 
simply for you to enjoy; it’s meant to inspire you to open yourself up in 
deeper
ways to the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work of transforming you into the person 
God wants you to become.

Adapted from
The Presence: Experiencing More of God,
copyright 2014 by Alec Rowlands. Published by Tyndale Momentum, a division 
of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Ill.,
www.tyndale.com.

Alec Rowlands is currently the senior pastor of
Westgate Chapel,
in Edmonds, Washington, a non-denominational, multi-ethnic congregation of 
more than 2,000 members that has experienced spiritual renewal since 1992. 
Alec,
and his wife, Rita, have been married for 44 years and have two married 
daughters who live in Edmonds and are active in Westgate Chapel with their 
husbands
and children. Alec's academic interests are discipleship and historical 
revivals. He has a bachelor's degree from Wittenberg University in geography 
and
education, a master's in urban studies from Miami University of Ohio, and a 
master's in biblical literature from the Assemblies of God Theological 
Seminary.
Alec completed his doctorate of ministry at Carey Theological College, 
University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, BC.

Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for 
many years, is author of the Christian novel
Dream Factory,
which is set during Hollywood's golden age. Follow her on Twitter 
@WhitneyHopler.
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Welcome to the Nugget
July 26, 2014
Blinded Eyes
By Answers2Prayer
Have you ever wondered why our efforts at evangelism don't always have their 
desired effects? Why the world doesn't embrace the gospel message?

The answer is actually quite simple: "But even if our gospel is veiled, it 
is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has 
blinded..."
(2Cor 4:3 NKJV). The world doesn't embrace the gospel because they have been 
blinded by the devil.

But why would God allow the devil to blind their eyes?

We get a bit more insight into the blinding of eyes issue in the book of 
Psalms. Consider the following text: "Their idols...have mouths, but they do 
not
speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not 
hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; They have hands, but they do
not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through 
their throat. Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts
in them." (Ps 115:4-8, NKJV)

In other words, when we put our trust in idols, we become like them: blind, 
deaf, void of all senses! The devil, then, doesn't specifically "blind" 
eyes;
instead he lures us into trusting idols, fully knowing that this will dull 
all of our senses!

To illustrate this, please consider my dog. She is loyal, loving and 
obedient. In fact, she only has one irritating trait: Whenever her nose is 
engaged,
her ears become blocked. Her attention becomes so completely taken up by 
whatever odor she is sniffing that there is no concentration left over to 
even
recognize that someone is calling her.

In much the same way, when we put our trust in idols, our attention becomes 
so completely taken up with the idol that there is no room left over to hear
God's voice, let alone recognize Truth!

Wait. We don't worship idols in our day and age!

Or do we?

Let's look at the last verse of the above passage from Psalms: "So is 
everyone who trusts in them." (Ps 115:8, NKJV).

This would suggest that anything we put our trust in can become an idol. 
Most of us have many things in our lives that we trust. We trust people, our 
churches,
our pastors, we trust our jobs, our cars, our neighbors, we trust our own 
intuition and logic, and mostly, we put trust ourselves and our own ability 
to
handle things!

Why do most non-Christians have such a hard time understanding the gospel 
message? Because they have trusted in their own religions for so long that 
their
eyes have become blinded to the Truth!

Why is it that most Christians have so many problems resting in Jesus? 
Because we have put our trust in other things for so long that our eyes have 
become
blinded to Truth!

Why is it so difficult to hear God's voice? Because we've trusted in our own 
"intuition," our own
"logic" for so long that we've become deafened to the voice of God!

There is only one way for me to ensure that my dog will always pay 
attention: I must ensure there are no odors to sniff--which, incidentally, 
isn't possible.
The good news is that we can ensure that our attention is not taken up with 
idols. All we have to do is put our trust in God for all things. We need to
lay aside logic. We need to stop trusting that our kids, our spouses or our 
friends will come through for us. We need to stop trusting our jobs for our
incomes. We need to stop trusting that our churches feed us Truth. Instead, 
we need to put our trust in God and Him alone. Only then will we be able to
hear His voice and see where He is at work around us.

Prayer: Father, reveal to us where we have made something of this world into 
an idol. Help us to stop trusting in anything other than You, for in so 
doing,
You will open our blind eyes and unstop our deafened ears!

In His love,
Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, 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.

Announcement:

Talents: Everyone has them, yet not everyone uses them. Join us for the next 
two Saturdays to see what Jesus has to say about talents in "Sowing Your 
Talents:"
A Mini-series by Lyn Chaffart.

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

Turning Point
Tuesday, July 29

By Faith

For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7

Recommended Reading
2 Corinthians 5:1-8
William Sangster began pastoring London's Westminster Central Hall just as 
World War II broke out. His courageous ministry, powerful evangelism, and 
undying
optimism helped keep London alive for Christ even in her darkest hours. 
After the war, Sangster was diagnosed with progressive muscular atrophy. His 
condition
deteriorated until he was virtually paralyzed. But his attitude never 
faltered. He told others that he had made four rules for himself at the 
outset of
his illness: "(1) I will never complain; (2) I will keep the home bright; 
(3) I will count my blessings; (4) I will try to turn it to gain."

Things don't always go as we'd wish, and we often don't have all the 
information we desire. Such times aren't just testing times; they are 
trusting times.
The Bible tells us to walk by faith and not by sight, for without faith it 
is impossible to please Him. Those who come to God must believe that He is,
and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. (2 Corinthians 5:7; 
Hebrews 11:6)

Let's adopt Sangster’s rules as our own. In times like these, it's critical 
to have faith in God and to trust every word of His every promise.

There have been great gains already from my sickness. I live in the present. 
I am grateful for little things. I have more time -- and use it -- for 
prayer.

William Sangster

The Fruits of Worship

Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit 
of our lips giving thanks to His name. - Hebrews 13:15

Did you know that there will be many times that you will not "feel" like 
worshiping? Perhaps you have had so many disappointing experiences in the 
past
that you think it is hardly worth it because there is such a low sense of 
the power of God. Even so, you still need to offer the sacrifice of worship 
to
God.

The sacrifice of worship gets offered to God himself. It is vital that you 
join other saints to amplify your worship. When we are gathered for genuine
worship, we are like a heap of burning coals encouraging one another to 
warmth of love and devotion. One log by itself cannot burn for very long, 
but when
many logs are put together, even if they are poor logs, they can make quite 
a fire. Remember the counsel of
Proverbs 27:17
that iron sharpens iron. Even rather dull lives can help each other if they 
are willing to try.

Go to church-even if you do not feel like it.
Go to church-even if worship has been discouraging and dry before.
Go to church-praying.
Go to church-expecting.
Go to church-looking for God to do a new and living work among you as His 
family.

The sacrifice of worship deepens repentance. Resentments cannot be held with 
the same tenacity when we enter His gracious light. As Jesus says, if we 
have
broken fellowship with another person, we need to leave our gift at the 
altar and go set the matter straight. Christ is very explicit about this: 
"If you
bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has 
something against you, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and 
offer your
gift"
(Matthew 5:23-24).
In worship, an increased power steals its way into the heart sanctuary and 
an increased compassion grows in the soul.

The sacrifice of worship bears the fruit of obedience. Just as worship 
begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience. If worship does not 
propel
us into greater obedience, it has not been worship. To stand before the Holy 
One of eternity is to change: Rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no 
confidence
in the flesh
(Philippians 3:3).

The sacrifice of worship widens our ministry. Holy Spirit-prompted ministry 
saves worship from becoming an escape from the pressing needs of the real 
people
around us. Worship enables us to hear the call to service clearly so that we 
respond like Isaiah. When Isaiah had the vision of our majestic, holy, and
righteous God sitting on His throne, full of all His glory, he was instantly 
brought to his knees with a sense of his total unworthiness (see
Isaiah 6:1-8).
He was humbled; there was no more room for pride. His worship of the Most 
High God produced repentance, obedience, and finally, ministry, as he cried 
out,
"Here I am, Lord! Send me!" Though still very conscious of his sin, he had 
been prepared to serve anywhere, anytime, anyhow, or anyway God directed 
because
he was completely submitted to God's will.

How would you evaluate your worship? Are you sensing that God is preparing 
you to serve anywhere, anytime, anyhow, or anyway as He directs? Are you 
willing
to submit to that will?

To continue reading this message, please
click here.
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For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit
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PresbyCan Daily Devotional
Sunday, July 27, 2014

Today's Devotional

Those Secret Moments

Though I was young and inexperienced, I was appointed to be responsible for 
the evening talk. There would be a fairly large group. Oh, how I agonized 
over
that presentation, praying that the subject would be appropriate for those 
in attendance. (I have since learned that it is the gracious Holy Spirit Who
interprets the Word to those listening, according to their need.) Just 
before I stood up at the pulpit, the guest soloist sang that lovely old song 
that
begins, "There were ninety and nine that safely lay in the shelter of the 
fold." My talk was entitled "The Lost Sheep". The guest soloist did not have
any idea of the contents of my presentation, nor I the title of her solo. My 
heavenly Father had it all arranged — He knew that the desire of my heart,
even in my inexperience, was in some small way to serve Him.

Isaiah 65:24 – It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; 
and while they are yet still speaking, I will hear. (NKJV)

So many gifted writers have put the basis of these thoughts into rhyme so 
that we may retain the meaning of the words more easily in our memory. I 
think
of one hymnist, George Bennard, who has given the Christian world so many 
hymns, especially "The Old Rugged Cross". The last verse of one hymn in 
particular
puts prayer into perhaps a new perspective:

God answers prayer in times of trial;
God answers prayer when all seems dark;
God answers prayer, He'll safely guide you,
He loves and knows the way you take.

What a tremendous promise today's Scripture verse is to the timid and even 
to the undecided people who come to our God with great needs upon their 
heart.
It assures us that our God is not only aware of our needs but already has 
the answer.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank You for those precious moments when Your 
actions reveal that we are at one with You in our decisions, in our actions,
in our words, yes, and in our quiet times. May our lives reflect a little of 
Your character as we live in the world which You have chosen for us. We pray
in the name of Your Son and our Redeemer, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Vena Pool
Sandycove Acres, Innisfil, Ontario, Canada
Thought for Today: No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand in
the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our
Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and
authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25

The Doorman
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Culture Editor

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you 
rest." -
Matthew 11:28

Once upon a time, there lived a wise and righteous king who cared deeply for 
his people. In order to ensure that his kingdom prospered, the king summoned
one of his servants and gave him this decree,

"Go and stand at the door of the palace. If someone comes and asks to see 
me, open the door and allow them in so I may speak with them."

So the servant went and did as the king commanded. People came from far and 
wide to see the king. Some were rich men, some were great scholars, others
were from noble families, and when they asked to see the king the doorman 
gave them entry. Then one day a poor beggar came to the palace door and 
asked
to see the king. The doorman looked him over and frowned.

The beggar's clothes were dirty and torn, he wore no shoes and was 
unpleasant to look at.

"Surely my king would not wish to meet with such a man as this," the doorman 
said to himself, and turned the beggar away. Soon the doorman began turning
others away; people he deemed too poor, or too sick, or too strange. When 
the king discovered what was being done he summoned the doorman to him.

"Why have you been turning people away from the palace?" the king demanded 
angrily. The doorman was surprised and replied meekly, "My king, I was only
performing the duty you gave me."

"Your duty was to open the door for those who would see me," said the king, 
"not decide if they were worthy to do so."

It's unfortunate when we behave like the doorman in this story. We style 
ourselves the "Watchmen on the Wall," and if we see someone who doesn't 
quite
fit our definition of worthy, we slam the door in his or her face. But God's 
grace is not ours to give away, and true forgiveness belongs to Christ 
alone.
Our job is to open the door that leads to Christ, through
prayer,
through friendship, and through service. Remember, we all stand on equal 
footing at the door of Christ's mercy.

Intersecting
Faith
and Life: Have you been turning away people who are looking for God? Or 
lighting the way to the narrow path? Take some time to consider.

Further Reading

Luke 14:15-24


Women of the Bible Header

Huldah

Her name means: "Weasel"

Her character: Trusted by the king with a matter of great importance, she 
was a prophetess whose word ignited a significant religious reform.
Her sorrow: That God's people refused to respond to him with loving 
obedience, ignoring repeated warnings about the consequences of their 
unfaithfulness.
Her joy: As a prophetess, she was privileged to be a messenger of God.
Key Scriptures:
2 Kings 22:14-20
;
2 Chronicles 34:22-33

Her Story

She pressed the leather scroll against her breast, as though cradling a 
living being. The high priest, Hilkiah, and several other men of Jerusalem 
stood
before her. King Josiah wanted to know—would the words of the Book of the 
Law, which Hilkiah had just discovered in the temple, come to pass?

Holding the scroll by its wooden handles, she unrolled it carefully and 
began reading:

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God 
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength…. Fear
the Lord your God, serve him only, and take your oaths in his name. Do not 
follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your 
God,
who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and 
he will destroy you from the face of the land" (
Deuteronomy 6:4-5,
13-15).

"Cursed in the city and cursed in the country … sudden ruin because of what 
you have done … wasting disease … madness, blindness and confusion … an 
object
of scorn and ridicule to all the nations … because you did not obey the Lord 
your God" (cf.
Deuteronomy 28:15-68).

Though her voice was steady, Huldah's throat felt sore from the effort of 
speaking such words aloud, terrible threats that made her eyes well over, 
warnings
that spawned vision upon vision from the past. In her mind, she watched as 
Judah's kings Ahaz and Manasseh sacrificed their sons to pagan deities. She
saw the smoke of incense rising before pagan idols in the temple. She looked 
on as prophets were murdered, as diviners and sorcerers were honored, as 
kings
bowed down to the stars and the people followed suit, prostituting 
themselves to false gods and spurning the advances of the Almighty. She saw 
the children
of Israel marching in chains from the land of milk and honey. Her face 
flushed as a burning sensation rushed through her body and searing words 
spilled
from her lips:

"This is what the Lord says: 'I am going to bring disaster on this place and 
its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah
has read. Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and 
provoked me to anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will
burn against this place and will not be quenched.' Tell the king of Judah, 
who sent you to inquire of the Lord: 'Because your heart was responsive and
you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken 
against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid 
waste,
and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, 
declares the Lord. Therefore I will gather you to your fathers, and you will
be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to 
bring on this place.' "

Huldah is one of only four women with an authentic prophetic ministry 
mentioned in the Old Testament (along with Miriam, Deborah, and Isaiah's 
wife). Though
prophets like Jeremiah and Zephaniah were also active at the time, King 
Josiah consulted Huldah about the amazing discovery of the Book of the Law 
(material
that probably forms the core of the book of Deuteronomy).

Beyond the brief scene imaginatively retold above, we know little of her 
story—only that God entrusted her with his word in a time of national 
crisis.
A hundred years earlier, Judah had witnessed God's punishment of the 
northern kingdom. Faithless Israel had been led captive to Assyria, just as 
the prophets
had warned. Huldah surely knew the sordid details. She could not have missed 
its frightening significance for Judah. She may also have endured part of
Manasseh's fifty-five-year reign, the longest and worst of any king in 
Judah. Certainly, she would have been heartened by the recent reforms of 
King Josiah—his
attempts to restore the temple though the people had all but forgotten God.

But her words of prophecy confirmed the king's fear. Judah was standing on a 
precipice. God was a jealous lover who blessed those who loved and obeyed
him and cursed those who did not. Across the centuries, his slow anger was 
building to a fiery crescendo. Judah's infidelities had not gone unnoticed.

After Huldah's prophecy, Josiah led one of the greatest religious reforms in 
history, purging Judah and even parts of Israel of paganism. But the kings
who followed him soon reversed course, leading the people astray once again. 
Thirty-five years after Huldah's prophecy, Judah was taken in chains to 
Babylon
and all of its cities were destroyed.

The magnificent kingdom of David and Solomon had come to an end. But though 
every other nation captured by Assyria and Babylon ceased to exist, Israel
still had a future. Chastened, it was never destroyed. Disciplined, it was 
never forsaken. All because God still loved his people.

The words of Isaiah, a prophet who preceded Huldah by a few decades, 
proclaimed a future day of restoration: "They will rebuild the ancient ruins 
and restore
the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities…. Instead of 
their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace
they will rejoice in their inheritance" (
Isaiah 61:4,
7).

Judgment and mercy, law and grace, punishment and salvation—these are the 
tensions that characterize the story of God's love affair with his people. 
Huldah
was a woman who understood the paradox and who was not afraid to proclaim 
the truth, even to a king. Her words must have cost her, but she spoke them 
anyway.
She cherished God's word in a time of spiritual crisis.

Her Promise

The story of Huldah and her words to the king illustrate the contrast 
between God's judgment and his mercy. He judges those who deserve his 
punishment,
but he quickly forgives those who repent. In fact, he is eager to forgive, 
waiting only for us to come to him in repentance.

Today's devotional is drawn from
Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture
by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Visit
AnnSpangler.com
to learn more about Ann's writing and ministry.

ADVERTISEMENT

Today's reading is drawn from Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda's devotional
Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture.

Available at the Bible Gateway store!

Devotions by Christine Caine - Undaunted

Read
1 Peter 4:10–11

God has given each of us gifts with which to serve others.

No Excuses Please

I’ll never forget receiving a letter from the dean of the school of social 
work at a prestigious university, implying that I was unqualified to work 
with
young people. At the time, I was directing a thriving youth program. To work 
long-term in youth services, though, the dean said I needed formal training.

Surely he’s right, I thought. I’m technically unqualified to do the very 
thing I’m doing. I considered submitting my resignation. Yet something 
inside
me said, No, don’t quit. And for fourteen years after receiving that letter, 
I worked full-time with youth, and now I work to rescue young people from
the injustice of human trafficking. To the world, I looked unqualified. But 
God cared more about my willingness than my qualifications.

There are many roles in God’s kingdom for which one must be uniquely gifted. 
Music and art for example. We should be sensitive to the possibility, if we
lack those gifts, that God may be leading us in a different direction. But 
once we find that direction, we must not allow ourselves to be deterred.

Abraham was old (
Genesis 17:1
;
24:1),
Sarah was impatient (
Genesis 16),
Noah got drunk (
Genesis 25–27),
Miriam was a gossiper (
Numbers 12:1–2,
Jacob was a cheater (
Genesis 25–27),
Jonah ran away (
Jonah 1:3),
David had an affair (
2 Samuel 11–12),
Elijah was moody—one minute bold and courageous and the next fearful and on 
the run (
1 Kings 18–19),
Peter had a temper (
John 18:10),
Paul was a persecutor (
Acts 8:3
;
9:1-2),
Martha was a worrier (
Luke 10:40–41),
Thomas doubted (
John 20:24–26),
Zacchaeus was short (
Luke 19:3),
and Lazarus was dead (
John 11:14–44).
But God had a purpose for each of these people. He chose them. He qualified 
them. He called them, just as he is calling you and me—to go and do in his
name. And when he calls us, the name he calls us by is the one he used in 
the very beginning—good
(Genesis 1:26–28
;
2:20–23).

I have no doubt that nearly everyone has been called by God at some time in 
the mot-too-distant past for a task that took them outside their comfort 
zone—maybe
way outside. We may have felt like Moses did: “Lord, I’m not eloquent.” But 
that’s how God works. He chooses each of us to do something for him despite
our past failures, limitations, and inadequacies.

Point to Ponder

Has God been urging you to step out of your comfort zone and into the 
calling he planned and equipped you for even before you were born? Can you 
put away
your excuses and do as he asks?

ADVERTISEMENT

Undaunted by Christine Caine
Today's reading is adapted from
Undaunted: Daring to Do What God Calls You to Do
by Christine Caine. Available in softcover, audio, ebook, and Spanish 
editions.

Buy your copy now at the Bible Gateway Store!

Unqualified
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Culture Editor

It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his 
commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. -
Deuteronomy 13:4

Sometimes I feel like, as a Christian, I’m no good. I have no memory for 
Bible verses, I don’t have any gifts in leadership or preaching, and I’ve 
done
some pretty stupid, not to mention embarrassing, things while trying to 
serve Christ in the past. In moments like these, I try to remember Gladys 
Alyward.

Gladys Alyward was a London-born woman who became a missionary to China in 
the 1930’s. Another missionary named Mrs. Lawson had invited Alyward to 
China,
where the two women would run an inn and tell Bible stories to the passing 
travelers. Lawson and Alyward were the only foreigners in the city, at a 
time
when Europeans were looked on with great distrust by the Chinese, and not 
long after her arrival, Mrs. Lawson suffered a severe fall and died a few 
days
later.

Only a few weeks after Lawson’s death, Alyward was approached by the city’s 
Mandarin. The government had decided to put an end to the ancient practice
of foot-binding, and this meant the government needed a foot-inspector, a 
woman (someone who could invade the women's quarters without scandal) who 
would
patrol the district and enforce the decree. Though Alyward was now running 
the inn by herself, she chose to accept the position and used it to minister
to countless individuals.

A year after that, Alyward was once again summoned by the Mandarin. A riot 
had broken out at a local prison, and Alyward was told to calm it. The 
prison
guards had heard of her strange religion and wanted to put it to the test, 
so Alyward had no choice but to walk into the rampaging prison. To everyone’s
surprise, when Alyward called for the rioting prisoners to stop, they did. 
She told them to select a spokesman for the prisoners whom she could speak 
with,
which again, they did without argument. It turned out the prisoners were 
confined to close quarters all day, with nothing to do and nothing to eat 
but
food sent to them by
family
members. Though prison reform was unheard of at the time, Alyward managed to 
gather equipment the men could use to grind grain, earning them money for
food.

As the years passed, the people of the city gave Alyward the name 
Ai-weh-deh, meaning "Virtuous One." Her inn expanded to become an orphanage 
where she
cared for over 100 children, and when the Japanese threatened to invade in 
WWII, it was she who led the children over the mountains to safety. Alyward
continued to preach the message of Christ all her life until she died in 
1970.

Funny thing about Gladys Alyward: when she first applied to be a missionary, 
she was turned down. The organization she’d applied for considered her 
"unqualified"
to minister in a foreign country.

God loves unqualified Christians. Look at Peter - a day laborer and a 
coward. Look at Matthew, who was a tax collector and an outcast. Look at 
Mary, who
the scripture say Jesus cast twelve demons from. Don’t underestimate what 
Christ can do with your life. Give God one willing Christian, and he can 
change
the face of the world.

Intersecting
Faith
and Life: Do you feel like an unqualified Christian? Don’t feel down; pray 
to God and seek a place where you can serve him.

Further Reading
Romans 12:11

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

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Far East Broadcasting (FEBC) For the Zhuang
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Far East Broadcasting (FEBC) For the Zhuang
Jul 31, 2014 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Acts 3:1 (NIV) "One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the 
time of prayer-at three in the afternoon."

Peter shared Christ with all kinds of Jewish people in Jerusalem, and they 
embraced whoever wanted to hear the truth. Extraction evangelism (i.e., 
removing
individuals from their communities in such a way that they have to lose 
existing relationships) has been the common Western missionary method for 
two centuries.
But in Bible times, it was much more common for God’s message to be given to 
the leaders of each people group. Messengers are now rediscovering God’s 
ability
to lead them to “men of peace” with the authority to receive and enable the 
good news to be welcomed into their whole family and tribe!

Pray that God will prepare Chinese believers to reach out to leaders among 
the Zhuang peoples.

Today's People Group

Datian found a radio station that played something in his own dialect of 
Zhuang! He was used to hearing Mandarin, so this was a special treat. “Satan 
comes
to kill, steal, and destroy, but I come that you may have life to the full.” 
Datian had never heard such a thing! Who was this about? Could it be true
that there was someone who could give him a full and happy life?

Datian had just tuned into FEBC radio. Though there are 13 main Zhuang 
dialects, 90 percent of these people speak two of them. With the help of 
local believers,
FEBC is producing broadcasts for some of these Zhuang people that will give 
them hope in Christ.

FEBC is currently working on a project that will result in having past 
Zhuang programs collected onto a miniature SD memory card for distribution. 
These
cards can play lots of content on MP3 players and mobile phones, which are 
very common among the Zhuangs, even in remote regions.

Pray for the Lord to throw open the doors for these materials to become 
available to all the Zhuang people groups. Pray for distribution efforts; 
government
officials are suspicious of people distributing materials if they don’t know 
the content of them. Pray for workers to be wise as serpents and harmless
as doves. Pray for FEBC to be able to produce materials in the two largest 
Zhuang dialects. Pray for God to provide security for those secretly 
recording
program materials.

Learn more at
Joshua Project, read more
Like Far East Broadcasting (FEBC) For the Zhuang on Facebook
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Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

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

By Answers2Prayer

Boasting in God! Radical Grace from the Book of Romans (5:8-11)

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still 
sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, 
how
much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, while we 
were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son,
how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 
Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received reconciliation." (Rom 5:8-11, NIV2)

A few months ago, we heard of an eight-year-old boy named Tyler who without 
hesitation, came to the rescue of his family who was in danger. Early in the
morning a fire erupted in his grandfather's trailer, where 9 family members, 
including Tyler, resided. Somehow this young lad woke up in time to realize
that they were all in danger. He quickly got out of bed and was able to wake 
up six people who all escaped safely, except for one who had second degree
burns. Happy that these were safe, he realized that his grandfather, who was 
unable to get out of bed by himself, as well as his uncle, who was missing
part of a leg, needed help to get out of the trailer.

Even though flames were erupting throughout the trailer, he never hesitated 
to go to the rescue of his grandfather and uncle. Sadly, he never made out.
He succumbed to heat and smoke. His body was found near his grandfather's.

Tyler's unselfishness saved the lives of six people. He became the hero not 
only of these six people, but of his entire town and nation as well. He made
the news throughout the world and everyone reading about this hero stood in 
awe.

I can't imagine what his parents must be going through. Deep down they must 
miss him terribly. Still, his bravery will stay with them for life. They 
can't
help but be proud of their son.

We, too, were facing certain death due to the fact that we have erred, we've 
pushed ourselves away from the Source of life, God Himself. We were so 
self-centered
that we didn't even realize what we really needed. Our wants seemed to 
dominate us into submission. We were completely lost without any hope.

At the right time, the Son of God came to our rescue from the fires of hell. 
Unselfishly He gave His life so that we could live forever. He has become
our hero. We can't help but boast in Him. After all, who else would have 
come through for us? I know of no one else who would willingly die for us 
while
we are his enemies. That's real love, a love beyond imagination, a love that 
Tyler also demonstrated by putting others first in his life.

May we all be motivated by the love from above and reach out to those who 
are hopeless. They too need a Savior who will rock their lives. May we be as
unselfish as this young lad by working to rescue people from the hell they 
are living in. Yes, bravery will need to be our companion, but we are not 
alone
in this. Our Savior will give us the strength.

This world is on fire. What will we do about it?

Rob Chaffart
Announcement:

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

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

Spiritual Fruit – Kindness

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, 
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and 
self-control. There is no law against these things!" (
Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

The next part of the fruit which grows through the Holy Spirit and from love 
is kindness. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love is kind. So to truly be 
kind we must have the love of God in us.

In the Old Testament God tells us to be kind to all, especially the 
downtrodden:

"He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of 
you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your 
God?" (Micah 6:8, NRSV)

"Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy 
to one another;" (Zechariah 7:9, NRSV)

If we have the true fruit of the Holy Spirit we will show kindness to all 
only because that is what God expects of us. But some people grow their own 
fruit of kindness. How many people are only kind to others if they are 
noticed or if they can receive something in return? If one has other motives 
for showing kindness other than living out the life God wants us to live 
then they are growing their own fruit.

You do not have to do anything big to show kindness as seen by the story of 
Leo Tolstoy:

Tolstoy, the great Russian writer, was passing along a street one day when a 
beggar stopped him and pleaded for alms. The great Russian searched through 
his pockets for a coin, but finding none he regretfully said, “Please don’t 
be angry with me, my brother, but I have nothing with me. If I did I would 
gladly give it to you.”
The beggar’s face flamed up, and he said, “You have given me more than I 
asked for. You have called me brother.”
—Evangelistic Illustration

by Dean W. Masters
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A Vision for the Arts
Dr. James Emery White

*Editors Note: Before he left on his summer study break, the director of the 
Arts team at Mecklenburg Community Church (Meck), Kristina Gray, asked Dr.
White if he would tape a message for a gathering of artists they were 
planning later that summer. Unscripted and in a single take, he shared from 
his heart
in a way that ended up deeply moving the arts community at Meck. We thought 
you would enjoy reading the transcript of what Dr. White recorded.

Kristina asked me to bring a word to you, as part of the arts team, and left 
it wide open for whatever I wanted to say. But really to encourage you and
let you know how much I appreciate you and…so…that was an easy assignment.

You know, back even before Meck got started one of the aspects of the 
founding vision was that it would be a community of artists and that the 
arts would
be celebrated, would be put forward, would be used.

There was an old, old, old song called “Why Should the Devil Have all the 
Good Music?” and there is a sense where the church used to be the patron of 
the
arts. All the way through the Middle Ages and such.

And then somewhere along the line we kind of got screwed up and we began to 
give the arts back to the world. And the church got stripped of it and it 
became
just four walls and a Bible.

Well, four walls and a Bible is fine but we lost all of the arts: we lost 
dance, we lost music, we lost painting, we lost the aesthetics that are done
with lighting and sound. We lost the arts – it’s like we gave it away.

And yet the arts are arguably (in terms of film, video and all that) the 
strongest way to convey a message to our world today. More so now than ever.

In my book, The Rise of the Nones, I talk about how there’s a shift (and I’m 
not alone in this) in our culture back to the Medieval in some ways. In the
Medieval era people were spiritually illiterate, paganism abounded, they 
were biblically illiterate; and because of that, there needed to be new ways 
to
reach them.

And so what you find in the great cathedrals throughout Europe is extensive 
use of stained glass. And when you see the stained glass it tells the story
– sometimes all the way from creation through the end of time. Because that 
was the only way people could “get it.” And I’ve argued that I think that 
the
arts today is the stained glass of the church.

You tell the story in a way that people who are spiritually and biblically 
illiterate “get it.” Through video, through a song, through light, through 
dance,
through drama, through…well the arts are almost limitless.

That’s how it’s gonna happen.

And I tell you, you sneak past the defenses of the heart a lot quicker and 
easier than I ever will. And the other thing that you do is that even if 
that’s
not the task at hand for that particular day or service, by the time you get 
through doing what you do collectively, I’ve often likened it to moving the
ball all the way down the field to the 2 yard line. And then when I get the 
ball at the 2 yard line almost any idiot can score from there.

And so you’re the ones that moved it down the field that far. And I so 
appreciate you.

And I’ll tell you something else that I love about our team: I travel a lot 
and I see a lot of artists, a lot of named artists, and it can be 
disillusioning.
And I’ve been in a lot of churches and seen what the artist community is 
like; and I’m so proud of our team. So proud of how Kristina has led and 
others
have led but here’s what I love:

We have always valued character over talent.

Now, I would put our talent against anybody. But that’s not what matters 
most to us. And so when I can be sitting there in a service or rehearsal, 
and
I see somebody at a camera or somebody singing a song or somebody in a sound 
booth and I know they walk with Christ;

…and I know they have a character of humility;

…and I know they’ve got a towel draped over their arm;

…and I know they gave up time from work or whatever to be there;

…and I know that when they’re singing those words or doing whatever it is 
that they’re doing that it’s sincere and authentic;

…and when I see somebody doing drums;

…and I know that they’re drumming for Jesus;

…I mean, I know it;

Oh my gosh.

That’s what really makes something anointed. That’s when I think that God 
gives it a special dose of His presence. I think it’s one of the reasons we’re
growing so fast and changing so many lives. It’s why you can walk out of 
every baptism service and you can see all those people being baptized and 
you
can feel like that’s the fruit of your labor.

Because it is.

It’s the fruit of all of our labor and nobody’s more important than somebody 
else. I mean the person who’s fixing the sound or on the camera or doing the
lights or putting up the chairs are just as important as the person singing 
the solo or doing the guitar rip.

And the other thing I love about you is that you know that too. It really is 
a team. It’s community.

So…I’m proud of you. I’m so glad we’re doing this together. So glad for the 
creativity and the freedom we’re all giving each other. And so glad that God
is honoring it by changing so many lives.

So that’s all I really have to say. But I for one, am really proud of you. 
So thanks for letting me talk.

James Emery White

Editor’s Note

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


Women of the Bible Header

Athaliah and Jehosheba
ATHALIAH

Her name means: "The Lord Is Great"

Her character: Granddaughter of Omri, one of Israel's most idolatrous and 
evil kings, she was the daughter of Ahab and most likely of Jezebel as well.
She was the only woman to rule over Judah. While Ahab and Jezebel spread 
Baal worship in the northern kingdom of Israel, Athaliah was busy promoting 
it
a few years later in the southern kingdom of Judah. Controlled by her need 
for power, she murdered her own family members to secure it.
Her sorrow: That her attempt to destroy the royal line of Judah failed.
Her joy: That her ruthlessness paid off, at least for a time, making her the 
ruler of Judah.
Key Scriptures:
2 Kings 11
;
2 Chronicles 22
;
23:11-21

JEHOSHEBA

Her name means: "The Lord Is Great"

Her character: A princess and the wife of the high priest, she was a 
courageous woman whose actions preserved the line of Judah, from which the 
Messiah
would come.
Her sorrow: To have endured Athaliah's reign in Judah and to have suffered 
the loss of many of her nephews at the queen's hand.
Her joy: To have preserved the life of her brother's youngest son, Joash, so 
that he could become the rightful king of Judah.
Key Scriptures:
2 Kings 11:2
;
2 Chronicles 22:11

Their Story

Wicked queens are the stuff of fairy tales. Remember the snow queen in the 
tales of Hans Christian Andersen, or the evil queen in The Lion, the Witch 
and
the Wardrobe? Athaliah was at least as bad as her fairy-tale counterparts, a 
queen who chilled the hearts of God's people by murdering her own grandsons
and promoting Baal worship in the southern kingdom of Judah, just as her 
parents, Ahab and Jezebel, had promoted it in the north.

Athaliah married the king of Judah, thereby cementing an alliance between 
the northern and southern kingdoms. But after a few years he died and was 
succeeded
by Athaliah's son, Ahaziah. In just a few months, Jehu, Jezebel's nemesis, 
slaughtered the new king.

After Queen Athaliah's husband and son were killed, she must have felt 
vulnerable and isolated, doubly so since her father Ahab's line had also 
been destroyed
in Israel. Her paranoia and lust for power formed a toxic mixture, moving 
her to murder her own son's children to secure Judah's throne for herself. 
Indeed
she may even have gloated that she, Baal's emissary, had snuffed out Judah's 
royal heirs, making it impossible for God to fulfill his promise of a future
Messiah from David's line in the tribe of Judah.

For a few years, from about 841-835 bc, Athaliah reigned in Judah, promoting 
Baal worship and leading the people further and further from God. But right
under her nose a conspiracy was brewing. Unknown to her, one of her 
grandsons still lived. Her own stepdaughter, Jehosheba, had hidden the 
infant, Joash,
before the queen could murder him along with Ahaziah's other sons. Married 
to the high priest, Jehosheba risked her life by tucking the royal heir away
in the temple for six years. Then, when the boy turned seven, her husband 
arranged a coup, crowning young Joash king.

As soon as Athaliah caught wind of the plot, she rushed to the temple, 
tearing her robes and screaming, "Treason! Treason!" But like her mother, 
Jezebel,
before her, no one paid the slightest attention. Instead, Queen Athaliah was 
promptly seized and executed just outside the temple. As soon as the queen
was dispatched, the people of Judah celebrated by destroying the temple of 
Baal along with its chief priest.

While the comparisons between Athaliah and Jezebel are all too obvious, 
their story reminds us of another that took place seven hundred years 
before. Egypt's
Pharaoh, determined to destroy God's people, had ordered every male baby 
drowned in the Nile River. Like Pharaoh, hoodwinked by one of his own 
children
(his daughter saved Moses and raised him as her own), Athaliah was fooled by 
her stepdaughter, Jehosheba. Once again a woman's courage and compassion 
helped
to subvert evil and keep the promise alive.

Their Promise

God always wins. That's a pretty simplistic way of saying it, but it's true 
nonetheless. Even when people like Athaliah try to stomp out an entire 
family
and put an end to God's plan for redemption, when people like the priests of 
Baal lead others to worship idols instead of the true God, God will always
triumph in the end. The negative forces of our culture make us wonder where 
we're headed as a people. Many of our leaders show little integrity or 
morality,
and dishonesty is overlooked in the workplace. Kindness is often the 
exception rather than the rule. But don't despair. This is not a battle God 
plans
to lose. In the end, he will prevail!

Today's devotional is drawn from
Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture
by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Visit
AnnSpangler.com
to learn more about Ann's writing and ministry.

Devotions by Christine Caine - Undaunted

Read
1 Corinthians 12:4–11

The apostle Paul talks about the gifts and callings of God.

Qualified by God

God not only chooses us for himself—he also chooses us to do his good works 
on earth. The amazing thing is that throughout Scripture and history it 
seems
God has chosen the most seemingly unlikely and unqualified people to fulfill 
his plan and purpose on the earth. Most often, the response of those people
has been to insist on their own unworthiness. And if they don’t—the people 
around them may do so, loudly and shrilly. And therein lies a danger: If we
allow other people to tell us what we are and are not qualified to do, we 
will limit what God wants to do with us. We may never get to those who need 
our
help.

What is impossible with people is possible with God. We just have to believe 
that God has called us to go into the world in his name, and not listen to
the crippling or even paralyzing labels and limitations imposed on us by 
others. Whom God calls, he qualifies—and he chooses everybody to do 
something
specific, something that is part of his design. In fact, the Bible shows us 
that since the beginning of time, God has chosen the unlikely to do the 
unimaginable:

• God called Moses, who was nearly eighty years old at the time, to tell 
Pharaoh to free God’s people (
Exodus 3–4).
But Moses insisted that he was not eloquent and no one would listen to him.
• God called Gideon “a mighty warrior,” and told him to save his people, who 
were being relentlessly ransacked by their enemies (
Judges 6–8).
But Gideon, who at the time God called him was working in a hidden place 
because he feared the enemy, couldn’t imagine how God could use a coward to 
fight
for his people.
• God called Jeremiah, a teenager, to deliver news to the Jewish people, but 
Jeremiah feared that, as young as he was, he wouldn’t be taken seriously.

Moses, Gideon, and Jeremiah would have missed out on their moment in history 
if they’d been allowed to get by with those excuses. We wouldn’t even know
their names. We know who they were because God refused to accept their 
excuses and insisted they accept his assignment—and then provided them 
everything
they needed to succeed in it.

Point to Ponder

Are you declining God’s mission for your life because you claim you’re not 
up to it? Don’t sell yourself short. God qualifies those he calls. Will you
prepare your heart to accept your appointment with destiny?

ADVERTISEMENT

Undaunted by Christine Caine
Today's reading is adapted from
Undaunted: Daring to Do What God Calls You to Do
by Christine Caine. Available in softcover, audio, ebook, and Spanish 
editions.

When Jesus Seems Distant Jesus Available Anywhere

After the Cross and Empty Tomb, Jesus was available anywhere, anytime, by 
anyone. So because Christ rose: any sin could be forgiven, any doubts could 
be
overcome, any sadness could be comforted, any disappointment could be 
stopped, any fearfulness could be arrested, any loneliness could be ended, 
any defilement
could be cleansed…anywhere, anytime, and by anyone.

So what does that mean? Jesus demonstrated to us by His visit to John on 
Patmos what He was doing with every church and for every believer. He was 
doing
for all of us what He did for the disciples during His earthly ministry.

Often we fail to understand the magnitude of what really happened. Here is 
what had changed—after the Resurrection Jesus was no longer limited to one 
location.
Jesus could be at anytime with everyone in anyplace. Think of all of 
Christ's power we see in the Gospels available everywhere and all the time! 
That was
God unleashing Jesus Christ to be everywhere available!

And in the flawless record of that meeting comes seven perfect descriptions 
of what Jesus looks like. And from those seven descriptions we find out 
exactly
what He is doing then and now!

Seeing the Risen Christ

If you’ll closely look at each of these seven descriptions John records, you 
will find the Four Gospels describe a matching ministry of Christ's while
He was on earth.

Jesus is the same—yesterday, today, and forever (
Hebrews 13:8).
And how John needed that reminder—and so do we!

What did John see? Pencil these in your mind, mark them in your Bibles, and 
hold tight to them in your heart—He saw Jesus and tells us of it.

Notice what John saw in
Revelation 1:9-18:

When John sees the Risen Christ, He is—

1. Reminding us that He is Human. v. 13a “like a Son of Man”. So He can 
truly have compassion upon us. Jesus can feel my needs completely.
2. Praying for us. v. 13b-14b“robe, sash, white hair”.So He can truly 
forgive us. Jesus prays for me constantly.
3. Watching over us. v. 14c“eyes like a flame of fire”.So He can truly see 
us where we are. Jesus can see me always.
4. Protecting us. v. 15a“feet like fine brass”.So He can truly protect us. 
Jesus can help me anytime.
5. Comforting us. v. 15b“voice like the sound of many waters”.So He can 
truly encourage us. Jesus can comfort me anywhere.
6. Offering Himself to us. v. 16b-17a“face like the Sun shining in its 
strength”.So we can truly worship Him. Jesus wants me to worship Him 
everywhere.

7. Reaching out to us. v. 16a; 17b-18“hand upon me”.So He can truly help us. 
Jesus wants to touch me daily.

To continue reading this message please
click here.
http://www.crosswalkmail.com/ehhzsprhzdzfrqhkftlwvfjvrpfqyllqdbrvssktrddttyh_qwggwvpwvsvh.html
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit
discoverthebook.org.

She Met God in the Grocery Store
WENDY BLIGHT

"You are the light of the world ... In the same way, let your light shine 
before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in 
heaven."

Matthew 5:14a, 16
(NIV)

A simple prayer. A morning routine. "Open our eyes, Lord, so we can see how 
You want to use us this day." Little did we know how mightily God would 
answer
our request.

We had just arrived for a girls' weekend, and my friend Karen and I planned 
a trip to the local market.

A young mom woke up that same day with the same idea. She pulled her hair 
back in a ponytail, slipped on her flip-flops, grabbed her keys and ran out 
the
door.

As Karen and I approached the checkout, we found ourselves behind a woman 
waiting on someone to arrive. She motioned for us to go ahead while looking 
back
toward the aisles. But before we could move our cart forward, a young mom 
with a cart full of groceries and crying child in tow, approached, waving to
the older woman.

As we allowed the young woman to get in front of us, my heart began to pound 
and I began to tremble. In that moment, the Lord impressed on my heart 
something
so strange... "Buy her groceries."

What? He spoke again in a whisper: "Love that young woman. Buy her 
groceries."

I hesitated but then reached out, tapped her on the shoulder and spoke the 
words God laid on my heart: "I know it sounds strange, but God told me that
we are to buy your groceries."

She gave me a quizzical look but with tears filling her eyes, graciously 
accepted. Then she and the other woman left.

Moments later, the other woman returned. She identified the young woman as 
her daughter, Micah. She shared how Micah's husband recently walked out on 
the
family, shattering their world, leaving her feeling unloved and unworthy of 
love.

She could barely make ends meet. She felt abandoned by everyone, but most 
especially God. Days before our God-ordained appointment in the grocery 
store,
Micah and her mother had prayed. Micah's prayer is what astounded us: "God 
if You are real, if You love me, show me that You have not forgotten me!"

The reason for God's urging became so clear. God wanted to extend 
unconditional love to Micah ... to offer something tangible to her for which 
nothing
would be expected in return.

Have you ever felt that "urge"? The whisper in your heart to reach out and 
do something that feels uncomfortable ... awkward ... even embarrassing? 
Trust
that feeling. Quite often it's God's invitation to participate in His 
heavenly work. It's God moving you to let your light shine into His broken 
and hurting
world.

In today's key verse, Jesus tells us we are "the light of the world" 
(Matthew 5:14a). This is because when we invite Jesus into our lives, He 
fills our
hearts with the light of His unconditional love, making us living, breathing 
vessels of that love. God then intentionally intersects our lives through
divine appointments so that we can shine the light of love we have received 
into the life of another.

In the midst of Micah's deepest sorrow and desperate cries for love, God 
responded intimately and personally. He showed her unconditional love. He 
met
the cry of her heart. Upon finishing her story, Micah's mother spoke words 
forever etched on my heart: "Micah now knows that God has not forgotten 
her!"

On an ordinary day, in an ordinary store, performing an ordinary chore, God 
called two mothers to an extraordinary task. He crossed our paths with one
of His girls who needed to experience His extraordinary love.

Micah met God in the grocery store that day. And thankfully, so did I.

Open my eyes, Lord, so that I can see how You want to use me this day. Give 
me the ability to see the world through the lens of Your heart, to recognize
Your divine appointments and to have the courage to say, "Yes." In Jesus' 
Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Luke 10:27,
"He answered, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your 
soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your 
neighbor as yourself.'" (NIV)
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Spiritual Fruit - Patience

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and
self-control. There is no law against these things!" (Galatians 5:22-23,
NLT)

The next part of the fruit which grows through the Holy Spirit is patience.
The Holeman Treasury of Key Bible words says the word used in this verse:

literally means long-suffering. It speaks of having
long-spirited-ness or calmness of spirit ”the ability, even under severe 
provocation, not to
lose one’s temper.

In the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians we read that love is patient.
Just as all the fruit of the Spirit starts with love we cannot be truly
patient without love. And God shows us the greatest patience. Because God
loves everyone and does not want anyone to perish God is patient and waits 
to
see if they will turn from their sins. Just look how long God gave Noah to 
build the
ark before he sent the flood. Also look how long God is waiting to bring His
Son back since once that happens no one can turn to God.

If we have the love of God in us then we will be patient with God but also
with others. We will reach out in love to others who try our patience.

There is an ancient legend that Abraham invited into his tent a man, who at
mealtime gave no thanks to God for His mercy. Whereupon the patriarch drove
him forth into the desert unfed and unsheltered. But in the night God
touched Abraham and awoke him, saying to him, “Where is the stranger?”
Abraham said, “When he did not fear you, nor thank you, I drove him forth.”
God rebuked him, saying, “Who made you his judge: I have borne with him all 
these years. Could you not bear with him one night? Have you learned nothing
from my mercy to you?” It would be a miracle indeed if the love of God for a
lost world begat no love in the hearts of those whom His love bound with
Himself.
…Minister’s Research Service

Patience to the soul is as bread to the body. . . . we eat bread with all
our meats, both for health and relish; bread with flesh, bread with fish,
bread with broths and fruits. Such is patience to every virtue; we must hope
with patience, and pray in patience, and love with patience, and whatsoever
good thing we do, let it be done in patience.
THOMAS ADAMS

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List


Worship in the Dark
Jonathan Parnell / July 26, 2014
Worship in the Dark

“Psalm 88 isn’t like the others,” a friend recently remarked. “Most psalms 
end on the high note of hope, but not Psalm 88.”

It’s true. This psalm is different. The concluding words aren’t what we’d 
expect. They’re not what we’re used to. To be sure, the psalms are full of 
laments,
oftentimes raw and intense, but they at least end hopeful. Psalm 88, though, 
begins in pain: “I cry out day and night before you” (verse 1), and then 
ends
in pain: “My companions have become darkness” (verse 18).

Why Are You Here?

“My companions have become darkness” — or as the King James puts it, “[Thou 
has put] mine acquaintances into darkness.” His friends are gone, in other
words. They have abandoned him. The only companion he has now is the dark. 
Nothingness has been personified. Blankness. Absence. At least, that is how
he feels — and that is how the psalm ends.

Then there’s the awkward silence. There’s that moment in between when we 
finish reading and start to wrap our heads around what we’ve read. There’s 
the
budding question, the one pushing through the aching pain of emptiness that 
we begin to feel — either because we sympathize with the psalmist or because
he has described our own pain . . . Why is this psalm here? How did it make 
it into the Bible?

We should ask that. The Psalms are meant to guide the church in worship, 
after all. They compose, as Bonhoeffer says, the Bible’s “prayer book.” They 
model
for us — as the ancient poetry of a timeless heart — how God’s people come 
to God. So why would they include such a despairing psalm?

Because sometimes we have to come to God in the dark.

From, In, and Through

Sometimes the weight of our trials are so severe that we feel as if we can’t 
keep our heads above the water. The pain is so vicious, the malaise so 
thick,
that we can’t imagine our situation ever changing. We can’t see healing. We 
can’t articulate hope. And when we try, it just hurts more. We’d rather not
pray. We’d rather not open the eyes of our mind — not with all this 
destruction, not when it’s so dark.

But Psalm 88 shows us how.

Cloudy as this psalm seems, we shouldn’t miss the most obvious point. Yes, 
the psalmist says his soul is full of troubles, that his life draws near to
the grave, that he feels like a dead man, like one forgotten, that it seems 
as if God has isolated him in regions dark and deep, that he’s drowning, 
that
he can’t escape, that his life is a horror, that he is cast down, unheard, 
afflicted, shunned — but he’s telling this all to God.

He is still speaking — from the pain, in the pain, through the pain. Even if 
by the faintest whispers, even if by the incoherent groans of a troubled 
soul,
he looks to heaven and says, This is where I’m at, God. This is how dark it 
feels.

Never Alone

We can come to God like this. Hurting and broken, no matter what, we can 
still come. We can still come because — and we must remember — God isn’t 
afraid
of the dark.

Jesus has been there before, you know. On the darkest of days, from a hill 
called the Skull, after he cried forsaken, after he said it’s finished, 
after
they locked the stony seal over the gloomiest grave, Jesus went there. And 
he went there for you.

He swallowed the real darkness so that, as abandoned as his people might 
feel, as alienated as their worlds might seem, he never lets them go there 
alone.
He walks that road with us. He prays those prayers with us. He fills us with 
his Spirit, and lifts our burdened souls by his grace. By his cross and 
victory,
because he looked death in the eyes and came back to life three days later, 
Jesus holds us when it hurts. He leads us to worship in the dark.

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

Related resources:

• A Song for the Suffering

• Don’t Go to Church to Give

• Is My Suffering Meaningless?

Danger: Ministry Idolatry
David Mathis / July 25, 2014
Danger: Ministry Idolatry

It may be the sneakiest form of idolatry — and the deadliest.

The deceptive thing about idolatry in general is that it is not just the 
overt worship of graven images, but anything that stands in God’s place. But 
in
particular, take note of the subtle way that God’s good gifts can take a 
poisonous grip on our sinful hearts. It’s not just the statues of Baal and 
the
Asherah poles, but our favorite pastimes, our finances, our health, and our 
family that threaten. And perhaps deadliest of all, even Christian ministry.

Ministry idolatry is not just a threat to those who are in fulltime 
Christian ministry — though the danger there is especially acute. Whether 
evangelism
or disciplemaking or meeting others’ needs through acts of service, 
Christian ministry is such a wonderful and worthwhile pursuit that when 
idolatry creeps
in, it can scarcely be recognizable.

When we find our greatest fulfillment and satisfaction, our decisive 
justification and deepest joy in serving Jesus, rather than in Jesus 
himself, we first
need to identify it, and then fight.

Identifying Ministry Idolatry

According to pastor Jared Wilson, author of
The Pastor’s Justification
ministry idolatry can manifest itself in different seasons of life and 
ministry. When things are most difficult — the lean times or the “depressive 
seasons”
— when we feel least fruitful and least encouraged about the effect of our 
labors, the idolatry takes one form. Where our heart goes is a good 
indication
of what we’re worshiping. Sadness is one thing, but deep discouragement can 
evidence that our identity is bound up with the ministry fruit we’re not 
seeing.

However, when we experience ministry “success,” it can be dangerous as 
well — likely even more so. Our idolatry can come to the surface when our 
seeming
fruitfulness is questioned or threatened in some way or taken away. Also it 
rears its ugly head when a kind of spiritual greed sets in, and one ministry
triumph is immediately eclipsed by an ache for the next, and there’s no rest 
for the soul.

How to Fight

The good news for all of us in our various ministries, whether vocational or 
non-vocational, is that the weapon with which to fight is the very weapon
we wield in Christian ministry: the gospel. We always return to the gospel, 
Wilson says, and seek to press the gospel deeper into our souls. The sword
of the Spirit is not only our weapon of choice against the principalities 
and powers, but also the surgical instrument for lancing boils in our own 
soul.

“It’s imperative to go to the gospel indicatives,” Wilson counsels, and 
remind ourselves again and again that Jesus is enough for us. He is 
sufficient
for our deepest joy and more enduring satisfaction. He himself, not our 
service of him, is the secret of contentment in every circumstance 
(Philippians
4:11–13).

Prepare Yourself

Also vital in fighting ministry idolatry is authentic accountability. We all 
need spiritual companions close to us who will be our truth-tellers, friends
who feel authorized to tell us the hard truths, not just about the big 
things, but also our little patterns and proclivities. And when they 
approach us
with some observation and challenge, we do well to try to silence our inner 
defense lawyer and validate their accountability by listening well, owning
our sin, and repenting.

In this new episode of
Theology Refresh,
Wilson also counsels us to ask ourselves the hard questions (like David 
Powlison’s x-ray questions)
about where our minds go when we’re alone and what we daydream about.

“It’s important to be asking these questions now before the rug’s pulled out 
from under you,” says Wilson. “It’s good to be prepared, to be holding hands
with Jesus when suffering comes,” rather than be left in the darkness alone.
To access this 11-minute episode,
subscribe to Theology Refresh
Copyright © 2014 Desiring God, all rights reserved
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Today's Quote:

For this sin hungry age we need a prayer-hungry Church. We need to explore 
again the "exceeding great and precious promises of God." In "that great 
day,"
the fire of judgment is going to test the sort, not the size, of the work we 
have done. That which is born in prayer will survive the test. Prayer does
business with God. Prayer creates hunger for souls; hunger for souls creates 
prayer. The understanding soul prays, the praying soul gets understanding.
To the soul who prays in self-owned weakness, the Lord gives His strength.

Leonard Ravenhill

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Today's Devotional

Sprawling Dog

Ecclesiastes 4:10 – If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity 
the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (NIV)

We have had a Yellow Labrador Retriever from the age of six weeks. We 
brought him into the house as a pet for the boys when they were little. 
Well, if
the truth be known, it was I who wanted a Lab, as we had had a black one 
when growing up. Anyway, for the past fourteen years, this Lab has called 
this
his home. The boys are now men, and the dog is aging gracefully — well, 
maybe not so gracefully, as the stairs are giving him some trouble. A common 
sound
in the evening is the dog's nails clicking on the tile at the bottom of the 
basement stairs as he paces. He is trying to decide if it is worth it to 
make
the climb to join us in the living room. It not an easy task for him to make 
the climb; he often requires help. I have noticed that, at first, he would
struggle and make the climb himself; he seemed reluctant to take the help 
offered. Now as he paces on the tile, it is like he is saying, Okay, help 
me.
Today, he almost made it to the first landing. Our son, who had come ahead 
of him, glanced back and saw the dog sprawled with his front paws on the 
ceramic
tile and his body hugging the stairs, unable to pull himself forward. He was 
at risk of sliding back down the stairs. Our son called back to the dog and
told him to hold on, and the dog stopped struggling and waited for him to 
come and help him.

Isaiah 33:2 – O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength 
every morning, our salvation in time of distress. (NIV)

There are some lessons for us in this. Just as our son is fully aware of the 
dog's needs and always waits close by to assist if needed, Jesus is always
aware of all our needs and remains near and ready to assist.

Even though the dog at times didn't seem to need the help, our son still 
lingered nearby and continued to offer help. Jesus often remains silent to 
us,
allowing us to call out to Him. Yet He is always with us.

Oh, how often we have been in similar ways, not wanting to accept help, 
thinking that we can do it on our own! The next time we find ourselves in a 
situation
of despair and reluctance, instead of pacing and looking for other ways to 
go about getting what we need, why not allow someone to help? Even better 
yet,
be the one extending the help and grace. Let us always turn to Jesus, and 
allow Him to lift us from our sprawling state.

Jeremiah 29:12 – Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I 
will listen to you. (NIV)

What rejoicing there is when we turn to Jesus! His hand is always extended 
to help us up.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for all the times when You provided comfort and 
care in our need. We want to recognize and declare our thanks to You today.
Help us to come quickly to You at all times with praise and thanksgiving. In 
Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Julie Bowles julieanni@rogers.com>
Barrie, Ontario, Canada

Thought for Today: Those small daily happenings make life spectacular.

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Imperfect Communities of Peace
by Alex Crain, Editor, Christianity.com

“He gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives 
grace to the humble.’†(
James 4:1)

Looking around at the seemingly fractured state of Christianity in the world 
today with all of its various camps and divisions, it’s tempting to idealize
the early church as a perfect time of peace and harmony. Instead of multiple 
churches in a city, there was just one. Instead of separate denominations,
seminaries, and theological societies there was just a small, despised group 
of disciples who clung to Christ and turned the world upside down with the
message of grace and salvation.

Then the book of James disrupts that rose-colored view of history with a 
more complete picture of the early churches. The Epistle of James was the 
first
book of the New Testament written slightly more than a decade or so after 
Jesus ascended. Even a casual reading of this short letter shows that the 
author
spilled a lot of ink addressing the ongoing problem of sinful human conflict 
among Christians. Why? Because Christians can, and do, still sin. And sin
tends to bring about devastating effects.

But the Holy Spirit, through James’s letter, instructed these believers how 
to become communities of peace in Christ’s power. The seven implicit 
commands
in
James 4:1
are for us as well by extension. All seven commands hang together. Not one 
of them is optional.

1. Realize the true source of sinful conflict (vv. 1-2a). It’s not your 
circumstances. It’s not your brother or sister. It’s your own heart.

1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, 
that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have;

2. Fear the serious effects of sinful conflict (vv. 2-4). In other words, 
don’t take sin lightly.

2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so 
you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask
and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your 
passions.4You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the 
world is enmity
with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself 
an enemy of God.

In life, we recognize that having a healthy fear of danger is the mark of 
maturity, not weakness.

3. Humbly seek God’s grace to overcome sin (vv. 6, 10). We Christians need 
to continually view ourselves as needy recipients of God’s grace, not 
dispensers
of self-made virtue.

6 He gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives 
grace to the humble." 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and
He will exalt you.

4. Pursue God and you will not pursue sin. (vv. 7-8) Such an obvious, 
self-evident truth needs little explanation.

7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

5. Keep your hearts tender to sin (v. 8-9)

8 Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you 
double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be 
turned into mourning
and your joy to gloom.

To this originally Jewish audience who were the first recipients of James’ 
letter, it would be common knowledge that the Hebrew word for heart in verse
8 means conscience. Rather than talking about the blood-pumping organ in our 
chest, James refers to the inner person, the soul, the conscience.

Moses recorded that Pharaoh “hardened his heart†(
Exodus 8:15),
which meant that Pharaoh had seared his conscience from heeding God’s will.

When Scripture speaks of a tender heart as in
2 Chronicles 2:27,
it’s talking about a sensitive conscience.

Proverbs 4:23
says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of 
life.â€

We may mentally know the source of sin and possess a genuine fear for the 
effects of sin, but without an alert and tender heart to the presence of 
sin,
we fall into sin.

6. Don’t judge each other in sinful ways (v. 11)

11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a 
brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; 
but if
you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.

We wrongly think that we can hide our sins by highlighting the sins of 
others. We sinfully judge through subtle forms of gossip and slander, both 
of which
grieve the Spirit and divide the
family
of God. It’s important to have
discernment.
And that means Christians can, and should, use sound judgment about whose 
professions of
faith
are credible. Jesus Himself said that we evaluate not by a person's words 
but by what fruit is shown in his or her life (
Matthew 7:20).
But rather than judge in sinful ways, we follow Christ’s way of restoration 
spelled out in Scriptures like Matthew 18 and Galatians 6:1.

7. Trust God to work in each other’s lives (v. 12)

12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to 
destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?

I recall hearing biblical counselor,
david powlison,
once say that a wonderful trait about true Christians is that they love the 
light; and when given the truth, they’ll embrace it.

While that may not always take place as immediately as we would like, if the 
other person is truly a believer, he has the Holy Spirit dwelling within him
and will ultimately be drawn to the truth. James 4:12 reminds us that God 
is, indeed, able to save. The great promise of
Philippians 1:6
comes to mind, “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.â€

When living out these commands by God’s grace, Christian individuals can 
become churches that are communities of peace. Imperfect, yes. Nothing will 
be
perfect until Christ returns and
his glorious kingdom
comes. But until then, Christ doesn’t call his sheep to be passive about the 
dangers of unchecked sinful conflict.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Our struggle with flesh is over only in heaven, 
but we are called to embrace the struggle and fight the flesh, not surrender
to it.

Further Reading

Not What You Wanted?
What is the Kingdom of Christ?

Love is On the Move
by Debbie Holloway, Crosswalk.com
Family
Editor

Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and 
feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see 
You
a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You 
sick, or in prison, and come to You?' The King will answer and say to them, 
'Truly I say to
you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even 
the least of them, you did it to Me.
Matthew 25:37-40

On the corner of 5th Street / a homeless man needs to eat / down on the 
edge of town
-Leeland, Love is On the Move

Actually it was 14th Street. 14th and Cary.

I was driving slowly across the cobblestone of downtown Richmond, one block 
away from pulling into my parking garage before work. However, I noticed a
new addition to my morning drive: a middle-aged man with sandy hair sitting 
on the corner, facing me. He was holding a cardboard sign which read STUCK
LIKE CHUCK.I had never seen him there before. On my way to work this 
morning I had already passed a beat-up looking group of teenage boys 
hitch-hiking
on the side of 95 south, so by now my maternal instincts were driving me 
crazy.

I specifically made sure that I made my way to the office via the man with 
the sign. Before I walked past him I stopped and asked, SirHe looked up
at me. His skin was very weathered and tan, but his eyes were electric blue. 
Almost shocking. Do you need some food? I asked.

He sort of looked down, as though thinking, Well, I can't pay my bills with 
food But he looked back up at me and hesitantly conceded, It sure would 
help.
I gave him part of my lunch I had packed for the day, said God bless you, 
sir,and tried not to cry.

It's so hard to translate Christ's mandate to love the poor into modern, 
daily city life. What if I give someone money and they just go buy drugs or 
cigarettes?
What if I help a hitchhiker and they put a gun to my head? How could my 
pitiful Tupperware container full of fruit possibly help a genuinely 
struggling
man? But Christ made no bones about it: we at least have to try. Not just 
the important, desperate, convenient people. God's empathy extends to even 
the
least of themHe feels both their pain and their gratitude.
If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and 
one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and be filled, and yet you
do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?James 
2:15
Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to 
be rich in faith
and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? James 
2:5

Intersecting Faith and Life

How can you be a powerful, physical force for Gods love? In your life, who 
are the poor, the least,that Christ would have you notice?
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Post  Admin on Sat 06 Sep 2014, 2:47 pm

Heaven-The Place to Be

"In my Father's house are many rooms; . . . I am going there to prepare a 
place for you. And . . . I will come back and take you to be with me that 
you
also may be where I am."

-John 14:2-3, NIV; emphasis added

What we need to believe today is what Jesus taught us-this world is not our 
home. Our real home is the one He went to prepare for us. All that we see,
use, and have here on earth is only temporary. That is the key to a pilgrim 
view of life.

In John 14:2-3, Jesus assures us that death for His children is only a 
transfer to permanent housing. Paul declares: "As long as we are at home in 
the
body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are 
confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with 
the
Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:6-8, NIV).

The great English Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, might reflect our 
feelings best:

Would you like to know where I am? I am at home in my father's house, in the 
mansion prepared for me here. I am where I want to be-no longer on the 
stormy
sea, but in God's safe, quiet harbor. My sowing time is done and I am 
reaping; my joy is the joy of the harvest.

Would you like to know how it is with me? I am made perfect in holiness. 
Grace is swallowed up in glory. Would you like to know what I am doing? I 
see
God, not as through a glass darkly, but face to face. I am engaged in the 
sweet enjoyment of my precious redeemer. I am singing hallelujahs to him who
sits upon the throne, and I am constantly praising him.

Would you like to know what blessed company I keep? It is better than the 
best of earth. Here are the holy angels and the spirits of just men made 
perfect.
I am with many of my old acquaintances with whom I worked and prayed and 
have come here before me.

Lastly, would you like to know how long this will continue? It is a dawn 
that never fades. After millions and millions of ages, it will be as fresh 
as
it is now. Therefore, weep not for me!
[10]

Oh, the wonders of our promised haven, the glories of that eternal home! But 
nothing will compare with the knowledge that heaven is the outflow of Jesus
Christ. Let us seek Him, like the words of this song so true: " ‘Tis heaven 
below, my Redeemer to know, For He is so precious to me." That is heaven.

"My Redeemer to know" is what God created us for; that is what Jesus is 
preparing for us; and that is what He's coming again for, either in a 
personal
rapture through the valley of the shadow of death or in a corporate rapture 
when He comes to take His church home-but He will come again to take us to
that place!

Make a Choice to Live in Hope: As
Christians,
we look forward to an event that will pale all others. It will happen the 
second we pass through death's shadow into heaven's splendor and see our 
Lord
face-to-face: "Think of-Stepping on shore, and finding it Heaven! Of taking 
hold of a hand, and finding it God's hand. Of breathing a new air, and 
finding
it celestial air. Of feeling invigorated, and finding it immortality. Of 
passing from storm to tempest to an unbroken calm. Of waking up, and finding 
it
Home."
[11]

What a thrilling moment! Thinking about it can make our hearts beat faster! 
So rejoice in heaven! Rejoice in what your Father has done- and is doing for
you even now: "You received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 
‘Abba, Father.' The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are 
children
of God . . . -heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. . . . The sufferings 
of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which 
shall
be revealed in us" (Romans 8:15-18).

Make a choice to live securely in hope because you have a relationship with 
God that allows you to cry out to Him, "Abba, Father" (a term of endearment
meaning "Daddy" or "Papa")! As His child, heaven means "going home to 
Daddy"-to enjoy His presence forever! Whatever you go through before your 
home-going
will only make your time in heaven that much more precious because of 
remembering His Son's sacrifice of love and His faithful companionship 
during your
sojourn on earth. You are a joint heir with Jesus-to be glorified together 
with Him! What a joyous privilege!

Isn't it hard to live in a tiny two-room apartment when you know that you 
will soon get a mansion and gardens-and will live forever with the Lord in 
Paradise?

I encourage you to softly and tenderly sing this song to the King of Kings 
and Lord of Lords who has lavished His infinite love on you!

Majesty

Majesty, worship His majesty,
Unto Jesus be all glory, honor, and praise.
Majesty, kingdom authority
Flow from His throne unto His own; His anthem raise.
So exalt, lift up on high the name of Jesus.
Magnify, come glorify Christ Jesus, the King.
Majesty, worship His majesty;
Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings.

-Jack Hayford (b. 1934)
To find this message online, please
click here.
http://www.crosswalkmail.com/chmjdqtljhjftmlnfgrzkfvktqfmprrmhctkddnghjcptqt_mqnnqtbqtyts.html
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit
discoverthebook.org.

Women of the Bible Header

The Shunammite Woman

Her character: Generous and hospitable, she was a wealthy and capable woman 
who showed great kindness to one of God's prophets.
Her sorrow: To lose the son that had been promised her.
Her joy: To experience just how deep God's faithfulness goes.
Key Scriptures:
2 Kings 4:8-37
;
8:1-6

Her Story

Just a few miles north of Jezreel, where Jezebel's story had drawn to its 
grim conclusion, lived a wealthy Israelite woman whose sharp eye kept track 
of
travelers from Nazareth to Jerusalem. One of the more colorful characters 
who frequented the road outside her house was Elisha, the prophet who 
succeeded
Elijah.

One day the Shunammite woman invited Elisha to linger for a meal. Afterward, 
she said to her husband, "Let's make a small room on the roof and put in it
a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there 
whenever he comes to us."

Moved by her kindness, Elisha inquired, through his servant, Gehazi, whether 
he could use his influence with Israel's king on her behalf. But the woman
wasn't looking for favors at court, so Elisha pressed his servant, saying, 
"What, then, can be done for her?"

Gehazi merely pointed out the obvious: the woman and her aging husband were 
childless, without an heir to carry on the family name. So Elisha summoned
the woman and made an incredible promise: "About this time next year you 
will hold a son in your arms."

"No, my lord," she objected. "Don't mislead your servant, O man of God!"

Yet, a year later, just as Elisha had foretold, the woman held a squalling 
infant in her arms, laughing as she told others the story of God's 
surprising
gift. Unlike so many of her female forebears—Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Tamar, 
Hannah—the Shunammite woman seemed content without children. Elisha's 
promise,
however, was an arrow homing straight to its target, fulfilling the unspoken 
desire of her heart.

One morning, a few years later, a servant entered the house with the little 
boy in his arms, explaining that the child had complained of a headache 
while
visiting his father in the fields. Perhaps he had lingered too long in the 
sun.

The boy's face was flushed, his forehead hot as his mother caressed it, 
hushing him with soothing sounds and songs. But despite murmured words of 
reassurance,
she felt her own fear spreading. The tighter she held him, the more his 
spirit seemed to retreat. His breathing was labored, his eyes listless. At 
about
noon he died.

Without a word, she carried his small body to the prophet's room, laying it 
tenderly on Elisha's bed. Closing the door, she summoned a servant and left
immediately for Mount Carmel, where she hoped to find Elisha.

Spotting her in the distance, the prophet wondered aloud what could prompt 
her to make the twenty-five-mile journey north. "Run to meet her," he urged
Gehazi, "and ask, 'Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your 
child all right?' "

But the woman merely brushed Gehazi aside with polite words and rushed 
straight to Elisha, exclaiming: "Did I ask you for a son, my lord? Didn't I 
tell
you, 'Don't raise my hopes'?"

Immediately the prophet instructed Gehazi: "Tuck your cloak into your belt, 
take my staff in your hand, and run. If you meet anyone, do not greet him,
and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy's face."

The woman, however, wasn't about to settle for a stand-in. So the prophet 
hurried to Shunem just behind Gehazi, who had gone on ahead to carry out his
master's orders. When Elisha arrived, he found the boy lying quiet and cold 
on his couch. Elisha closed the door behind him. Praying, he stretched his
body across the boy's so that hands, mouth, and eyes touched. As he lay 
there, he could feel the chilled body warming beneath him. He got up and 
paced
the room for a while. At last he stretched himself across the lifeless body 
again and prayed. The boy's chest lifted. Then he sneezed! Then sneezed 
again.

The Shunammite woman may, in fact, have heard the story of how Elijah had 
raised the son of the widow of Zarephath in similar circumstances. If so, 
that
miracle would certainly have fueled her hope, giving her the courage to seek 
her own miracle rather than collapse under so great a weight of grief. Now,
as she saw for herself the irrefutable sign of God's loving-kindness, she 
fell at Elisha's feet and bowed to the ground. God had been true to his 
word,
fulfilling his promise to her and then preserving it in the face of 
impossible circumstances.

Her Promise

The Shunammite woman knew there was hope even in the most devastating of 
circumstances. She had been promised a son when she was barren, and now she 
tenaciously
held on to that promise even though her little son lay dead on Elisha's 
couch. "It's all right," she said to her husband, knowing full well that 
their
boy was gone. The God who had given her the promise wasn't gone. She knew he 
wouldn't forsake her.

"It's all right." Can you express that sentiment even when your world is 
crashing in on you? Perhaps not. Remember, however, that even in the most 
agonizing
of circumstances, even when you feel abandoned, even when tragedy 
strikes—God is there. Trust his word and gain assurance from the Shunammite 
woman who,
in the midst of appalling circumstances, could say, "It's all right."

Today's devotional is drawn from
Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture
by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Visit
AnnSpangler.com
to learn more about Ann's writing and ministry.


Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave 
thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set 
before
the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and 
were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken 
pieces
of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand." 
(Mark 6:41)

By Answers2Prayer

The Offering

I had often read and been told that as we get older we need less sleep. I 
did not find this to be true. What I did discover is that though I was 
sleeping
less I was no less tired. And when I am tired I struggle with feeling cross, 
crabby and discouraged, especially when I am lying in bed hour after hour
unable to sleep, knowing that morning will soon arrive and it will be time 
to get up and go to work, exhausted once again.

Such times of sleeplessness, I have also learned come and go in cycles. The 
majority of my aging friends confide that they too struggle with this issue
and the doctor says there really isn't much to be done about it other than 
to accept that it is part of the aging process and to try and catnap as time
allows.

Anyway, one morning as I crept from my bed after another minimum sleep night 
I began grumbling in earnest to God about the situation and how unfair it
was. You KNOW I have to get up and go to work, and yet how am I supposed to 
do all I need to do, and do a good job of it when I am so tired yet again!
And that was when that still small voice whispered these words within my 
mind: Remember the loaves and fishes and look up to heaven and give thanks.

And so that is what I began to do and continue to do. I thank God for the 
sleep I have received, no matter how minimal, and that it will be sufficient
for the tasks at hand. And much to my amazement it always is. In fact I 
usually not only have enough energy for what must be done but energy left 
over
for the things I really want to do, without feeling cross, crabby and 
discouraged from lack of sleep.

So today if you are struggling with a lack: lack of sleep, talent, money, 
wisdom, in fact anything, remember the loaves and fishes and look up to 
heaven
and give thanks for what you do have and then be prepared to see how God 
blesses it.

Prayer: Father God thank you that even the smallest offering we lift up to 
you becomes more than enough in your hands. Bless us this day with faith to
offer and receive. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.

Lynne Phipps
Atlin, B.C.

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.
Send your prayer request to us
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. Hallelujah!

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

A NORVELL NOTE by Tom Norvell
- http://www.anorvellnote.com
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