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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters - Page 33 Empty Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 04 Sep 2014, 6:42 pm

More of What Jesus Says About Hell

"[Apostates are] wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of 
darkness forever"

-Jude 13b, emphasis added

In the following verses, Jesus gets even more graphic in His description: 
"Let both grow together until the harvest, and I will say to the reapers, 
‘First
gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather 
the wheat into my barn' " (13:30). Therefore as the tares are gathered and
burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age (13:40). And [the 
angels] will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and 
gnashing
of teeth (13:42). In verse 48 we see that when the dragnet "was full, they 
drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but 
threw
the bad away."

Jesus said to let the true and the false, the fruit bearers and the 
non-fruit bearers, grow together. In the church, there are some who merely 
appear to
be
Christians.
They can "talk the talk" and even seem to "walk the walk" so well that it is 
difficult to sort out the real Christians from the fake. It is like wheat
and tares, all growing up in the same field. Jesus was saying, "Don't clear 
out the church. There will always be believers and unbelievers, but let them
be together. At the time of the harvest, I will sort them out." Notice that 
all of Jesus' stories are clear-cut choices: good and bad; righteous and 
evil;
fruit bearing and not fruit bearing; heaven and fire. There is no middle 
ground here-either you make it or you don't. In verses 49-50 Jesus therefore 
warns:
"So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate 
the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. 
There
will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

Jesus said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be 
uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the 
blind
leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch" (15:13-14).

Now look at these verses: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My 
church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. For whoever 
desires
to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will 
find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and 
loses
his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son 
of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He 
willreward
each according to his works" (16:18, 25, 27).

Jesus also told a lot of parables and stories that don't have what we would 
call a happy ending. In Matthew 18:34 Jesus speaks about the agony in life
of having bitterness and anger: "His master was angry, and delivered him to 
the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him." These "torturers
of life" that we don't deal with-emotional pain, depression, and anger-are 
merely a tiny foretaste of the horrors of hell.

The judgment of the Jewish leaders against the wicked vinedressers turned 
out to be Christ's judgment against them: "He will destroy those wicked men 
miserably,
and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the 
fruits in their seasons. . . . And whoever falls on this stone will be 
broken;
but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder" (21:41, 44). This is 
speaking again of the intensity of the eternal judgment.

In Matthew 22:7 we see another picture of what judgment will be like: "When 
the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, 
destroyed
those murderers, and burned up their city." Jesus continued in verse 13: 
"Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, 
and
cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 
"

Jesus sternly rebuked the scribes and Pharisees: "Hypocrites! For you devour 
widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will 
receive
greater condemnation. . . . For you travel land and sea to win one 
proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as 
yourselves"
(23:14-15). Now look at verse 33: "Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you 
escape the condemnation of hell?"

Jesus said that the master of an unfaithful evil servant will come, when he 
least expects him, to "cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the
hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (24:51). The 
weeping is because of the pain, and the gnashing of the teeth and wailing is 
due
to the inescapable punishment.

Matthew 25:30 speaks of the unprofitable servant who will be cast "into the 
outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Have you heard
this enough to catch your attention? In verse 41 are Christ's last words 
about hell; this is the judgment, and Jesus is sitting on the throne: "Then 
He
will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into 
the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.' "

Hell was not made for humans. God did not plan for, and want to deliver, the 
lost to the place of everlasting judgment. Therefore, He is not willing that
any should perish. Now tie that with John 3:16: "that they should not perish 
but have everlasting life." God does not want you to go to the everlasting
fire. It was prepared for the devil and his angels. But look at verse 46: 
"And these [the cursed who practice iniquity-who reject Christ, and refuse 
to
believe and repent] will go away into everlasting punishment, but the 
righteous into eternal life."

Life in heaven will be endless, but so will life in hell. The only reason 
hell even exists for mankind is because they love their sins instead of the 
living
and written Word of God. Have you embraced God and His Word? Are you sharing 
His gospel with others so that they do not become cursed and be cast into
the everlasting fire?

To find this message online,
click here.
http://www.crosswalkmail.com/omqrzmtlrfrdtqlvdkgncdsctmdqjggqfwtczzvkflftfzl_hqccqshqsbsm.html
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit
discoverthebook.org.


Turning Attitude Into Grattitude
LIZ CURTIS HIGGS

"They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in 
the LORD."
Psalm 112:7
(NIV)

Trusting God when good news arrives? No problem. I see His hand at work, His 
unconditional love in action and gratitude fills my heart.

But when bad news comes knocking, my gratitude can easily turn into 
attitude.

After a busy morning speaking at a weekend women's conference, I made my way 
back to the book table, glad to find two kind souls willing to handle all
the details while I signed books.

When lunchtime arrived and the book table was quickly abandoned in favor of 
chicken salad and fudge brownies, one of my helpers touched my shoulder.

"Liz?" Her anguished expression should have warned me. "I don't know how to 
tell you this, but ... I lost your bank bag."

My heart sank. "With all the money in it?"

She nodded, chin trembling. "I carried it with me into the ladies' room for 
safekeeping. When I put it down to wash my hands, I started talking to 
someone,
then forgot what I was doing and left without the bag." Her voice was 
strained to the breaking point. "I ran back in, but it was gone. I'm so 
sorry, Liz
..."

My first instinct? (Get ready: this is ugly.) I wanted to stomp my foot and 
say, "That was a lot of money! How could you be so careless?"

By God's grace, I didn't go there. The woman simply had made a mistake. 
Hadn't I made one or two (or 10 or 20) myself?

My second instinct was to flip my hand as if it didn't matter and say, 
"Whatever." I couldn't go that route, either. We were both concerned, and 
for good
reason; it was foolish to pretend otherwise.

So, I took a deep breath, prayed for God's peace, then said, "Let's trust 
the Lord on this one and not worry about the money." Wait. Not worry about 
money,
lots of which needed to go back to my publisher to pay for those sold 
books?! Clearly that easygoing attitude didn't come from me.

God alone managed to override the unkind words I might have said. He also 
tempered my anxious thoughts and toned down my conflicted emotions. The only
thing on my mind at that moment was helping ease the woman's obvious 
distress.

Trust me, this was not Liz being a good girl. This was God being a great 
God.

With an utter sense of peace, I hugged her, then whispered, "Let it go." I 
felt her slowly relax. Then I surprised us both by announcing, "I believe 
the
bag will turn up. How about we go to lunch and let God take care of things?"

Not worry? Not fret? Not obsess? So not my style. But that Saturday, by the 
power of His Spirit, I really did trust God with my whole heart. In fact, I
couldn't wait to see what He might do to solve our problem.

Thirty minutes later the woman in charge came running up to our lunch table, 
her face shining. "We found your bank bag! Someone left it in the 
sanctuary."

Yes. I smiled broadly. Someone did.

Was I grateful to have the money back? Sure. But the lessons I learned about 
letting go and trusting God were far more valuable.

On the drive home I thanked Him over and over for stilling my tongue and 
calming my spirit. For keeping me from wounding a sister in Christ. For 
nudging
whoever picked up the bag to do the right thing and leave it where it might 
be found. For changing my negative attitude into heartfelt gratitude.

Heavenly Father, even bad news is bearable with You by my side. When I'm 
tempted to worry, fret or obsess, remind me to pray, trust and let go. In 
Jesus'
Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 9:9-10,
"The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken 
those
who seek you." (NIV)

Romans 15:13,
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so 
that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Have you reacted with more attitude than gratitude more times than you wish? 
If so, you'll be encouraged by
Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from Them
from Liz Curtis Higgs.

Let. It. Go. How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
by Karen Ehman

The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness
by Suzanne Eller

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When you're tempted to react from a place of fear, instead respond from a 
place of faith. Remember, God is more than able to rescue you.

Are you facing a bad-news situation today? What can you say or do to 
practice faithfulness and help ease someone else's discomfort?

© 2014 by Liz Curtis Higgs. All rights reserved.

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


Today's

Turning Point
Monday, July 14

Pleasing God

For before [Enoch] was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Hebrews 11:5b

Recommended Reading
Genesis 5:21-24
It is the classic theme of world literature -- the need of a lesser being to 
please a greater being. Whether the greater being is a king, tyrant, ogre,
or fantastical being, the subject's need is to discover what the ruler 
demands and do it. Tension in the story builds as it looks less and less 
likely
that the subject will be able to please the ruler.

The Bible is part of world literature, and it shares that theme with other 
great stories. The Bible's story -- the necessity for man to please God -- 
is
at the same time more and less dramatic. First, God requires only one thing 
to be pleased: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews
11:6). Everything else we might do to please the Creator God does not 
qualify unless preceded by faith. Second, there is a dramatic crisis and 
solution:
God becomes a human being so dedicated to God that He lives a perfectly 
faithful life and dies to pay for the faithlessness of all other men. The 
life
of pleasing God is illustrated simply by Enoch: "He pleased God."

If it is your desire to please God, always begin with faith. Our belief in 
Him seems to bring Him more pleasure than anything else.

A deep and sober daily concern to please God is the rarest of rarities.
Vance Havner
TURNING POINT WITH DR. DAVID JEREMIAH
David Jeremiah's Website

Spiritual Fruit - Peace

"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 third part of the fruit which grows through the Holy Spirit is peace.
Here is what the Holman Treasury of bible Words says about peace:

Peace means many things to different people. To those in war, peace means
the cessation of battle and enmity. To those living hectic lives, peace
means calm. To those with troubled minds, peace means inner tranquility.
The Greek term for peace was used for all of these meanings, both
in Greek literature and in the New Testament. The word could be used
as a greeting or farewell, as in Luke 10:5; Gal. 6:16;
James 2:16; John 20:19. It could also signify the presence of domestic
tranquility (1 Cor. 7:15) or the cessation of conflict – national conflict
(Luke 14:32; Acts 12:20) or interpersonal conflict (Rom. 14:19; Eph. 4:3).
Jesus came to bring peace on earth. When Jesus was born, the angels
proclaimed: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with
whom he is well pleased (Luke 2:14, NASB). This means that Jesus as the
Messiah would usher in God's reign of peace. This peace was Jesus' farewell
gift to the disciples (John 14:27); it was given to them when He breathed
His Spirit into them (John 20:19–22). The greatest “peace” Jesus achieved
for us is that He took away the enmity between us and God by His death on
the cross to absolve our sin. Those who accept Christ's salvation have peace
with God (Rom. 5:1-2).
This gift of peace with God, made available through Christ, means that
Christians in the community of faith need to live in peace with each other
(Rom. 12:18; 14:19; Heb. 12:14). This concept of peace alters the meaning of
the common greeting “go in peace” to “go, and live in peace.” As used by the
Christian community, the expression “grace and peace be with you” conveys
total well-being, prosperity, and security all emanating from God's presence
with His people (1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; 1 Peter 1:2; 2
John 3; Jude 2; Rev. 1:4). When we say or hear the phrase above, it is not a
mere wish for peace, but a reminder of the peace given through Christ.

There are some people who look like they are at peace but inwardly they are
all torn up. These people are producing their own fruit of peace. It is not
the peace which the Holy Spirit grows. True peace cannot be manufactured
through meditation or thinking good thoughts. True peace only comes through
Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, working in and through you in the power
of the Holy Spirit.

"Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen." (Romans 15:33, KJV)

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List

Kitchen Grace and the Great Commission
Yia Vang / July 15, 2014
Kitchen Grace and the Great Commission

There is a story about trying to bring the gospel to indigenous people in 
Indonesia. Every day the missionaries came into the village and tried to 
gather
the people to preach the good news. Not many of the villagers would listen. 
Most paid no attention at all.

This went on for months until they noticed that every time the chief of the 
tribe wanted to speak to the crowd or announce news, he would stand and 
speak
around a smoke pit, where they had been cooking sweet potatoes (yams) for 
hours.

The people would gather around the fire and eat yams while listening to 
their leader speak. Noticing a trend, the missionaries gathered up some yams 
themselves
and had them prepared around the fire. Then with great authority and 
surrounded by sweet potatoes, Don Gibbson and Gordon Larson approached the 
circle
of fire and began to preach the gospel. The villagers listened intently over 
the meal, hearts were changed, and it wasn’t long before the chief himself
called for the destruction of all their sacred ancestral idols.

The Simplicity of Sustenance

How simple is that! It wasn’t a fresh exegesis of the text, or a miraculous 
sign from the heavens, or some secret cross-cultural tactic, but a simple 
sweet
potato. You can buy a yam for less than a dollar at the grocery store.

Eating is one of our most basic needs. Everyone needs to eat to live. Food 
has a unique ability to draw people in because we can’t avoid it. For this 
reason,
food is the simplest form of hospitality. Gathering around food isn’t a new 
concept. It’s been close to the center of our lives together going back to
the first church in history. Our Savior himself fed the masses, not just 
with good teaching, but with actual, physical bread. And on the evening 
before
his death — the most important day in history — he introduced the 
new-covenant meal the church has eaten together ever since.

An Edible and Effective Love Language

When we share food with someone, we’re sharing life with them. Everybody’s 
got to eat. Food puts everyone on the same level. From the blue-collar man 
who
works the construction site, to the businessman who wears a three-piece suit 
making multimillion-dollar deals, to the homeless man who stands on the 
corner
— we all need food. Food has the power as a medium to break down walls of 
division and build up bonds of love and unity.

What Gibbson and Larson did was not revolutionary. It was simple. They saw 
that yams were a catalyst for conversation. And the same kinds of 
life-changing
interactions could start with offering to buy lunch for a friend. A sandwich 
or salad or burrito could be the currency that opens a door to someone’s 
heart,
and with that door open we have the opportunity to offer them the true Bread 
of life.

Find the smoke pits in your life, invite your friends, neighbors, or 
co-workers to come with you, and be bold to speak the gospel over your meal 
together.
Meals shared with intentionality will have their place in the fulfilling of 
the Great Commission.
Admin
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Post  Admin on Tue 02 Sep 2014, 10:57 pm

Labor Day: Your Need for Both Work and Rest
Nick Batzig

As we come to celebrate another Labor Day, it may be beneficial for us to 
step back for a moment and consider what Scripture has to say about the 
rhythm
of work and rest—i.e. the cyclical configuration by which all the events of 
our lives occur. Learning the theology of work and rest is one of the 
greatest
challenges of our own day. Many of us have adopted faulty views of work, and 
therefore have faulty views of rest. We are commanded to do all the work 
that
needs to be accomplished every week in the six days that follow, and lead up 
to, the glorious day of rest. Then we are commanded to rest. This rhythm of
work and rest is both a creational and a new-creational (i.e. redemptive) 
ordinance. The suffix to the 4th commandment in Exodus 20:11 and Deuteronomy
5:15 teaches us this. God commanded His people to rest one day in seven 
because He rested from the work of creation and because He redeemed them 
from the
hand of their enemies. In short, we need to learn to work hard at learning 
to work as unto the Lord and we need to learn to work hard at learning to 
cease
from our labors, by resting in the finish work of Christ.

Work is one of the most important of the creation ordinances. Before the 
fall—work was pleasant. God charged Adam with the task of taking the Garden 
out
and turning the world into the Garden. Adam embraced the command to dress 
and keep the Garden with a sense of satisfaction and delight. When sin 
entered
the world, God cursed the ground and promised our first father that work 
would now be burdensome. Thorns and thistles made man’s labors difficult and 
unpleasant.
Now, man must eat by the sweat of his brow.

In addition to the burden placed upon man’s labors, the fall also brought 
about imbalanced and perverted views of work. After the fall, men began to 
work
for their own glory. Cain built a city and named it after his son (Gen. 
4:17). Man turned inward and therefore began to work for all the wrong 
reasons.
We see this worked out in our own day in the way in which we have lost the 
idea of vocation (i.e. calling). Most people in America today view a job 
first
and foremost as a mean to an end (i.e. a way to get provisions, possessions, 
pleasures, etc.). Because the idea of vocation has been lost, people now 
jump
from job to job throughout the course of their lives. If we viewed our work 
under the rubric of God’s calling, we would be more apt to settle into 
whatever
lawful work God has gifted and called us to do—and, we would seek to do it 
for His glory. The garbage man—who picks up trash to better the community 
and
to bear witness to the goodness and greatness of God—is fulfilling his 
vocation as unto the Lord. Fulfilling the mandate from our God to be 
fruitful for
His glory must be the ultimate goal of our labors rather than merely seeking 
after a fruitful retirement. As John Calvin so helpfully wrote:

We know that men were created for the express purpose of being employed in 
labor of various kinds, and that no sacrifice is more pleasing to God than 
when
every man applies himself diligently to his own calling, and endeavors to 
live in such a manner as to contribute to the general advantage.
00000434/#_ftn1

The other dilemma with which we are faced in our own day is that most of us 
do not know how to cease from working. In his sermon “
Work and Rest
,” Tim Keller offers several suggestions as to why there is such a 
heightened sense of obligation for us to overwork today. He explains:

A. Jobs (even whole departments) if they don't perform—and if they don't 
turn profit—are eliminated. There has never been a culture where job 
security
has been so bad.

B. It used to be that people at the top of the company used to make 10 or 20 
times what people at the bottom of the company make; now, it's more like 100
to 200 times. And partly as a result of this, people who make large amounts 
of money are expected to put in enormous numbers of hours. If you don't want
to do it, there's a line behind you. Whereas people on the bottom are having 
to take multiple jobs. So everybody's overworked. It doesn't matter where
you are on the scale. In order to make ends meet, they have to take multiple 
jobs.

C. Then there’s technology. You can work anywhere—which means now, we work 
everywhere! It means you can't stop work from spilling out of every nook and
cranny of your life.

D. Whereas traditional societies said that you got your meaning in life 
through your family, and through basically fulfilling a fairly prescribed 
social
role—either as a mother or father, or a brother or sister, or husband or 
wife, or a son or a daughter…You just needed to find a way to make a living 
because

family
was what everything was about. But we’re the first culture in history that 
says, ‘You define yourself by defining what you want to be and by attaining
it—and then you have significance.’ There's never been more psychological 
and social and emotional pressure on work to be either fulfilling or at 
least
lucrative. There’s never been a culture like that.

A, B and C mean that we are more desperately in need of rest than we ever 
have been, but less time than ever. D means that we, emotionally on the 
inside,
have less ability to rest than ever.

Of course, the larger picture of the pattern of working and resting is seen 
in the spiritual realm. Prior to the fall, Adam was called to work for 
confirmed
righteousness and life. If he had obeyed, and had not eaten of the Tree of 
the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he would have entered into the everlasting 
Sabbath
rest that lay before him. The Sabbath day was a promise of something better 
(Heb. 4:1-11). After the fall, man was to learn to trust in Christ alone for
salvation. The Sabbath laws in the Mosaic economy were so strict because 
they reflected what a man thought about salvation—namely, whether he thought 
it
was by his own labors, or whether it was entirely by grace through
faith.
Just as God commanded the Israelites to “stand still and see the salvation 
of the Lord” (Ex. 14:13), so God commands His people to cease working on the
Lord’s Day and “see the salvation of the Lord in the finished work of 
Christ.’

Jesus is our Sabbath rest in that he has taken the curse of Adam and the Law 
upon Himself. Jesus sweat great drops of blood as he entered into the work
of redemption. He was crowned with the crown of thorns when he suffered for 
our sin. He died on the cross. Jesus bore the curse when He became a curse
for us at the cross. Then he rested from His work by lying in the tomb, dead 
on the Old Covenant Sabbath Day. Just as He had created the world and looked
back over all his work and said, “It is good,” so too did He carried out the 
work of redemption, looked back over it and cried, “It is finished.” Now,
by faith in Christ we enter in our Sabbath rest and will do so fully and 
finally in the consummation. He says to us, “Come unto Me and I will give 
you
rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28).

In both the physical and spiritual realm God has given us the pattern of 
work and rest. In the physical realm, we need to learn the rhythms of work 
and
rest. It is a godly thing to do whatever God has called us to do with all 
our might as unto the Him, and it is godly to rest from our work and undergo
a physical and spiritual re-creation.
Nick Batzig is the church planter of
New Covenant Presbyterian Church
in Richmond Hill, Ga. He has written numerous articles for
Tabletalk Magazine,Reformation 21,a00000434/#_ftnref1
Commentary on the Harmony of the Evangelists, vol. 2, Edinburgh, 1845, p. 144 (ad loco Lk. 10:38).
Featured Sermon
from LightSource.com

© 2014 Salem Web Network. All rights reserved. 111 Virginia Street, Suite 
500, Richmond, VA 2321
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List


No Place for Islands
by Charles R. Swindoll

Romans 15:1-7

Nobody is a whole chain. Each one is a link. But take away one link and the 
chain is broken.
Nobody is a whole team. Each one is a player. But take away one player and 
the game is forfeited.
Nobody is a whole orchestra. Each one is a musician. But take away one 
musician and the symphony is incomplete.
Nobody is a whole play. Each one is an actor. But take away one actor and 
the performance suffers.
Nobody is a whole hospital. Each one is a part of the staff. But take away 
one person and it isn't long before the patient can tell.

Cars are composed of numerous parts. Each one is connected to and dependent 
upon the other. Even if a tiny screw comes loose and falls out of the 
carburetor,
it can bring the whole vehicle to a stop.

You guessed it. We need each other. You need someone and someone needs you. 
Isolated islands we're not. To make this thing called life work, we gotta 
lean
and support. And relate and respond. And give and take. And confess and 
forgive. And reach out and embrace. And release and rely.

Especially in God's family . . . where working together is Plan A for 
survival. And since we're so different (thanks to the way God built us), 
love and
acceptance are not optional luxuries. Neither is tolerance. Or 
understanding. Or patience. You know all those things you need from others 
when your humanity
crowds out your divinity.

In other words:

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each 
other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 
Rejoice
in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When 
God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice 
hospitality.
(Romans 12:10-13 NLT)

Why? Because each one of us is worth it. Even when we don't act like it or 
feel like it or deserve it.

Since none of us is a whole, independent, self-sufficient, supercapable, 
all-powerful hotshot, let's quit acting like we are. Life's lonely enough 
without
our playing that silly role.

The game's over. Let's link up.

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.

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Experiencing LIFE Today
----------------------------------------------------------

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the 
living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your 
eyes,
kindness in your smile. — Mother Teresa

I met a kid playing basketball some time ago. He was new and I noticed him – 
mostly because he was so much younger than the rest of us there. As we were
wrapping up the game, he said he wouldn’t be back next week – he had to get 
the kids to school.

He – a kid – had to get kids to school.

It turns out that he was a Christian. When newly wed, he and his wife 
decided to take in two teenage kids who were struggling. One had special 
needs and
the other was having a difficult time. Neither was in an environment that 
nurtured their growth and health, so this young man and his wife decided to 
take
them in.

“Wow!” I said, after he shared how the kids were excelling. “What do you 
want to do with your life?”

“Well, I love these kids to death. They’re beautiful kids. I want to get 
these kids through high school and then I want to go to med school.”

A young man putting dreams on hold because he’s in love with two struggling 
teens?

That’s evidence of the indwelling Christ. And when you start recognizing 
this truth – that Christ indwells us – you start seeing the life of Christ 
in
people all around you.
• They are willing to put dreams aside so they can care for others.
• They are willing to let go of time and resources so that one more person’s 
needs
• might be met.
• They are willing to let go of the temporal in order to experience Christ.
• They are heroes – both sung and unsung throughout history.
And yet, for those who bow their knee to Jesus, we know it’s not really them 
at all. No, not them, but Christ in them – dancing, and serving, and loving
others just as He can do through us all.

He Who is Greater, I want to do what Your Spirit does, love as Your Spirit 
loves, sacrifice as Your Son sacrificed. I want my life to matter to someone
other than myself. I can’t do this, but You can. Because You’ve grafted me 
into Your life and Your Kingdom, I ask that You will. Open my eyes to see 
what
You see. Live through me today as a living expression of who You are, Jesus. 
Amen.

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

Jesus Describes Hell

" ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.' "

-Mark 9:44, emphasis added

In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus explains that life has:

• Two entrance gates-the wide and the narrow.
• Two roads-broad and difficult.
• Two destinations-destruction and life.
• Two groups of travelers-many and few.
• Two lifestyles-the sayers and the doers.
• Two inevitable ends-being thrown in the Lake of Fire and entering the 
kingdom of heaven.

After the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus specifically warns everyone to flee-to 
avoid the Lake of Fire at all costs by doing whatever it takes to not end up
there. He warns us over forty times in the Gospel of Matthew alone. Since 
Jesus preached on hell so much, we need to give this doctrine, tough as it 
may
be, the attention He wants it to have. Therefore, today and tomorrow we will 
look at many references in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus warned about
hell. Because the doctrine of hell is being lost by our generation as a true 
doctrine, it would be a good idea to mark these in your Bible. (Emphasis 
added
to the verses.)

Jesus Describes Hell:The Pharisees and Sadducees who came to Jesus' baptism 
were vehemently asked, "Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" 
(3:7).
Following that rebuke was an illustration of a tree that does not bear good 
fruit being "thrown into the fire" (3:10) and worthless chaff that is burned
up "with unquenchable fire" (3:12).

In one of Christ's most well-attended sermons (probably over 30,000 people), 
Jesus said that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause "shall be
in danger of hell fire" (5:22). In verses 29-30, He went on to warn that if 
one part of your body causes you to practice sin, it is better to get rid of
it than have "your whole body to be cast into hell." He was convinced that 
there is a judgment coming for those who never turn from their sin, repent 
of
their iniquity, and embrace Christ as their only hope. And so it was very 
loving to warn them of such consequences ahead.

Jesus warned to choose His narrow path because the broad one "leads to 
destruction" (7:13). The person who does not bear good fruit is to be 
"thrown into
the fire" (7:19) and will hear His "I never knew you; depart from Me, you 
who practice lawlessness!" (7:23). Jesus pointed out that what matters is 
not
merely saying the right thing-it is what you do in life that counts. 
Everything Jesus said about
salvation
in all four Gospels, and the need to bear good fruit, is summarized right 
here in these verses where He is basically saying: "Salvation is not based 
on
whether or not you said and did great things; it is whether or not God did 
something inside of you. That is what the gospel is all about. When the 
gospel
takes root in the heart, it brings forth good fruit."

Jesus said that the "sons of the kingdom" would be "cast out into outer 
darkness" (a place of inky black, impenetrable darkness) where there will be 
"weeping
and gnashing of teeth" (8:12). In verses 28-29 we see a testimony from the 
other side-from a demon, an immortal intelligence, a living spirit that has
phenomenal powers that are thousands of years old, and has been in the very 
presence of God. Look at what this demon says: "Have You come here to 
torment
us before the time?" The demons know that Jesus is the Judge, and that there 
is a time of torment and inescapable judgment coming. For them, however, 
there
is no hope, no opportunity for salvation; they chose instead to go in 
rebellion with the devil, thereby denying God and going against Him. But we 
are the
ones that the angels look at in wonder. Why? Because we have the Son of God 
who became a Son of Man so that the sons of men could become sons of God!

In Matthew 10:15 Jesus warned that "it will be more tolerable for the land 
of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!" Even in 
hell
there are levels of tolerability. For those who have grown up hearing the 
gospel and seeing it lived before them, it will be excruciating to have that
awareness of how close they came to knowing Him, but never embracing Him, 
than for the person who is in hell because of being a sinner rather than 
rejecting
Jesus. And so it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah 
(the land characterized by homosexuality, bestiality, and sinful, grotesque
licentiousness) than for the people who have had the light of the gospel 
upon them. Therefore, in verse 28 Jesus says to "fear Him who is able to 
destroy
both soul and body in hell" (10:28).

Jesus warned that it would be "more tolerable" (Matthew 11:22-24) in the day 
of judgment for Tyre and Sidon and the land of Sodom than for those who 
dwelled
in cities where He'd done mighty works. Why? Because Jesus lived there; it 
was His hometown, and His ministry headquarters. Those people actually lived
with God and chose to reject Him. Although they lived with the miracles of 
heaven around them, they told Jesus: "All that You do is great, but we 
really
don't care about that. We want our sins more than You."

Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, would "not be forgiven . 
. . , either in this age or in the age to come" (12:32). Hell is all about
unforgiven, unatoned for, and uncleansed sins. In verse 36, Jesus said that 
for every idle word that man speaks, he will "give account of it in the day
of judgment." No one goes to hell; the condemned are cast into hell. The 
initial place called Hades is where people go before the judgment, and it 
will
only be emptied momentarily at judgment time. At the end, as it says in 
Revelation 20, whoever does not have his name written in the Book of Life 
will stand before God speechless, and acknowledge that He is just and right to 
send him to hell.

To find this message online,
click here.
http://www.crosswalkmail.com/rnktrwcvtjtpclvqpkfbhpyhcwplnffljgchrrqkjgwwkkc_uqnnqgpqgwgm.html
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit
discoverthebook.org.

C.S. Lewis Daily

Today's Reading

On love

There are two kinds of love: we love wise and kind and beautiful people 
because we need them, but we love (or try to love) stupid and disagreeable 
people
because they need us. This second kind is the more divine because that is 
how God loves us: not because we are lovable but because He is love, not 
because
He needs to receive but He delights to give.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Words to Live By

The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 
1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.
Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide 
for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All 
rights
reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Spiritual Fruit – Joy

"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 fruit of love is the first part of the fruit that the Holy Spirit gives 
to believers. The fruit of joy is the second part. What is joy? Joy is a 
quality of life and not an emotion. Happiness is an emotion that depends on 
circumstances. Joy is something deep in the life of a Christian that is 
there no matter what the circumstances. We see this in the following verses:

" Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, 
not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4, NIV)

"You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, 
you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you 
became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia." (1 
Thessalonians 1:6-7, NIV)

Some may try to grow their own joy instead of letting it be grown by the 
Holy Spirit. They put on a happy face and are happy when things are going 
well and may even put on a good face when things are not going well. There 
are some people that are just naturally perky but it does not necessarily 
come from the Holy Spirit. One does not have to put on a show all the time 
but may have deep everlasting joy deep within when things are not going 
well.

I pray you will have happiness in your life but more than that, I pray you 
will have the true joy that only God can give.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so 
that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 
15:13, NIV)

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

Evangelism at Ease
Jenny Frank / July 9, 2014
Evangelism at Ease

Sweaty hands and a gnawing in the stomach. Nervous thoughts that can’t sort 
themselves out fast enough. The all too cognitive sense that the words 
coming
out are forced, a formula you’d rather memorize than fumble through.

If you’ve ever tried to intentionally share the gospel with an unbeliever, 
you might relate to such an experience.

Throughout college, and especially this past year in Central Asia, it has 
been a journey trying to discern how to point a dying world to the living 
Messiah.
When I have found myself in situations feeling prompted to share the gospel, 
too often I have landed upon one of two methods: saying nothing, or saying
something really awkward that might even come off as insincere. Both 
approaches have left me more than a little frustrated with myself. I want to 
be intentional
but natural, bold but organic, and I’ve often been caught in this distressed 
dance of trying to conjure authenticity.

Introducing a Person

If you’re like me, often what trips us up is the anticipation that someone’s 
reaction to our bringing up matters of faith will spawn a wave of 
interrogating
questions we can’t answer. When we don’t have the answers, we worry that we’ll 
give Christianity a bad name, as if by talking at all we’ll do more harm
than good. I wonder, though, if we have created so much pressure for 
ourselves to deliver a paradigm that we fail to introduce a Person.

What if in our interactions with unbelievers, we stopped fearing that we 
might misrepresent Christianity, getting caught up in explaining away the 
Crusades
and analogizing the Trinity, and instead just talked about who Jesus is? 
What if we simply introduce people to the Jesus we know, and let him speak 
for
himself?

If we know anything about the Jesus we follow, we ought to know that he can 
handle things — that he is the sovereign Savior who always knows exactly 
what
he’s doing. Look at the Gospel accounts and you won’t see a man pining for a 
following (John 6:66–67). You won’t see a man hesitant to dissuade the 
apathetic
from the cost of discipleship (Matthew 19:16–22). You won’t see a man 
beating around the bush afraid to offend his listeners (John 6:60–65; Luke 
9:57–62).
What if we are simply called to make this Jesus known and let God be the one 
to draw his own to himself? Russell Moore explains,

You need not be intimidated by unbelievers, as though what you need is a 
more nuanced “worldview” to protect the kingdom of God from their threats. 
Yes,
we engage in apologetic arguments, but those aren’t at the hub of our 
mission. . . . We should talk about those things lovingly, but not so we can 
defend
the faith. We engage others only so we can get to the only announcement that 
assaults the blinding power of the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4). The
gospel is big enough to fight for itself. (
Tempted and Tried,
110–111)

His Purposes, Not Ours

Rarely are we quick to imbibe Paul’s methodology, forsaking eloquence and 
superior wisdom to only know Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1–3). We tend
to forget that even the most compelling arguments, the most logical 
defenses, cannot draw a heart to Jesus, because it is Jesus who draws a 
heart to Jesus.

In the presence of unbelievers, speak freely. Tell stories about Jesus from 
the Gospels. Talk about how he is at work in your life. Ponder aloud what 
you
admire about him. And then leave it in their court. There’s a time to press 
the conscience, but it doesn’t need to be every time. If Jesus intrigues 
them,
encourage them to read more about him in Scripture. If they are averse to 
Jesus, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It’s not about your ability to 
convince
anyone of anything. It’s not about you at all, actually. It’s about a man — 
the God-man — who came to redeem, restore, relieve, reform, forgive, 
challenge,
convict, rebuke, and sometimes even confuse (Matthew 13:13–15).

Get out of the way and let him do his work.


Reformation and the Critics
Douglas Wilson / July 8, 2014
Reformation and the Critics

The Reformation was a great work of the Holy Spirit of God, and it was a 
royal mess. Is there a problem?

One of the problems we have when we remember and appreciate great events 
from the past — which of course we ought to do — is that a number of these 
messy
details fall away and are forgotten. This means that when we pray for a 
return of such a kindness — a divine intervention, an awakening, a 
reformation
— we frequently have a wildly distorted view of what we are actually asking 
for. Reformations are never accomplished to the sound of polite golf 
applause
in the background.

When Critics Triple

There are many examples of this principle — ranging from the presence of 
sweat to the palpable need for courage — but I want to focus on one 
particular
aspect of it. Those laboring in the work of reformation, those praying for 
God to grant us a great revival, often do their preparatory work in the face
of great criticism. Often the critics are very capable, and their arguments 
are cogent. Those working for reformation are sometimes tempted to redouble
their efforts, not to mention their prayers, in the belief that the arrival 
of a great reformation would finally vindicate them against their critics.
What it would more likely do is triple the number of their critics. The 
critics don’t go away until the reformer has been dead for a safe number of 
years,
and it is time to burnish his legacy.

Jesus talked about this phenomenon. We know we are to honor the great men of 
old because we have seen their tombs and monuments (Matthew 23:29–32). We
don’t see the crowd gathered in front of that prophet’s house back in the 
day, with the mob’s leader swinging a rope around menacingly, and we 
certainly
don’t see that mob leader’s great-great-grandson as the most likely 
candidate to be the chairman of the board of trustees of the historical 
society dedicated
to preserving the mausoleum of the great prophet who at one time walked 
among us.

Historical Mayhem

The critics of reformation are such because the reformation has not yet 
carried the day. Once it carries the day, they will consolidate behind the 
gains
of that reformation as a very effective way to manipulate it toward their 
own ends, and to sandbag against the next reformation.

I have sometimes entertained myself with thoughts of great men from the past 
paying a time travel visit to institutions that were named after them. Many
of these thought experiments end with furniture scattered around waiting 
rooms, broken glass, and police sirens in the background. And if you doubt 
that
there could be actual mayhem — for that doesn’t sound as pious as we would 
like — reflect on what happened when Jesus, the name of God, showed up at 
the
place where God made his name to dwell (Deuteronomy 12:11). First he made a 
whip, and then he made a commotion.

The Nature of the Task

The curators of the prophetic presence much prefer it when their prophets 
are deceased, and when they have been deceased for a generation or more, 
they
move out of the zone of criticism entirely. Two generations and it is 
possible to buy a floor buffer for the marble rotunda. But those who prepare 
the
way for reformation have a thankless task and routinely face a barrage of 
criticism. They sometimes grow weary of it, and come to believe that one of 
the
first things that would happen (if the Spirit moved in reformation) is that 
all their former critics would slap their foreheads and say, “Oh! This was
actually all prep work for a great reformation!” As one great essayist put 
it once — I believe it was Montaigne — “don’t hold your breath.”

Please don’t mistake my meaning. There are conversions. Some minds and 
hearts are changed, and wonderful transformations do happen. Critics do 
become advocates,
and persecutors become apostles. But this usually doesn’t reduce the total 
number of critics because the devil keeps them in a nearby warehouse. He 
always
has a ready supply.

So when you start taking a lot of flak, the one thing it should tell you is 
that you are over the target. It is not a sign of everything going wrong. It
is part of the very nature of the task.
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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You

A Word With You
Daily Devotional
No License to Drive - #7169

One of the milestone days of any kid's life is the day they get their 
driver's license. It's usually cause for great excitement and celebrating. 
It's been
about a century, I think, since I first got my driver's license for that 
horse and buggy. But not long ago, I was a teenager again, celebrating 
getting
my license. No, I hadn't lost it. The law didn't take it away. No, my 
license had expired, and the motor vehicle department had mailed my renewal 
form
when my wife and I were on the road during a time of extended ministry.

We'd been traveling to, as we always do during the summer, Native American 
reservations, reaching out to young Native people where they are. Once we 
returned
home, we mailed the form in immediately, and of course the state responded 
with the usual governmental eye-blurring speed, many weeks later. Meanwhile
I was one frustrated man. I like to drive, but I had to be a passenger for 
weeks. I kept getting in on the wrong side of the car. I had served very 
little
time in the passenger's seat. But once I got past my initial pouting, I've 
got to say I assumed a different identity. I mean, there were some 
advantages
to being a passenger. I never knew this before. I got a lot of work done 
when someone else was driving. I even got a little sleep that I probably 
shouldn't
have gotten when I was driving.

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

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Chronicles 20. We hear 
about King Jehoshaphat, a man who's used to driving, until the day several
powerful armies formed an alliance and came against him with an overwhelming 
force. In fact, he is praying in verse 12, "O our God, will you not judge
them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We 
do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."

There is a crisis here that Jehoshaphat's in, but there might be some issues 
here that you could relate to right now in your situation. Like how about
this? No power to face it. Does that sound familiar? "A vast army"...You 
don't know what to do. Pretty bleak, except for one hope factor, "Our eyes 
are
upon You."

In verse 15, God says, "This is what the Lord says to you. Do not be afraid 
or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours but 
God's."
God is saying, "Move over, man. You've got no business driving right now. 
I'll drive." Here was a king that was used to driving. He's king, but he 
learned
to be a passenger because of an overwhelming situation, and the result was 
an overwhelming victory.

Verse 29: "The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when 
they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel." This 
isn't
the first time the Lord took over an impossible battle and won it. Think 
about when David went against Goliath. David said, "The battle is the 
Lord's."
The giant was bigger than David, but God was bigger than the giant.

Frankly, the outcome of your battle will depend on who's driving. Are you? 
See, most of us are control freaks. We insist on controlling what really 
matters
to us. We insist on controlling who really matters to us. But spiritually, 
you and I were never meant to have a license to drive. That's what it means
when you talk about the Lord Jesus Christ. He drives; we ride. He can't be 
our passenger. It seems so risky to let go of the wheel, doesn't it? I'll 
tell
you what. It's a lot more risky to hang on to it. The battle is the Lord's.

The very essence of our broken relationship with God is that we've been 
driving the life that He was meant to. In the words of Scripture, speaking 
of Jesus,
"All things were created by Him and for Him." You and I were created by 
Jesus. We were created for Him. We're supposed to be revolving our lives 
around
Him. Instead, we have taken over the wheel and hijacked our life from the 
One who gave it to us, who we will face in judgment one day, except for the 
fact
that Christ came to be the cure of this sin cancer by dying on the cross. 
And all of the years of rebellion and disobedience that have amounted to a 
death
sentence for us.

That could be forgiven for you today if you turn over the wheel to Jesus. I 
would love to help you know how to get started with that. If you go to our
website ANewStory.com, I think your new story could start today.

I had to be forced to give up driving by not having my license. But I 
learned one thing; a lot can get done when someone else is driving; 
especially when
that someone is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

6 Tips on Sharing the Gospel with Mormons
John Wallace

People often ask me what the secret is to reaching Latter-day Saints with 
the simple gospel of grace. While I certainly don’t have any sure-fire 
methods
to persuade any given Mormon to come out of Mormonism and into simple, 
saving faith in Jesus Christ, I have learned some hard-fought lessons that 
might
be helpful to the concerned Christian who wishes to have more fruitful 
dialogue with their LDS friends and loved ones. I've decided to break these 
down
into four Do's and two Don'ts. First, the Don'ts.

Tip #1: Don't assume that all Mormons are alike or that they all believe 
the exact same doctrines. Resist the urge to tell them what they believe, 
even
if you are an expert in Mormon
theology.
Ask open-ended questions in the spirit of genuinely seeking to better 
understand their personal beliefs and values. For example, many 
well-meaning
Christians
are quick to point out to their LDS counterparts that Mormons are not saved 
because they believe in a “different Jesus.†While this may be true, I can’t
think of anything that will more quickly shut down earnest dialogue. Better 
to say, “Hey that’s great, we both believe in Jesus and that He is the Son
of God. Let’s talk about Jesus and what He did at the cross…†In the 
course of dialogue, your LDS friend will clearly see for himself how 
radically different
(and superior) the Jesus of the Bible is compared to the Jesus of Mormonism.

Tip #2: Don’t refer to Mormonism as a “cult†when talking with a Latter-day 
Saint. Does the LDS church fit the definition of a cult? Absolutely. But
the word itself is toxic, especially to the Mormon that has spent his or her 
entire life within the safe confines of what they believe to be God’s “one
true church.†Furthermore, most Mormons associate the word cult with 
“occult†(an irony too extensive to discuss here), and will likely shut down 
dialogue
with you if you insist on calling them cult members. Remember, our 
objective is not to win an argument but rather to win them to God’s truth! 
So bite
your tongue on this one.

Tip #3: Ask your Mormon friends about their opinion of the Bible. Do they 
find it to be a trustworthy source of truth? If so, challenge them to read
through the New Testament as if they were a child. In other words, to read 
it just for the sake of absorbing its message; not to prove or disprove any
religious system, including their own. (Amazing things happen when 
religious people begin to read about God’s “free gift†of forgiveness and 
eternal life!)
If, on the other hand, they believe the Bible to be corrupted and incomplete 
(as most Mormons do), ask them how they came to that conclusion. Ask them
to provide you with proof to substantiate that claim. Ask them what they 
know about the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the powerful implications of that 
discovery.
Be prepared to show them that the Bible has, in fact, been “translated 
correctly,†and transmitted to us over the many centuries with an 
astonishing degree
of accuracy.

Tip #4: Jesus proclaimed in no uncertain terms that a man must be “born 
again†in order to enter His Father’s kingdom. Ask your LDS friend, “Do you 
believe
that you have been born again of God’s Spirit?†If they respond 
affirmatively, follow up with, “And how did that born again experience 
impact you, change
you, transform you?†Most Latter-day Saints I know would struggle to answer 
this last question. This then would be your opportunity to share with them
the amazing ways in which God has radically changed your heart from the 
inside out. Find words to express the peace you have now that you know your 
sins
are forgiven; that you are right with God; that you no longer fear death or 
judgment; and that you now genuinely love God and want nothing more than to
live a life that pleases Him! No one can rebut your testimony.

Tip #5: Share your awe at the accuracy of Bible prophecy and, specifically, 
the ways in which ancient prophecies regarding Israel and the middle-east
appear to be coming to pass right before our eyes: the re-establishment of 
Israel as a nation, the Jews’ desire to rebuild a temple on the temple mount
in Jerusalem, the dusting off of ancient Babylon (and ongoing plans to 
rebuild it), etc. Keep in mind that Joseph Smith taught that “New 
Jerusalem†would
be established in Jackson County, Missouri. In fact, virtually all of his 
end-time “prophecies†were America-centric, not Israel-centric. More and 
more
Latter-day Saints are coming to realize that Joseph Smith’s vision of the 
end of days is not at all rounding into shape. It is our opportunity (and 
duty)
to show our LDS friends that the Bible is, in fact, prophetically accurate 
in every detail. Let them come to their own conclusion that, although 
Joseph
Smith was many things, a prophet he was not.

Tip #6: I am encouraged that Mormons are leaving their faith in record 
numbers, and I believe this trend will continue. Sadly, many leave the LDS 
church
and have no idea where to turn, often concluding that if Mormonism isn’t 
true, then nothing is! Be prepared to answer their questions as they dip 
their
toes into the cool waters of God’s grace. I highly recommend Answering 
Mormons’ Questions by Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson, a wonderful one-stop 
resource
book to help you in this area. My new book Starting at the Finish Line: 
The Gospel of Grace for Mormons is unique in that it presents the “good 
newsâ€
of the gospel, and makes it sound like good news to the Latter-day Saint.

Dr. John Wallace is author of the ground-breaking new book,
Starting at the Finish Line: The Gospel of Grace for Mormons.
John was a devout member of the LDS church for 20 years but now serves on 
the pastoral staff at Calvary Chapel Westgrove in Garden Grove, California.
He also practices dentistry in Southern California.

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Walk by the Light of His Love - Alternative View - July 3
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to do a mighty work. Maybe you are wondering how God could possibly use 
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Featured Sermon
from
LightSource.com

Dr. Michael Youssef
Leading The Way

The essential thing in the Christian life!

(J.R. Miller)

"No longer do I call you servants; but I have called you friends!" John 
15:15

For myself, after all my years of teaching and helping others, and all my 
experiences as a Christian, my whole creed is summed up into one little 
sentence,
"Christ and I are friends!" No friend in all the world is so near to me as 
He is. I trust Him, I love Him. I take everything to Him, I lay every burden
upon Him. I go to Him for wisdom, for help, for the love I need in my own 
heart. He is everything to me as Friend.

Christ is my personal Friend. He is my dearest, truest, strongest and best 
Friend!

Then for myself, my whole duty is summed up in being a friend of Christ's. 
He says, "You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you." This 
includes
all Scripture commands.

In telling you this, I want to help you to understand that the essential 
thing in the Christian life is knowing Christ, trusting Him, loving Him, 
following
Him, having Christ for your Friend--and being His friend.

The secret of a beautiful life is living in unbroken fellowship with Christ, 
under the influence of His presence, and the inspiration of His love and 
grace.

~ ~ ~ ~

J.R. Miller
is the all-time favorite author of our subscribers. Many have written and 
asked where they can purchase hardcopy books of J.R. Miller.

SGCB is having a special sale on J.R. Miller's superb 380 page book, "
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Spiritual Fruit – Love

"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)

There is only one fruit of the Spirit but it has nine parts. In our study of 
the gifts of the Holy Spirit we learned that the greatest gift was love. As 
we see in the Scripture from the book of Galatians above this is the first 
part of the fruit that comes from the Holy Spirit. If we don’t have love 
then we cannot grow the other fruits of the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 13 we 
find that love is patient, love is kind, etc. so if you don’t have love then 
the other parts of the fruit won’t grow.

In the Greek language there were three different words for love. One was 
eros which was the love between a man and a woman. Phileo is the tender love 
between friends. The Greek word used in the Scripture above is Agape. This 
is the deep love for God. It is never used to mean love for someone or 
something other than God.

Someone may have a lot of phileo love for others but could be creating his 
own fruit. So it seems like he has agape love also but this may not be the 
case. As we see below the only place we can get the agape love is from God. 
It is not something we can create:

" Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from 
God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does 
not love does not know God, for God is love." (
1 John 4:7-8, NLT)

So if you have been creating your own fruit of love, accept Jesus Christ as 
your Savior and accept the agape love of God so that you can show His love 
to all around you.

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List

How Your Church Can Change the World
by Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of 
Jimmy Seibert’s new book
Passion & Purpose: Believing the Church Can Still Change the World
(Clear Day Publishing, 2014).

What do you plan to do the next time you’re in church? Listening to a 
sermon, singing songs, praying, and talking with other believers are all 
noble activities.
But God intends for church to be much more than just a local place to find 
inspiration; Gods wants it to be a place where He empowers people to join 
Him
in the work of redeeming this fallen world.

If you approach church as a place to passionately pursue Jesus and devote 
yourself to fulfilling His purposes—like the people of the early church 
did—then
you and your church can be a part of changing the world for the better. Here’s 
how:

Love your neighbors as a way of loving Jesus. Jesus said that two goals 
summarize what’s most important in life: 1) loving God with all your heart, 
soul,
and mind and 2) loving your neighbors as much as you love yourself. Those 
two commands are meant to work together; so, don’t try to separate them. 
Every
day, aim to do your best loving the people around you (both fellow believers 
and people who are spiritually lost) as a way of expressing your love for
God. When you pursue this along with others in your church community, you 
can transform whole neighborhoods for the better. Get to know your neighbors’
real needs without making assumptions about what those needs are. Then 
develop friendships with your neighbors so you can walk alongside them as 
the Holy
Spirit guides you all to meet needs and solve problems together.

Rely on the Holy Spirit to empower you every day. Instead of trying to do 
ministry work out of your own limited abilities, make a habit of inviting 
the
Holy Spirit to work through you as you minister to people through your 
church. Read the
book of Acts
in the Bible and notice the different ways that the Holy Spirit showed up 
among early church members. Pray for the Spirit to show up in your own life
and church in the same ways. Surrender every part of your life completely to 
God to prepare yourself for the adventures the Spirit wants to lead you to
pursue.

Fight fear. Whenever you feel afraid, ask God to give you the
faith
you need to overcome that fear and move forward in whatever ways you sense 
Him leading you to take action. Keep in mind that God promises to be with 
you
every step of the way on the adventures he has planned for you—so, just do 
what’s next and trust Him to keep guiding you. Expect that God will 
compensate
for your own weaknesses by giving you the strength you need to do whatever 
He calls you to do—from giving financially to support your church’s mission
work to volunteering for your church’s service projects.

Grow closer to God through spiritual disciplines. Practicing spiritual 
disciplines each day will strengthen your connection with God and keep it 
consistently
growing, which will prepare you well to serve others through your church. 
Make
prayer
your first priority each morning after you wake up. Read, study, think 
about, and apply the Bible’s wisdom every day. Fast regularly as you seek 
God.
Share the Gospel message with the people you encounter each day. Help new 
believers grow in their faith. Create a lifestyle of service in the context 
of
your church’s community.

Let your brokenness motivate you to rely on yourself less and on God more. 
Invite God to use the brokenness in your life to prepare you to be used the
fullest in His kingdom. Choose to humbly submit to God’s work in you; when 
you do, there is no limit to what He can do through you for the world around
you. Your biggest past struggles can become your greatest areas of future 
ministry.

Open your heart and your hands. Be willing to give your resources (time, 
money, energy, talent, etc.) whenever God calls you to use them to serve 
others
through your church. Choose to obey God, no matter what it costs you to do 
so. Trust God’s promise to take care of your own needs when you faithfully 
give
to others in need.

Pursue revival from the inside out. When you pursue personal revival, you 
position yourself for God to use you in a revival of your entire community. 
Confess
your sins regularly to God in prayer, and repent of them by doing whatever 
God shows you it takes to be free of them in the future. Study the Bible to
find verses that relate to the specific types of sin for which you’re 
repenting. Then absorb those biblical truths into your mind, replacing 
previous wrong
thinking about those issues, renouncing evil, and asking God to establish a 
new pattern of faithful attitudes and actions in those areas of your life.

Ask God to dream His dreams through you and your church. Pray that God would 
work through you and other people at your church to accomplish goals that
He is thinking about in heaven and wants to get done through faithful 
vessels on Earth. As each of you do your part, more of God’s purposes on 
Earth will
be fulfilled.

Establish strong foundations for ministry at your church and all new church 
plants. Encourage everyone in your congregation—from children to senior 
citizens—to
pursue ministry work however God leads them to do so. Set aside at least 20 
percent of the church budget for missions. Emphasize teamwork, in which the
individual contributions of everyone—whether staff member or volunteer—are 
equally valuable. Urge the people in your church to pray together regularly
for the church’s mission work. Establish solid processes to train, equip, 
and evaluate people who want to join your church’s mission work.

Help transform your spheres of influence. Join God in His work changing 
people’s lives beyond your church’s congregation. Let your witness and 
service
extend beyond your church to impact people in all of your various spheres of 
influence. Ask God to give you specific opportunities to help change the 
lives
of people with whom you have relationships through societal areas like: 
neighborhood, business, medical, social justice, arts, politics, sports, and 
education.

Adapted from
Passion & Purpose: Believing the Church Can Still Change the World,
copyright 2014 by Jimmy Seibert. Published by Clear Day Publishing, a 
division of Clear Day Media Group, Brentwood, TN,
www.cleardaypublishing.com.

Jimmy Seibert is the senior pastor of
Antioch Community Church
in Waco, Texas, as well as the founder and president of Antioch Ministries 
International (AMI). He has served the Antioch church in that role since its
establishment in 1999. Jimmy is passionate about loving God and making Him 
known in all the earth. He and his wife, Laura, have been involved in 
training
and sending out church planters for more than 26 years, seeing hundreds of 
Christians go to the mission field. Under their leadership Antioch Community
Church has grown and impacted Waco, Texas, and planted 70 churches in the 
United States and around the world. Jimmy and his wife, Laura, have been 
married
for 27 years. Their children include their daughter Abby and her husband, 
Kyle Van Hecke, daughter Lauren, and two sons, Caleb, and Daniel.

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.

Publication date: June 27, 2014______________________________
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How to Stop Praying and Start Doing What God Wants You to Do
Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of 
Greg Darley’s new book
Wasted Prayer: Know When God Wants You to Stop Praying and Start Doing
(Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2014).

Prayer
isn’t always a good thing. Yes, it’s an essential part of living a faithful 
life, since praying is how believers usually communicate with God. But just
like any gift from God, even prayer can be misused.

How? By praying about something you already know God wants you to do. If you’re 
continuing to pray rather than taking action, you’re wasting valuable time
and energy praying. Here’s how to stop praying about what you already sense 
God leading you to do and start actually doing it:

Ask the Holy Spirit to bring specific calls of action your attention. 
Recognize the various ways in which God is telling you to stop praying and 
start
acting now. Some possibilities include: forgiving people who have hurt you, 
apologizing to people you have hurt, changing jobs, tithing your income to
your church and charities, going on a diet, seeking help for an addiction, 
ending an unhealthy romantic relationship, getting engaged, having a baby or
adopting, spending more time with your kids, stopping gossiping, pursuing 
more education, downsizing your home, working on a specific project that 
could
help others, or volunteering for a specific service opportunity.

Identify the issues behind your reluctance to act. Reflect honestly on why 
you’re hesitating to act and continuing to pray instead. The main underlying
issue is whether or not you believe that what God has called you to do is 
ultimately in your best interests. Other issues – such as procrastination, 
isolation,
and pride – may also be involved. Do you really believe that following God 
is better than not following Him in each instance where you sense Him 
nudging
you to move forward? Why or why not? What will it take to help you obey God’s 
call to action?

Choose to avoid regrets. Imagine what your life could be like in the future 
when you look back on the decisions you’re making today. Will you regret 
losing
time praying about something that you could have spent acting on, or will 
you enjoy a stronger
faith
that comes from having said “yes” to God and watching Him work through you 
as result? Keep in mind that most of your regrets will come from 
opportunities
you didn’t seize than from mistakes you’ve made.

Trade reactive prayer for proactive prayer. Instead of reactive prayer 
(which focuses only on the transactions you hope will happen between you and 
God
in response to events in your life), practice proactive prayer (which 
focuses on developing a closer relationship with God). Rather than praying 
only when
you need God to help you with something that happens in your life – such as 
when someone you know gets sick or you need help making a decision in a 
confusing
situation – pray regularly, with the goal of getting to know God better. 
Then your intimacy with God will increase, which will strengthen the trust 
between
you and God – giving you the confidence you need to act on God’s guidance 
whenever He leads you to do something.

Overcome procrastination. If you’re hesitating acting on what God is leading 
you to do, realize that you may be justifying your decision by figuring that
you can always say “yes” to God tomorrow and still consider yourself 
faithful. Then recognize that God doesn’t want you to wait. God’s timing is 
always
perfect, so whenever He first calls you to do something, it’s the right time 
to act. If you don’t know how to do what God is calling you to do, don’t let
that stop you from taking action. All God expects you to do is to take the 
first step toward obedience – and as you do, He will teach you how to 
proceed
from there.

Overcome isolation. God is constantly calling you to love your neighbors 
(the other people in your life), so that’s not something you have to pray 
about;
it’s a given. If you isolate yourself from community, you won’t be able to 
faithfully act on God’s call to love your neighbors in the many ways He 
calls
you to express love to them. Also, isolation fuels doubt, which makes it 
more difficult for you to answer God’s calls to action. Invest your time and 
energy
into building meaningful relationships with the people around you. Whenever 
you learn about the needs of people you know, don’t simply tell them that 
you’re
praying for them; actually do something to help them, if at all possible.

Overcome pride. Pride can paralyze you when God calls you to do something, 
because pride makes you afraid of what other people will think of you, which
makes you afraid to take the risks God calls you to take. Realize that it’s 
far more important to please God than it is to try to please other people.
So don’t worry about other people’s expectations; instead, focus simply on 
obeying God. Admit your fears to God and pray for His help to overcome them;
God will respond by giving you peace. The more you communicate with God 
through prayer, the more trust you’ll develop in your relationship with Him, 
which
will make it easier for you to move forward with confidence when He calls 
you do something. The more you respond to God’s calls to serve people in 
need,
the more you’ll develop humility that will counteract pride in your life.

Consider the impact your action or inaction will have on others. Keep in 
mind that your choice to act – or not – will often affect not just you, but 
also
other people. If you do what God leads you to do, your actions can affect a 
large amount of people, helping them in ways that God knows but that you can’t
foresee. Also, your choice to act will inspire others to act on what God is 
calling them to do when they see you move forward in faith. If you don’t act
on what God leads you to do, many people will potentially miss out on 
blessings they otherwise could have experienced from God working through 
you.

Adapted from
Wasted Prayer: Know When God Wants You to Stop Praying and Start Doing,
copyright 2014 by Greg Darley. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, 
Nashville, Tn.,
www.thomasnelson.com.


Devotions by Christine Caine - Undaunted

Read
Isaiah 49:1–7

Isaiah celebrates his calling to be God’s servant and the fact that God 
named him and equipped him to fulfill his calling before he was born.

I Have a Name

Why is it so hard to choose first what God says about us? Why do we listen 
to the voices of others more than his? Labels, insults, attempts to 
overwhelm
and limit and thereby control us—these have no place in the life of the 
believer. God has freed us.

Finding out I was adopted was a big surprise. I held the papers in my hand 
and stared at the number put there in place of a name. But then I felt a 
nudge
that I knew came from God: Open my Word to
Isaiah 49.
It was the voice of my heavenly Father: certain, soothing, strong. I began 
to read at verse 1: “The Lord has called Me from the womb; from the matrix 
of
my mother he has made mention of my name.” The verse warmed and calmed me. I 
was not an accident. I was not unwanted. I was not unchosen. God had not 
left
me out, overlooked me, or chosen instead someone more gifted, talented, 
better looking, or smarter.

I gasped. This was the truth: Before I became a number, I had a name. I had 
always had a name. I laughed. All the details about who I was and who I 
would
be were determined before I even began to take shape: my eye color and shoe 
size, the curve of my smile, the length of my legs. God shaped my body and
my spirit. He created the sound of my voice and loop of my penmanship, the 
strength of my grip and capacities of my mind.

I felt the Lord speaking directly to me: “These documents in front of you 
don’t define you or your destiny. My Word is the final authority on that. 
And
I formed you. Your freedom will be determined by whether you allow what I 
think and say about you to matter more than what anyone else thinks or says.
You reflect my glory.”

I breathed deep and exhaled. God’s words were like fresh air; uplifting me 
as the fog of facts and fiction that afternoon began to burn away. I would 
not
be defined by a pile of papers written by human hands. I would put my trust 
in God and his Word.

Point to Ponder

Isn’t it strange how in doubt and dismay, we do some weird math? We see or 
hear things and add them up incorrectly. We choose to believe what may be 
somewhat
factual but simply isn’t true. We accept what someone else has said, forcing 
us to conclude something false about ourselves. Will you embrace who God 
says
you are?

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!
----------------------------------------------------------

Subscription Info

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

This email was sent to dwmasters15@gmail.com by Bible Gateway, 3900 Sparks 
Drive SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 USA. This email is part of a devotional or
newsletter that you signed up for on BibleGateway.com. If you have questions 
or comments about this newsletter, please contact us at 
support@biblegateway.com.

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

Experiencing LIFE Today
----------------------------------------------------------

The Christ within who is our hope of glory is not... a hobby, a part-time 
project, a good theme for a book, or a last resort when all human effort 
fails.
He is our life, the most real fact about us. He is the power and wisdom of 
God dwelling within us. — Brennan Manning

Does Christ in me change anything? Absolutely.
• Since Jesus is in us, we can truly experience life. Not just experiencing 
any life – the life of Christ. Far beyond salaries, pensions and square 
footage.
Far beyond fertility, infertility, loss, and success. We experience the 
fullness of the life of Christ because He is in us.
• Since Jesus is in us, we can experience life with endurance. When we feel 
worn out, we can keep going. When our patience feels depleted, we can still
love well because He is in us.
• Since Christ is in us, we can say no to sin. If we are in Christ, sin is 
temporary insanity. It is not who we are. It’s not where we belong. We’ve 
died
to indwelling sin and are alive in Christ because He is in us.
• And as we allow Him to live through us, our lives will matter because He 
is in us.
“I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, 
you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

For hungry souls starving to find purpose, this changes everything. We 
desire to make our lives count. We desire purpose and legacy. With Jesus in 
us,
we are promised that our life will offer nourishment to others.

So let me ask you, does being indwelt by God change anything? No, not just 
anything – everything: I was dead, now I live. I was tired, now I persevere.
I was defeated, now I’m victorious. I was consumed by self and now, offer 
nourishment for others.

But even more than that, I’m participating in the divine life. It’s the 
closest intimacy with God available here on earth. I’m never alone I’m 
always able
– because He is in me... and if you’ve opened your heart to Him and let Him 
in, He is in you, too.

Jesus, thank You for making my heart, mind, body, and soul Your home. I’m 
like the rough-hewn manger carrying the world’s most precious treasure – 
You!
I’ve been handling Your indwelling like an electrical current, turning my 
surrender on and off like a switch. Today, in a new way, I ask that You 
would
make me aware of the truth about switch. Today, in a new way, I ask that You 
would make me aware of the truth about Your constant presence and power in
me. Here I am Lord. I’m ready to experience Your life. Amen.

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

The Triumphant Christ
by David Wilkerson

June 16, 2014

We are all familiar with the story of David and Goliath. It
is a tale of God's chosen man facing down a giant enemy and
defeating him. To me, it is one of Scripture's clearest
illustrations of the triumphant Christ.

As the story begins, the Philistines have come against
Israel. Every day Goliath, the Philistines' champion
warrior, came forth to taunt the Israelite army. He was a
huge man, armed from head to toe: "The weight of (his) coat
was five thousand shekels of brass" (1 Samuel 17:5). Day
after day the very sight of him was intimidating to Israel:
"He stood and cried unto the armies of Israel...give me a
man, that we may fight together" (17:8, 10, my italics).

Of course, Goliath is a type of the devil, and the
Philistine army represents satanic forces, the powers of
hell. Goliath spoke for Satan when he said to God's people,
"You say God is your peace but you tremble in fear. You say
he's triumphant but you're totally intimidated. Admit it,
you are defenseless against me. I have all power over you."

How did Israel react to this giant? "When Saul and all
Israel heard those words...they were dismayed, and greatly
afraid...(they) fled from him...and said, Have you seen this
man...?" (17:11, 24-25). God's people cried, "Do you see the
size of the enemy we're up against?"

If God hadn't sent a deliverer to Israel, what would have
happened? I believe the army would have spiraled into
despair, losing heart and doubting God. One soldier after
another would have deserted, abandoning the fight.

But God had a man of his own: David. When the young
Israelite heard Goliath mocking Israel he was offended. He
demanded, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he
should defy the armies of the living God?" (17:26). David
encouraged Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him:
thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine" (17:32).
Consider his cry as he ran toward Goliath armed with only a
humble slingshot: "The battle is the Lord's" (17:47).

The despairing Israelites saw David load his sling, wind up
and fling a stone - striking Goliath between the eyes! The
blow sent the giant crumpling to the ground. What went
through the Israelites' minds at that moment? They must have
wondered, "Is the giant still alive? Does he have some fight
left?" This is the concept many Christians have of the
devil. They're afraid Christ's work against our enemy is not
completed. So they don't do anything they think might arouse
him.

But David grabbed Goliath's sword, raised the blade and cut
off the giant's head. That's when Israel realized, "It's
over, we've won!" David didn't just leave Goliath stunned;
he finished him off completely. The battle was over and
everyone knew it. Suddenly the Philistines fled with the
Israelites in hot pursuit. In short, Satan was defeated and
his demons were put to flight. And in his glorious triumph,
David made an open show of it for all the world to see:
"David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to
Jerusalem" (1 Samuel 17:54).

The same completed work of triumph took place at the cross.

Jesus didn't leave our enemy, Satan, stunned on the ground.
He completed the job, defeating him and declaring from the
cross, "It is finished." Simply put, "It's all done. I have
defeated your enemy. You never have to fear his condemning
power again."

In Jesus' day, Satan's intimidating voice had roared against
a people burdened down by endless ordinances. Some 630 rules
of flesh had been instituted by the religious leaders, laws
that were meant to merit God's favor. Yet these rules were a
burden too heavy for anyone to carry, and Satan took
advantage.

Every Sabbath, the same discouraging message was heard in
the synagogues: "If you break just one of these laws, you're
guilty of breaking them all." The people knew, "Our fathers
weren't able to keep these rules, and neither are we." God
was misrepresented as a hard ruler, roaring from heaven,
"Obey me or die."

Yet the people's striving accomplished just one thing: It
brought condemnation upon them. In spite of all their
sacrifices, nothing could ease their consciences. And Satan
poured futility on them, barraging them with a continual
sense of hopelessness.

What came out of their despair? A plague of sin broke out.
This always happens when people try to fulfill God's law by
self-effort. They throw up their hands, thinking, "What's
the use? No matter how hard I try I'll still fail."
Hypocrisy was rampant, as sinful men acted holy but remained
filthy inside. Leaders manipulated laws to steal homes from
widows. And a spirit of fear continually hovered over the
entire society.

In utter misery God's people yearned for the Messiah. It was
a cry for freedom from fear, from overpowering sin, from
dread of God's wrath. And in this dark, despairing hour of
Israel's history, God brought forth a man. That man, of
course, was Jesus, son of David and the Son of God. And the
taunting enemy he faced was Satan.

God laid all the sins of humankind - past, present and
future - on Jesus. He also laid on him the judgment due for
all those sins. Therefore, as Jesus shed his blood, gave his
life and descended to the grave, all our sins were buried
with him. Through Christ's sacrifice, God was saying, in
effect, "Enough of striving. Enough of trying to please me
with offerings, deeds and promises. That old mentality went
into the grave with my Son. Only one triumphant man came out
of the grave. Christ alone is in my favor, the one who is
beyond judgment, who has eternal life, who has triumphed."

David's victory was a statement - "It's over, we won!" - and
so it is with our Savior's victory.

"Having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of
them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Colossians 2:15).
Paul is saying here, "Everything that was against us has
been taken out of the way. It was all nailed to the cross."

As we see Jesus being nailed to that cross, he holds in his
hand a long list of our debts of sin. He displays that list
openly to the Father, the angels, all of humankind, and the
devil and his demonic powers. As the nail goes into Jesus'
hand, it also drives through that list of transgressions -
and all of it is canceled. It is finished now; Christ is no
longer fighting. He has won and is in glory, a completely
triumphant man.

Because of his triumph, we must never again fear the devil.
His accusations are all empty. Still, there are many
Christians who know forgiveness and justification but do not
enjoy the triumph of Christ. If you hear him accusing you,
answer him with these words from heaven: "Who shall lay
anything to the charge of the elect? Who is he that
condemneth? If any man sin, we have an advocate."

Sin will always be the giant facing us. Sometimes we fall,
sometimes we're overwhelmed by fears, sometimes we're
tormented by disturbing thoughts. Yet if we're still
intimidated by these things then we're operating in the
wrong body: the old man (flesh) and not the new man (Christ)
who alone is recognized by the Father.

You see, there is much more available to us through the
cross than eternal security and forgiveness. Christ's blood
has power to bring us peace. Sadly, you may have lived in
fear for so long you now wonder, "Will there ever be a time
when I'm at peace? Will I ever have joy without being
intimidated by the devil?"

Yes, it is absolutely possible. It will happen when you get
your eyes off the roaring giant before you and see instead
your triumphant Savior standing over his defeated carcass.
Once the Israelites saw Goliath was dead, they also raced
forth to put the Philistines to flight. They did so because
they knew, "It's over, and we won!" "Thanks be unto God,
which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh
manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place"
(2 Corinthians 2:14).

Though we know unbelief is the worst of sins, at times we
may doubt God's concern for our future.

Right now you may worry, "I'm not triumphant over sin. I
constantly fall into guilt and condemnation. My battle just
never seems to end. In fact, I'm not sure the enemy is fully
defeated in my life. If the enemy is dead, then who is
tempting me?"

I urge you: Look not at the giant facing you but at your
triumphant victor, Jesus. You are not under his judgment. On
the contrary, he has promised you would benefit from his
triumph. Nothing can separate you from his love except
hardened unbelief.

Jude addresses his epistle to saints living in dark times
when the world has gone mad. He says that in order to face
such a battle - to see the triumphant Christ in the midst of
darkness - we must do the following: "(Keep) yourselves in
the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus
Christ unto eternal life" (Jude 21).

Dear saint, do as Jude says. Keep yourself in the knowledge
that God loves you. Remind yourself continually, "In my
every struggle, my every failure, God loves me still." As
you wake up each day, keep yourself in that love and look
for his mercy. It is found in his victory, the triumph of
Christ!

_______________________________________________
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DEAN MASTERS OWNER OF  THE MASTERS LIST

Fruit – Singular or Plural?

"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)

“Fruit of the Spirit” is a biblical term that sums up the nine visual 
attributes of the Christian life. These are not individual “fruits” from 
which we pick and choose. The “fruit of the Spirit” is one nine-fold fruit 
that characterizes all who truly walk in Christ. When we become Christians 
the seed of this fruit is planted in our lives.

Just as some fruit grows better in certain climates so do some attributes 
grow better in some Christians than in others. Some may find it easier to be 
more joyful than patient or more loving than peaceful because of the climate 
they live in. It could be because of the home they live in or where they 
work they find it harder to grow some attributes more than others but all 
the fruit is there in some form.

The devil does not want our fruit to grow. The Song of Solomon calls these 
deterrents foxes that need to be stopped before they destroy the fruit:

15 Catch the foxes for us.
Catch the little foxes.
They destroy our vineyards.
The vineyards are in bloom.”
The woman says, Song of Solomon 2:15 (NIrV)

We will never have perfect fruit with all the attributes until we get to 
heaven. That does not give us an excuse to let some slip by. We all need to 
let the Holy Spirit work in us to grow more of the attributes that have not 
grown much. But be warned, god may use some circumstances as fertilizer 
which one may not particularly like to be in. An example is when one prays 
for patience then they will be put in situations which will try their 
patience. So pray for the Lord to grow His fruit in your life.

by Dean W. Masters
Owner of the Master's List
Unedited redistribution approved 
How the Gospel Can Help You Change
Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of 
Matt Chandler and Michael Snetzer’s new book
Recovering Redemption: A
Gospel-Saturated Perspective on How to Change
(B&H Publishing Group, 2014).

How often have you found yourself doing something you don’t want to do (such 
as overeating, gossiping, drinking too much alcohol, spending too much 
money,
or watching pornography), but can’t seem to help doing? How long have you 
been trying to change a bad habit that persists in your life, only to fall 
back
into the same unhealthy behavior patterns again and again?

Trying to change can be so frustrating that sometimes it may seem as if you’ll 
never experience the transformation you’re seeking. Ye the power to change
is always available to you – if you look for it in the right place: the 
Gospel message. This ultimate message of hope will empower you to change 
your life
whenever you incorporate its principles fully into your life. Here’s how:

• Stop looking for help in the wrong places. People often waste time and 
energy relying on sources other than the Gospel for the power they need to 
change,
only to end up disappointed when those lesser sources fail to truly help 
them. Stop expecting that you can help yourself through willpower or 
self-help
tactics, since you can never be good enough to redeem yourself. Stop 
depending on other people (your spouse, your friends, your parents, etc.) to 
solve
your problems, since they lack the power to do so and that’s an unfair 
burden to put on them. Stop trying to escape from your struggles by 
indulging in
worldly pleasures, since nothing that the world offers can change your life 
in ways that really matter. Stop trying to earn God’s favor through your own
religious efforts, since religious rules and rituals can’t redeem you. Only 
God has the power to truly change your life – and He does so through the 
Gospel’s
principles of redemption.
• Surrender your life completely to God. Rather than trying to force change 
in your life, decide to surrender every part of your life to God. Invite the
Holy Spirit to pull up the diseased roots of your problems and plant new, 
healthy attitudes and behaviors in your life so you can experience the real 
change
you need. Place all of your confidence in God, trusting Him alone to heal 
you from sin and its destructive effects on your life. Choose to believe 
that
God can redeem even the worst situations in your life – those that seem 
completely hopeless – because the Gospel shows that there is always hope 
when God
is at work.
• Pursue a lifestyle of repentance. God is calling you to repent (to agree 
with God that the attitude or behavior you want to change is wrong, and to 
intentionally
walk away from it) not just once, but as an ongoing process of healing 
moving forward. The more you respond to grief about your sins by confessing 
and
repenting of them, the more God will change you. Recognize that guilt and 
shame can fuel sin in your life by causing unhealthy emotions within you 
that
tempt you to keep secrets. So whenever you feel guilt or shame about sin in 
your life, confess it (in prayer to God and to some other believers whom you
trust). Allow yourself to feel sorrow over your sin, and let that sorrow 
motivate you to repent of it, trusting that God will forgive you and help 
you
overcome it. Keep renewing your relationship with God through repentance 
regularly, so sin won’t build up in your life and interfere with the 
intimacy
God wants you to enjoy with Him.
• Embrace the justification that Jesus offers you. Thanks to Jesus’ 
sacrifice on the Cross for your sins, you can now connect to a perfectly 
holy God if
you’re in a relationship with Jesus. Justification means that God considers 
Christians to be completely righteous, because rather than looking at their
sin, God looks at the perfect righteousness of Jesus, who paid the cost of 
sin on their behalf. If you’re a Christian, you can claim this incredible 
spiritual
benefit by placing your trust completely in Jesus – rather than in 
yourself – as your source of strength. This will free you to reach your 
fullest potential.

• Enjoy the benefits of being one of God’s adopted children. Realize that, 
if you’re a Christian, God has adopted you into His eternal
family
of people who can enjoy close relationships with Him. God has given you the 
greatest gift of all: the gift of Himself as your Father. Ask the Holy 
Spirit
to burn this truth into your mind so you’ll be confident that you can rely 
on your heavenly Father to help you every step of the way as you change.
• Deal wisely with your fear and anxiety. Whenever you feel afraid or 
anxious, pray about whatever is causing you to feel that way rather than 
just worrying
about it. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the
faith
you need to trust God to handle the situation according to what’s best. Ask 
Jesus to give you His peace so you can move forward in your transformation
process without a troubled mind.
• As you change yourself, change your relationships with other people. Do 
whatever you can to make peace other people, such as: confronting them about
difficult issues between you and discussing how to resolve those issues with 
love and respect; forgiving people who have hurt you and seeking forgiveness
from people you have hurt; and reconciling broken relationships, when 
possible, after healthy changes have occurred.
• Pursue ongoing sanctification each day. Make a daily effort to choose what’s 
right over what’s wrong, relying on help from the Holy Spirit whenever you’re
faced with temptation to sin. Since your spiritual battles ultimately come 
down to what’s happening in your mind, pray often for the Holy Spirit to 
renew
your mind and read the Bible often, so you can absorb its truths into your 
mind. Don’t dwell on sinful thoughts – such as those of sexual immorality, 
bitterness,
anger, covetousness, slander, or malice – but as soon as they enter your 
mind change the focus of your thoughts to something that honors God. Think 
about
the Gospel message often, so its wisdom will guide your decisions, which 
will lead to ongoing change for the better in your life. Discuss your life 
openly
and honestly with some other believers you trust, in relationships where you 
all hold each other accountable and support and encourage each other. Enjoy
the transformation God brings into your life every day!

Adapted from Recovering Redemption: A Gospel-Saturated Perspective on How to 
Change, copyright 2014 by Matt Chandler and Michael Snetzer. Published by
B&H Books, a division of
B&H Publishing Group,
Nashville, Tn.

Matt Chandler serves as Lead Pastor of Teaching at
The Village Church
in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. He came to The Village in December 
2002 and describes his tenure as a replanting effort where he was involved 
in
changing the theological and philosophical culture of the congregation. The 
church has witnessed a tremendous response growing from 160 people to more
than 11,000 with several campuses. Matt is currently involved in church 
planting efforts both locally and internationally through The Village and 
various
strategic partnerships. He serves as president of Acts 29, a worldwide 
church-planting organization. Over the last 10 years, Acts 29 has emerged 
from a
small band of brothers to nearly 500 churches in the United States and 
around the world. Beyond speaking at conferences throughout the world, Matt 
has
also written several books, including The Explicit Gospeland Creature of the 
Word. His greatest joy outside of Jesus is being married to Lauren and being
a dad to their three children, Audrey, Reid and Norah.

Michael Snetzer serves as Recovery Groups Pastor at
The Village Church
in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. He received his Masters in 
Counseling from Dallas Baptist University. For seven years he served as a 
counselor
at the Center for Christian Counseling. He has served on the pastoral staff 
at The Village Church since 2007. He has worked part-time at North Texas 
Christian
Counseling since 2012. He has three children: McKenna, Ava, and Greyson. He 
and his wife, Sonia, were married in 2007.

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.

*Published 6/24/2014
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Today’s Readings:
Job 14;
Acts 9:22-43

Today’s Thoughts: Grief of Mind

When Esau was forty years old, he took as wives Judith the daughter of Beeri 
the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. And they were
a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah.
Genesis 26:34-35

Do you have relationships in your life that are "a grief of mind"? Think 
about those people who really challenge your thoughts. It is as if you just 
cannot
get along with them no matter how hard you try and you cannot accept who 
they are or what they do no matter how much you pray. However, for some 
reason,
you cannot escape the relationship either. These people quench our peace and 
rob us of joy. Why can we not just live life without personality conflicts?

The answer has to do with the two greatest commandments. We must love the 
Lord with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and we must also love 
others
as ourselves. Jesus says in Luke 6:32-36 that, if you love those who love 
you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 
And
if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For 
even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to 
receive
back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to 
receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for 
nothing
in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most 
High. He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as
your Father also is merciful.

God wants us to learn mercy, kindness, thankfulness and love. We cannot love 
God with everything we have and then not love others. We can have people in
life that are a grief of mind but God desires that we learn to love with His 
heart, touch with His hands and see through His eyes. We can only do that
through a dependency on the Lord through His Holy Spirit. God wants us to be 
more like Him and He can change us if we work with Him through all this.

To overcome these personal conflicts, try stepping back from the issues and 
pray that you can have a discernment to change the dynamics of the 
relationship.
That person may not ever change but you can. Be proactive in prayer if you 
know that you will be interacting with that person and ask the Lord to check
your spirit before you act out in the flesh. Slowly but surely, you will 
begin to have victory and God will receive the glory.

Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered 
lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries 
makes
a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how 
to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as 
His daily disciple.
Daily Disciples Ministries, Inc
You may also like...
Grief of Mind - Daily Disciples - June 29
And they were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah (Gen. 26:35). Do you have 
relationships in your life that are "a grief of mind"?

Featured Sermon
from
LightSource.com
Adrian Rogers
Love Worth Finding

ible Header

Jezebel

Her name means: "Where Is the Prince?"

Her character: A religious woman, she spread idolatry throughout Israel. 
Powerful, cunning, and arrogant, she actively opposed God, even in the face 
of
indisputable proofs of his sovereignty.
Her triumph: To have enhanced her own power at the expense of others.
Her tragedy: Her arrogance led to a shameless death.
Key Scriptures:
1 Kings 16:29-33
;
18:1-19:2
;
21:1-25
;
2 Kings 9

Her Story

Jezebel was a Phoenician princess, daughter of the priest-king of Sidon. 
Married to King Ahab, she reigned as queen in northern Israel one hundred 
years
after David's death and sixty years after Israel split into northern and 
southern kingdoms just after Solomon's death.

A woman of great conviction and unwavering devotion, Jezebel's ardent 
worship was directed not to the God of Israel but to the pagan fertility god 
Baal,
thought to control the rain and hence the harvest. So determined was she to 
convert Israel to her own religion that she hunted down and killed all the
prophets she could lay hands on, replacing them with 850 of her own.

Despite Jezebel's efforts, one prophet had escaped her, and he was the most 
annoying of all. His name was Elijah, which meant "My God Is Yahweh." By 
contrast,
Jezebel meant "Where Is the Prince (Baal)?" or "The Prince (Baal) Exists." 
Inevitably, the two squared off.

By pushing Baal worship, Jezebel was spreading idolatry across Israel, but 
her brand of worship wasn't producing the desired results for the fields 
remained
barren. The fertility gods, it seemed, had gone AWOL or else they were 
impotent.

Elijah, meanwhile, warned King Ahab: "As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, 
whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years 
except
at my word."

After three-and-a-half years of drought and famine, Elijah challenged the 
king to assemble the prophets of Baal and Asherah to compete in a lopsided 
contest—850
to 1. Two bulls were prepared for sacrifice, but the fire for sacrifice was 
not lit. Instead, the true God would prove himself by sending fire from 
heaven.

From morning until noon Baal's prophets danced and shouted, "O Baal, answer 
us!" But the god of the storm was silent.

Relishing the spectacle, Elijah couldn't resist a few well-aimed taunts: 
"Shout louder! Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, 
or
traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." Elijah's sarcasm 
spurred the prophets of Baal to more frenzied efforts, but that day Baal, 
the god
of fire, couldn't even light a match.

Then Elijah's turn came. To dramatize the difficulty of his task, he 
drenched the sacrifice with water not once but three times, praying: "O 
Lord, God
of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in 
Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your 
command."

Immediately, fire burned up the sacrifice. Rallying the people, Elijah then 
slaughtered Jezebel's 850 prophets.

Enraged at the news, the queen sent a messenger to Elijah, vowing to kill 
him. But he fled south, beyond her grasp.

Still, Jezebel kept busy, managing to find other targets for her schemes. 
One day she discovered her husband, Ahab, in a childish rage. Pouting, Ahab 
confided
his troubles to her. Naboth, his near neighbor, had a lovely vineyard that 
the king desired. It would make such a nice vegetable garden. Yet his stingy
subject refused to sell it.

"Is this how you act as king over Israel?" Jezebel challenged. "Get up and 
eat! Cheer up. I'll get you the vineyard."

Jezebel wrote a letter in Ahab's name and sent it to the elders of the town 
instructing them to produce witnesses to testify falsely that Naboth had 
cursed
both God and the king, offenses punishable by death.

Ahab felt better when he heard the news that Naboth had been stoned to death 
as a traitor. Now his table would be laden with delicious vegetables 
straight
from the garden. But then who should show up but Elijah, interrupting the 
king's leisurely stroll through his new garden.

"So you have found me, my enemy," the king greeted him.

"I have found you," Elijah replied, "because you have sold yourself to do 
evil in the eyes of the Lord. I am going to bring disaster on you. I will 
consume
your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or 
free. And also, concerning Jezebel, the Lord says: 'Dogs will devour Jezebel
by the wall of Jezreel.' "

Elijah's words came true. Ahab eventually died in battle, the dogs licking 
the blood from his chariot. Jezebel, however, survived him by at least ten 
years.
Then one day, a man called Jehu came riding into Jezreel to carry out the 
last half of Elijah's prophecy.

Tough as nails, Jezebel stood proudly at the window of her palace. Never one 
to back away from a challenge, Jezebel seized the initiative, shouting at
Jehu: "Have you come in peace, Zimri (the name of a traitor), you murderer 
of your master?"

But Jehu simply ignored her, challenging those who stood near her. "Who is 
on my side? Throw her down!" Quickly, Jezebel's servants shoved her through
the window. The palace walls were splattered a bloody red as horses trampled 
her body and the palace dogs finished the job. A powerful figure while she
lived, hardly anything of her remained just shortly after her death.

Paired with Israel's worst king, Jezebel was the nation's worst queen and 
one of the Bible's most infamous women. How different her story would have 
been
had she harnessed her power, her drive, and her devotion. A strong 
character, Jezebel could have been a female apostle Paul, whose misguided 
zeal was redirected
toward the kingdom of God. Instead, unlike many biblical figures who are 
depicted with a mixture of good and bad traits, she stands out as someone 
purely
evil, whose moral character is one-dimensional. Totally devoted to her gods, 
she reflected their image completely. Despite obvious miracles and repeated
warnings, she was a woman who chose to harden her heart and suffer the 
consequences.

Her Promise

Jezebel's end (2 Kings 9:33-37)
is exactly what Elijah had earlier prophesied for her (1 Kings 21:23).
No doubt judgment for her wicked life was swift and sure. It's hard to 
reconcile this aspect of our God with our image of him as loving and 
compassionate,
yet he is a God who hates evil and will surely punish it. If, however, we 
come to him for forgiveness and reconciliation, he is also a God who loves 
to
show mercy.

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.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You

A Word With You
Daily Devotional
The Longer It Waits, The Harder It Gets - #7167

The idea of teamwork in a marriage isn't really that tough. For example, my 
wife prepares a meal, which is better than me preparing it because the Bible
says, "Blessed are the merciful." So, what do I do? I clear the table and I 
rinse the dishes. I also eat, but that's not such a bad deal.

Now, around my house I have a title. I'm known as the "mad cleaning man." So 
I might clear your plate while you're still in mid bite. So you need to keep
an eye on that. I like to get my job done! I've been told over the years, 
"Oh listen, leave the dishes. Don't worry about them now. Come on in the 
living
room with us. The dishes will wait." Well that's true, but that's a terrible 
idea. I've never known the dishes to rinse themselves and I've never known
them to put themselves away. But it is a wise discipline to rinse the dirty 
dish immediately.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The 
Longer It Waits, The Harder It Gets."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians 4, and starting 
with verse 26. "In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while
you are still angry, and do not give the Devil a foothold." Well, there's a 
biblical clock here on strained relationships. That clock runs out at 
sundown
every day basically. We really shouldn't be hanging on to our anger after 
the end of the day.

There are those old Western movies, and sometimes the marshal would say, 
"You better be out of here by sundown!" Well, that's what we're supposed to 
be
saying to any anger, or resentment, bitterness or conflict that comes up. 
"Get out of here by sundown!" There's a good reason for this. You know those
food remnants on dirty dishes which I was talking about? If you deal with 
them right away they're soft and easy to remove; just kind of scrape them a 
little
bit and they fall right off. But you know what happens if you wait with a 
dirty plate. You do it two days from now, it turns hard and you've got to 
scrape
and work and it's just tough to remove those little food things there, 
because they weren't cleaned up right after you ate.

Is that why we call unresolved anger "hard feelings"? That's when the Devil 
gets an opportunity to enter a marriage, or a parent-child relationship, or
a friendship, or a church. I think at the core of most every marriage 
breakup there was probably an issue that once was small, but it wasn't dealt 
with
when it was small. At the core of broken parent-child relationships or a 
hurting friendship, or a divided church, there are people who didn't clean 
up
their anger when it first appeared; when it was still small, when it was 
relatively soft. And it's led to a terrible outcome. The Devil got his place 
and
is using it like crazy now.

Maybe there's a strained relationship in your life right now. Could that be 
why God wanted us talking about this today? There have been too many 
sunsets,
too many bad feelings you let hang on. It will never be smaller than it is 
today. I know that it's bigger than it used to be, but this is the smallest
it's ever going to be. It will never be easier to address that conflict, 
that resentment, that anger than it is right now, no matter how hard that 
might
seem. It's only going to get harder. It will only get more costly. You're 
just going to turn darker and darker inside.

Today is always your best opportunity to go to that person and do whatever 
it takes to repair things. Apologize if you need to, confront if you need 
to,
pray together, talk it through. You just can't afford the hard spot in your 
heart that develops from anger that you stuff inside. Anger never stays the
same size. Bitterness never stays the same size. It always grows.

Take it from a veteran dish-rinser, there's nothing to gain in waiting. The 
longer you wait, the harder it gets.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc. · P.O. Box 400 · Harrison, Arkansas 72602 · 
USA

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I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, 'Where's the self-help 
section?' She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose. — George 
Carlin

God helps those who help themselves, right? Well, not exactly. Actually, not 
even close. The bookstore does have a complete “self-help” section telling
us we’re supposed to survive life’s toughest seasons by our own strength – 
that we’re in this alone. But nothing could be further from the truth. The 
truth
is much more powerful, much more profound, and much more incredible:

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through 
our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness (2 Peter 
1:3).

Everything we need to live a godly life comes through knowing Him. Don’t get 
me wrong. Peter doesn’t promise life will be easy or carefree. He does say
that we have everything we need to not just survive – but thrive – in a life 
that experiences Christ.

Through these he (Jesus) has given us his very great and precious promises 
so that through them, you may participate in the divine nature... (2 Peter 
1:4).

What? We can “participate in the divine nature” in His glory and goodness – 
because we have everything needed to live a godly life through Christ? Is it
possible that through the presence of Jesus’ Spirit in us, we are that 
close, that intimate with Him right here, right now?

This is powerful Scripture. God’s power has given us everything we need to 
live as He wishes:

• We don’t have to pray for strength. Jesus is our strength.
• We don’t have to struggle to love people. He loves through us.
• We don’t have to wait for joy. He is our joy.
No, we don’t need to help ourselves. We lack nothing. Why? Because God lives 
in us.

That’s truth. And “self-help” is a faint and deceptive endeavor.

God with me, I thought I was doing this alone and that somehow I could make 
my life something worthy of Your love. I kept working on myself, preparing
myself for You – like a person still rushing around cleaning the house and 
changing sheets after company has arrived. And You’ve watched, waiting, 
calling
me to be still so I might enjoy Your presence in my home. Jesus, calm me. 
Show me that I don’t need to work or fight alone anymore. I praise You that 
You’ve
given me everything I need. Will You unwrap the gifts and show me how to 
experience Your life? Amen.

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

Life is full of Choices

Why? Where? How?
Monday, June 30, 2014

“Why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which 
our fathers told us about…Why is all this befallen us? And where are all His
wondrous works of which our fathers told us…how am I to deliver Israel?” – 
Judges 6:13-15 NASB
Gideon was filled with questions. God had called him to deliver Israel from 
the Midianites, but he was skeptical, seeing nothing but obstacles and 
problems.
He thought of himself as weak, insignificant, and incapable.
But God saw Gideon as a “mighty man of courage” (v. 12). Even after hearing 
how the Lord viewed him, Gideon still couldn’t imagine success or victory.
Finally, when he stopped arguing and complaining (and started believing, 
obeying, and acting in faith), God transformed him into a mighty warrior.
What God wanted from Gideon is what He wants from each of us: to trust Him 
and believe His plan for us; to be willing to do whatever He wants us to do;
to move forward in faith, believing Him for the results; to be confident in 
Him, even when we know our own weaknesses; and to cast off discouragement,
believing His Word!
Today, remember that God has a call on your life. He is with you and 
promises never to leave or forsake you. With Him at your side, there is no 
reason
to be discouraged, afraid, or worried. You don’t have to be concerned about 
the size of the adversaries you face or the tasks you’re called to do.
Right now, renew your commitment to obey God. Believe Him for favor and 
success. Allow Him to remove your fears. Move forward boldly. Don’t give 
excuses,
but confess His Word and believe His promises. He loves you, and He has a 
glorious plan for your life. Trust your steps, and the outcome, to Him.
Today's Inspiration Prayer

Today's Inspiration Prayer

Father, thank You for loving me. Help me to fulfill Your plan for my life. I 
commit my time, talent, and treasure to You. I believe You for victory! In
Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Reading: Judges 6

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Becoming a Worshiper of God

"Church is boring"—this is the most oft-stated reason why people stay away 
from church. It raises some important questions. How is it possible that an
encounter with a majestic, awesome, living God could ever be considered 
boring by anyone? God is not dull. If worship is boring to us, it is not 
because
God is boring. Sermons can be boring and liturgies can be boring, but God 
simply cannot be boring. The problem, I think, is with the setting, the 
style,
and the content of our worship.

The New Testament gives us little information about proper Christian 
worship. It establishes some guidelines, but does not offer much content. In 
contrast,
the Old Testament provides a panorama of worship information. This poses 
some dangers, as well as some vital clues, for worship. We cannot simply 
reinstate
the elements of Old Testament worship, because many of them are clearly 
fulfilled once and for all with the finished work of Christ in His offering 
of
the perfect sacrifice.

The Old Testament does provide a key to elements involved in worship. We 
see, for example, that the mind must be engaged in worship. The centrality 
of
preaching underscores the crucial role of the Word. Full worship, however, 
is both verbal and nonverbal. The whole person is addressed and involved in
a worship experience. We note that in the Old Testament, worship intimately 
involved all five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste.

Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God

Is church boring to you? What do you think might be the reason? Spend some 
time in
prayer
asking God to show you how to become a true worshiper.

For Further Study

Psalm 132:7: "Let us go into His tabernacle; let us worship at His 
footstool."

Psalm 86:9: "All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before 
You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name."

Psalm 29:2: "Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord 
in the beauty of holiness."

The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries and Dr. R.C. Sproul 
is to help people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness. For more
information, please visit
www.ligonier.org

There are some citrus trees that have both full ripe fruit on them and 
blossoms at the same time. It is like that with us. In some areas we may be 
mature
and developed and in other areas just a little bud. It is a lifelong thing. 
I will always be producing a crop and promising a crop at the same time.

Neva Coyle

Cultivate the habit of speaking aloud to God. Not perhaps always, because 
our desires are often too sacred or deep to be put into words. But it is 
well
to acquire the habit of speaking to God as to a present friend while sitting 
in the house or walking by the way. Seek the habit of talking things over
with God -- your letters, your plans, your hopes, your mistakes, your 
sorrows and sins. Things look very differently when brought into the calm 
light of
His presence. One cannot talk long with God aloud without feeling that He is 
near.

Frederick Brotherton ( F. B. ) Meyer

“I’m Starving”

Genesis 25:27–34

Recommended Reading:
Mark 9:43–48; Romans 8:5–16; Hebrews 12:14–29

This is a story that really connects with men. We can understand how Esau 
felt after he came in from a long day in the fields. He had been hunting, 
and
he was tired, hot and famished. Hunger consumed him, so much so that his 
appetite, and his desire for immediate gratification, overruled his 
self-control.
He had no thought for the future. He saw it, smelled it and wanted that 
stew—now.

We’ve all been there, literally and figuratively. Just before mealtime you’re 
raiding the cupboard or the fridge. “Where’s something to tide me over? Got
to have something! So what if I ruin my appetite?” You want it now.

And food is just the beginning: New electronic “toys” beckon. Our vehicle’s 
odometer turns over a certain number of miles, and we start thinking about
a newer vehicle. The latest vacation spot beckons. So to get what we want, 
now, we unadvisedly bust the budget.

We see an alluring woman and lust sparks our desire. We take a step closer. 
Our appetite overrules self-control. But there’s always a price to pay.

There’s no doubt about it, while we’re in this body we’re consumed with a 
gnawing sense that we have this hole in our lives that needs to be filled. 
We
long to fill that hole with any number of material things and experiences, 
both good and bad. But no matter how much money we make or what kinds of 
pursuits
we chase after, that hunger for more still eats away at us.

Instead of going to God’s Word for direction when tough temptations loom, or 
instead of using the brains he gave us, we go with our gut. Or worse, we fly
on autopilot, not giving a second thought to the consequences of our 
actions.

Like Esau giving up his birthright for some bread and stew, we sometimes 
exchange true joy for a temporary thrill, a blessed future for immediate 
fulfillment.
We carelessly toss aside our imperishable spiritual birthright for a 
consumable—and fleeting—fantasy.

The rewards of obedience to God’s will are flushed away every day by such 
hasty choices. We give up our financial security or our own sexual purity 
for
a rush that lasts only seconds. The regret, however, can last for years.

So before giving in, stop and pray. Give it some time. Then take another 
look at the price tag on that spiritual birthright God offers. It’s marked 
“priceless.”

To Take Away
• What “hungers” control you or draw you away from God?
• Do you think “living for the moment” can kill the soul? Why?
• What are some ways you can resist temptation and hold on more tightly to 
your birthright?

Sometimes God Doesn't Choose the "Perfect" Girl for the Job
GLYNNIS WHITWER

"Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. 'Go, look over 
the land,' he said, 'especially Jericho.' So they went and entered the house
of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there."
Joshua 2:1
(NIV)

I used to believe if God needed something important done, He would ask 
someone who had it all together. You know those women. They never yell at 
their
kids or have an emotional meltdown in the craft store over which tie-die kit 
to buy. They know what they're having for dinner each night and come to 
Bible
study with their homework done.

If God is going to assign an important job to someone, it's going to be a 
woman like that. A "good church girl." Right?

That's what I thought until I read the story of Rahab in the book of Joshua. 
It gave me hope that sometimes the best woman for God's job doesn't have a
perfect life or a perfect faith.

In fact, Rahab's story tells me sometimes God chooses women with rough 
resumes, gritty pasts and dauntless attitudes to get a hard job done. Which 
is why
God chose Rahab when He needed a brave and bold person to protect His 
warriors.

Rahab was a prostitute who lived within the walls of the city of Jericho. 
Jericho was a great city, except for the fact that God told the Israelites 
to
conquer it.

The people who lived in Jericho weren't following God, but they had heard of 
Him and how He helped the Israelites win many battles. When the residents
of Jericho learned the Israelites were camped outside their city, they were 
rightly concerned.

As part of the reconnaissance, Joshua, the leader of the Israelites, sent 
two spies into the city. The Bible seems to indicate they made a beeline 
into
an unusual place of refuge: Rahab's home.

Now why would God direct them to the house of a woman? And one who didn't 
have the best reputation?

There are many reasons why God might have chosen this particular woman to 
help the spies. But the one that strikes the deepest chord in my heart is 
that
other people might have underestimated Rahab's potential based on her past 
and present circumstances. But not God.

Rahab had guts and grit. When the spies arrived, instead of quivering in 
fear, Rahab thought fast and hid them on her roof. Then she redirected the 
king's
men, making a way of escape for the spies.

God could have chosen someone with a perfect pedigree to help. But on that 
day, inside the walls of the city, facing warrior spies in danger, none were
available.

Rahab, however, was in the perfect position, with the perfect disposition, 
to do the most good. And God must have seen something tender in the heart of
this life-hardened woman and knew He could trust her.

I love this about God. When God looked at Rahab, He didn't see her 
profession or her past. He saw her potential.

And in spite of the challenges and choices of her life, He knew there was a 
part of Rahab's heart that was open to Him. And Rahab did not disappoint.

The story ends with the spies escaping and God destroying the city of 
Jericho and everyone in it — except for Rahab and her family.

I'm so glad Rahab didn't send the spies away, explaining that she didn't 
have the best track record with men. Instead, she used her smart, quick mind 
to
devise a plan. She used her boldness to defy the king's men. She drew from 
her bravery to protect her family. She risked greatly, and it paid off.

Rahab's story tells me that although I might list all the reasons why God 
wouldn't use me, God prefers I take my personality, my experiences, even the
parts of me that seem less-than-pleasant and give them to Him ... every part 
of me.

It doesn't mean He's going to leave me as I am; God is always refining me. 
But in His hands, my mess has meaning.

Have you ever stamped "disqualified" on yourself due to your personality or 
something in your past or present? If so, I pray Rahab's story encourages 
you.
God has a plan, and He wants you, in all your uniqueness, to make it happen.

Sometimes God doesn't choose the "perfect" girl for the job ... and I'm so 
glad He doesn't.

Heavenly Father, thank You for looking deeper than what others see, and for 
seeing my potential. Please help me trust that You want me just as I am and
have a plan to use me in Your kingdom. Help me to trust You and Your plan 
for my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
I Samuel 16:7,
"But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, 
for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look
at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the 
heart.'" (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Visit
Glynnis Whitwer's blog
for more encouragement.

I Used to Be So Organized
by Glynnis can help you manage a cluttered mind, schedule and home with joy 
and peace.

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl
by Lysa TerKeurst

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What good characteristics did Rahab have, based on what we can tell from her 
story in
Joshua 2?

Many times we disqualify ourselves based on our wrong choices, or the flaws 
we see in our personalities. As God looks at you through His lens of love 
and
potential, what does He see?

© 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

How To Bring Your Enemies To Christ

June 25, 2014

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it 
is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the 
contrary,
“if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to 
drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be
overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:19-21

There was a young U.S. Marine recruit who was a faithful believer in Christ, 
prayed often, and lived his life for the Lord. But because of his strong 
faith,
some of the others in his barracks resented him and mocked his beliefs.

So one day after a particularly hard day of marching in the mud, the men 
returned to their bunks exhausted. After the lights went out, this young 
recruit
knelt down by his bed and began to pray quietly, just as he had always done. 
Another recruit was tired of this routine. So he picked up his muddy boot,
and threw it at the praying Marine, and hit him right in the head.

A few other soldiers chuckled a bit, but the young believer simply set the 
boot aside and finished his prayer. The next morning, when the fellow who 
had
thrown the boot woke up, he noticed his boots had been neatly placed at the 
end of his bunk… cleaned and shined like new. And through that act, that 
young
soldier who threw the boot eventually placed his faith in Jesus.

Loving others isn’t complicated. It’s simply going above and beyond, by the 
power of the Spirit, in treating others how you’d like to be treated, no 
matter
how they treat you. So instead of seeking to get even with those who do you 
wrong, repay them with good and watch the Lord draw them to Himself!

INSTEAD OF TRYING TO VINDICATE YOURSELF, BRING YOUR ENEMIES TO CHRIST BY 
DOING GOOD TO THEM!

----------------------------------------------------------
For more from PowerPoint Ministries and Dr. Jack Graham, please visit
www.jackgraham.org
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Welcome to the Nugget

June 23, 2015

A Piece of Bread
By Answers2Prayer
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I was sitting in my car in a convenience store parking lot nibbling on a 
biscuit that I had bought for lunch. The morning had been busy and full of 
errands
and the afternoon looked like it would be even busier still. It was one of 
those days that we often get in modern life with too much to do and too 
little
time to do it.

I had decided to take a five minute break then and eat my biscuit slowly 
instead of wolfing it down while I was driving. I had found that little 
breaks
like that were essential to keeping my heart happy, my mind clear, and my 
soul at peace. I said a little prayer of thanksgiving to God for the food 
and
beautiful day and watched the green leaves of the nearby trees dancing in 
the breeze. As I was taking another bite of biscuit I noticed a little bird 
flying
from the trees to the parking lot looking for any crumbs it could find. It 
was so small and yet so beautiful. I watched it for a minute searching for 
food
and then heard the gentle voice of my Heavenly Father in my heart and mind, 
"No act of sharing is ever insignificant in my sight," it said. I smiled 
when
I heard this. Then I tore off a piece of my daily bread and tossed it to the 
bird. It hopped over, grabbed it with its beak and flew away.

I drove away laughing and spent the rest of the day with a little more joy 
in my heart. My sharing had done even more for me than it had for the bird.
It had reunited me with myself. It had brought me closer to God. It had 
reminded me that in the busyness of our days here, it is our little acts of 
kindness
and our little moments of love that are the most important things of all.

We are all put here to love. We are to love God. We are to love ourselves. 
We are to love everyone as ourselves. We are to love life. We are to love 
this
world and all its creatures. No act of love is ever too small either. Even a 
piece of bread is priceless in the eyes of Heaven.

"Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all 
the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her 
poverty,
put in everything--all she had to live on." (Mark 12:43)

By: Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

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

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

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Resting in His Redemption

"
In Him we have redemption through His blood, . . . and the blood of Jesus 
His Son cleanses us from all sin.[He is] the faithful witness, the firstborn
from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth . . . who loved us 
and washed us from our sins in His own blood."
-Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5; emphasis added

The blood of Christ is the scarlet thread that ties all of the Word into 
one. It is in His shed blood that we hope. Are you resting in Christ's 
perfect
redemption and in the hope you have? Romans 8:1 says, "There is . . . no 
condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." Our sins are gone, and God 
will
never condemn us for them. We will never have to stand in judgment for our 
sins because Jesus paid it all.

What are you holding onto to get you to God? Do you trust only in the 
sacrifice of Jesus for you? Do you trust in all that He did, and His 
redeeming blood-or
is it "Jesus' blood plus my baptism" or "Jesus' blood plus ‘I'm a good guy' 
"? It ought to be as hymn writer Count Nicholaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf wrote
in 1739: Jesus, thy blood and righteousness my beauty are, my glorious 
dress; ‘midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed, with joy shall I lift up my 
head.

Jesus asks us to trust in His faithfulness: "The armies of heaven, clothed 
in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses" (Revelation 
19:14).
This is wonderful! Not one of the members of His armies is lost, missing, or 
A.W.O.L. He has faithfully cared for them (and always will) through 
sickness,
health, adversity, prosperity, loneliness, and joy. He is thus called 
Faithful. The very character of God is that of faithfulness: "God is 
faithful, by
whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" 
(1 Corinthians 1:9; see also 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 
Peter
4:19).

Jesus asks us to submit to His authority: "And He has on His robe and on His 
thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (Revelation 19:16).
Like Job and Jeremiah, we must trust God even when we can't understand Him: 
" ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in
his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches, But let him, who 
glories, glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the 
Lord, exercising
lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I 
delight,' says the Lord" (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

Are you worshiping the Lord, your faithful God? One of the doctrines that 
some people hold to is the idea of losing your
salvation.
It attacks the very nature of God because you did not get saved on your own, 
and you can't lose salvation on your own. It is a free, gracious gift from
God-and He is faithful to keep all that you have committed to Him.

Are you resting in His faithful provision for your needs right now? Are you 
confident in any adversity that God is above all, and is working His glory
through it? How about your health? Is it in His faithful hands? Your 
children, marital hopes, childbearing desires, or college dreams-are they 
all given
to the Faithful One? God will bring them to fruition according to His 
perfect plan and timing. Trust in His faithfulness!

So then, what does the Second Coming of Christ teach us? Jesus offers us the 
assurance that He is faithful and true; Jesus offers us the enjoyment of 
intimacy
with Him; Jesus offers us the rest of His redemption; Jesus asks us to trust 
in His faithfulness; and Jesus asks us to submit to His authority.

Say "Yes, Lord, yes!" to His will and to His way. Trust and obey Him. And 
when the Spirit speaks to you, with your whole heart agree with Him.

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit
discoverthebook.org.
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Post  Admin on Wed 20 Aug 2014, 8:31 pm

Jesus Offers Intimacy

"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and 
Jesus Christ whom You have sent."-John 17:3, emphasis added

Not many experience intimacy with Jesus because they often don't seek Him 
deeply. When we read some of the old hymns like the eleventh-century song by
Bernard Clairvaux-"Jesus the very thought of Thee, with sweetness fills my 
breast"-the wording seems foreign because we are not customarily prone to 
thinking
in such a manner. Why is that? The old saints intimately spent hours with 
the Lord. Martin Luther translated the whole Bible from Hebrew and Greek to 
German,
and yet he prayed three to four hours a day. Most of today's
Christians
can finish prayer in five minutes or less. Men like Luther weren't "asking" 
the Lord for things-they were "basking" in the delights of Him! "Basking"
is resting and nourishing ourselves in the presence of the Lord, getting to 
know Him personally. Have you ever thought about what a precious, blessed 
privilege
that is?

Jesus said in John 14:21: "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is 
he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will
love him and manifest Myself to him." Think about it! The Lord is waiting to 
unveil more of Himself to you. Do you want to experience the God of the 
Universe
intimately? Then spend both quality and quantity time with Him.

Do you know why I love astronomy, oceanography, and science in general? What 
intrigues me so much about all that is getting to learn more about God in
nature because I want to know as much as possible about my Lord. If you want 
to know God, will you accept the greatest offer of all? A personal, 
always-present
relationship with the Majesty on High? The One who is the very center of 
all-that-ever-will-be wants to show you more of Himself every day.

Jesus wants us to remember what
salvation
is: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 
10:27). That is the Christian life in one short statement: we are His sheep 
because
we can hear His voice-He knows us, and we follow Him. If you struggle with 
assurance of your salvation, are you hearing the voice of the Lord? Is He 
revealing
Himself to You? Are you following Him?

Jesus offers us the enjoyment of intimacy. Are you enjoying an intimate 
relationship with Him today? Are you enjoying the personal revelation of 
Him? Do
you enjoy talking to Him? Are you reading His letters to you-the Bible's 
books? Are they at the top of your pile? When the mail comes, I usually sort 
through
it very quickly. Half of it normally goes into the trash, and half can be 
read any time. But there is usually a letter or two that I just can't wait 
to
open because I can tell by the handwriting or some other sign that they are 
of personal interest to me.

In America, one of the most anticipated events is the mail delivery. But far 
greater is the fresh letter the Lord Jesus mails to us through His Word 
every
day, and He wants us to put it at the top of our pile. I recently met with 
someone who told me that they were having a bad week and, in fact, a bad 
summer.
I asked, "What is so bad about it?" They admitted that they had not been 
reading the Bible much. My diagnosis was that they were spiritually sick. At 
times
when we have called the pediatrician about one of our children, their doctor 
always asks if there is a loss of appetite or lethargy. When that happens,
the child is actually sick. As God's child, if you have lost your appetite 
for God's Word, and have become spiritually lethargic, you are likewise 
sick.
The cure: Do not expose yourself to things that grieve and quench the Holy 
Spirit of God. Someone has aptly said this about the Bible: "This Book will
keep you from sin-or sin will keep you from this Book."

What do you know of Jesus that only comes by long hours shared with Him? I'm 
not talking about learning from what some great writer has written, but what
you personally know from seeing Jesus reflected in His Word until your heart 
can't help but rise in intimate worship of God. Now do you see how the old
saints could pray for hours? Such prayer is a reflection of a heart panting 
after Christ: "As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for
You, O God" (Psalm 42:1).

http://www.dtbm.org/sermon/week-43-rest-in-the-vengeance-of-jesus/
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit
discoverthebook.org.

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You

A Word With You
Daily Devotional
Buzzard Vision - #7163

I have a pastor friend who lives in a beautiful spot in the country. And he 
sees things there that I couldn't see where I lived for many years in an 
urban
area. Like the bird life there was pretty much limited to sparrows, and 
there were a few rowdy crows, an occasional robin or blue jay. Oh, yeah, and 
then
the parrot in our kitchen. But my friend, he was able to see and still is, 
all of those things with one of the classiest birds around-the hummingbird.
You've seen them probably doing their amazing hovering thing and flying from 
one flower to the next. And they're always attracted to the most beautiful
things in the yard. Now, my friend also gets to see one of the un-classiest 
birds around too-the buzzard. I mean, here's this amazing contrast. You've
got the hummingbird and the buzzard flying over the same ground. But the 
hummingbird sees the meadow; the buzzard sees the carnage.

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

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from the book of Lamentations, 
written by the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, and really written out of a
broken heart. His country is devastated, his personal life is devastated, 
and he talks about his feelings in chapter 3, verses 19-20. He says, "I 
remember
my affliction and my wandering. I remember the bitterness and the gall. I 
well remember them. And my soul is downcast within me." We're talking about 
a
depressed prophet here. And he's thinking about all of the negatives and the 
pain and the failures. Folks, that's buzzard vision! Looking at the ugly,
looking at what's dying, or looking at what's dead.

But then he turns a corner in verse 21. He says this: "Yet this I call to 
mind and therefore I have hope." He's going from downcast to hope. What's 
making
the difference? "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for 
His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your 
faithfulness.
I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.'"

What a change here! Jeremiah starts looking at the hope factors instead of 
the hurt factors. Now, has the situation changed? No. But his focus is about
to, because he talks first of all about the margin of difference when times 
are tough. He says, "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed."
He is suddenly deciding to focus on the Lord's great love.

Then he talks about the Lord's compassions that are new every morning. Those 
compassions, I think, are like specific, customized actions of love from God
that are in each 24-hour period of time. And you'll see them if you'll look 
for "God sightings" every day. They're God's little interventions; big 
interventions.
And Jeremiah has decided to look at those instead. And because they're new 
every morning, God never misses a day. There's always some to see. He always
supplies us with mercies for what this day will need. "Great is Your 
faithfulness" he says.

It's like that suffering saint one time said, "Jesus is enough." Now, he has 
just moved from buzzard vision, focusing on the carnage, to hummingbird 
vision,
focusing on the beautiful - the evidences of God's love. Are you doing that? 
Maybe you've been dwelling on the pain, you've been kind of falling into the
identity of being a victim. Maybe the monster of self-pity is consuming you. 
You've been focusing on your failures and building this wave of self-doubt
and paralysis.

It's only Satan who focuses on the past, because it can't be changed. God 
points to the future that has yet to be written. Aren't you tired of just 
seeing
the carnage, the ugly, the hurting, the negative? Why don't you choose to 
focus on what you can thank God for each morning? Look for His love. Review 
His
interventions and His blessings and you'll feel wind start to rise under 
your wings instead of weights growing on them pulling you down. It's a 
daily,
hourly choice. You decide what you want to focus on as you fly over today's 
ground.

And don't be a buzzard. Go for hummingbird vision. Look for the beauty. "His 
compassions never fail. Great is His faithfulness."

To find out how you can begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, 
please visit:
Yours for Life
or call 1-888-966-7325.

"A Word With You" by Ron Hutchcraft is a daily radio challenge, with 
slice-of-life illustrations and insights-providing practical help on the 
issues that
matter most. If your local Christian radio station does not air this 
program, please let them know how much it is of value to you. "A Word With 
You" is
a radio outreach and production of
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc
© Ronald P. Hutchcraft • Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.
"A Word With You" 

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Devotions by Christine Caine - Undaunted

Read
Revelation 2:2–4

Jesus rebukes the church at Ephesus for leaving their first love and 
settling for Christian activity. Although they were fulfilling all the 
external requirements
of Christianity, they were missing something fundamental. They no longer 
loved God with their whole hearts.

Guarding Our Hearts

When we are in love, we will do anything to be with the person who has 
captured our heart. In fact, we not only long to be with them but also would 
literally
do anything for them. Many of us begin our relationship with God like this. 
Overwhelmed with a revelation of his love, grace, and mercy, there is 
nothing
that we wouldn’t do to try to please him. Our earnest desire is to be with 
him and become like him.

Yet it is only by continually strengthening our spiritual heart muscle that 
we will be able to sustain this kind of passionate commitment to God for the
duration of our Christian walk. In the same way that a natural relationship 
left alone will just fizzle out and eventually die, so too will our 
relationship
with God.

In order to ensure that our love for God will not grow cold, we must 
proactively “keep [our] heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the 
issues
of life†(
Prov. 4:23).
If we do not guard this core muscle, it will begin to weaken, and the very 
things that we once did wholeheartedly will eventually become nothing more 
than
religious burdens.

If we want the life of God to flow freely within our hearts, we must never 
allow anything to hinder the passion that we have for the Lord and his 
people.
If we fail to care for our spiritual heart and neglect its health, we will 
never possess the spiritual strength we need to love God with all our 
hearts.
Jesus taught us, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and 
to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it
more abundantly†(
John 10:10).
By guarding our spiritual hearts, we ensure that the enemy has no access and 
is therefore unable to steal the abundant life that Jesus came to give us.

Point to Ponder

Does your spiritual life lack passion? Do you feel like you are just going 
through the motions of being a Christian? If so, it’s possible that you have
left your first love. This doesn’t happen all at once. But gradually we let 
the cares of life crowd out the joy of our salvation. The good news is that
you don’t have to stay there. Jesus told the Christians at Ephesus to go 
back and recapture those loving feelings. You can too.

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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!

Devotions by Christine Caine, Copyright © 2012 by Christine Caine and Equip 
& Empower Ministries.
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DEAN MASTERS OWNER OF  THE MASTERS LIST
Sandpaper People
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

We are God’s workmanship
(Ephesians 2:10,
NIV).

Friend to Friend

Sandpaper people, the people who rub us the wrong way, are not only a 
reality of life, but they are a gift from God. Now stay with me on this.

God has used these difficult relationships as catalysts in my life through 
which He has lovingly upset my comfortable plans and purposefully redirected
my self-ordered steps. The results have often been chaotic and unsettling, 
but always life changing.

Our son Jered began playing football in elementary school and even went to 
college on an academic and football scholarship. Over the years, he endured
several injuries, but as a junior in high school, Jered experienced his 
first surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot. The orthopedic surgeon 
explained
exactly what he would do during surgery. “First, I will remove the scar 
tissue that has formed around the break. I will then insert a metal screw to 
connect
the broken bones.” As he spoke, I was comforted by my mind’s depiction of a 
shiny thin and smooth metal screw resting gently in my son’s foot. There are
times when ignorance is a blessing.

The surgery went well and after two weeks, I took Jered in for a follow-up 
visit during which the doctor once again x-rayed his foot to make sure it 
was
healing properly. The doctor walked in, smiling and waving an x-ray in his 
hand. “Your foot is healing beautifully,” he announced with great pride. 
Curious,
I asked the doctor if we could see the x-ray. As he slapped it up against 
the light board, I was horrified to see a thick, long metal bolt. In fact, 
on
closer examination, I was certain the beginnings of rust could be seen on 
that barbaric screw jammed up into my son’s precious bone.

Seeing the look on my face, the doctor assured me that everything was fine. 
I was far from convinced, and had a few questions that needed answering – 
immediately.
“Is that screw supposed to look like that, or did you put the wrong screw in 
my son’s foot? Will he be able to play football? Will his foot hurt when it
rains? Will that enormous screw set off airport security detectors? Will 
Jered’s foot ever be as strong as it was before the surgery?” I asked. The 
doctor
listened patiently, smiled, and said, “Well, now that you mention it, I need 
to be honest and tell you that Jered’s foot will not be as strong as it was
before.” The evil doctor then grinned and said, “It will actually be 
stronger.”

I find it interesting that all through life, the greatest strength is forged 
in broken places. The same is true when dealing with difficult people.

God is not committed to our comfort. God is committed to creating the 
character of Jesus Christ within us. One way He accomplishes that 
transformation
is through the abrasive and coarse work of sandpaper people as they grind 
off and sand away our rough edges, even to the point of breaking. Suffering 
comes
in many ways, but always with the purpose of making us strong enough to 
endure pain, and weak enough to rely upon God.

Many times, it is through difficult relationships that we experience the 
most pain. Peter writes that God will “make everything right” which 
indicates
the promise that He will take our circumstances and relationships, adjust 
them, and make the broken pieces fit together in order to equip us for 
service.
“Making everything right” can also be translated as “mending nets.” A 
fisherman’s net was a vital part of his livelihood. A broken net meant no 
fish. One
broken net affected the fisherman’s ability to make a living and provide for 
his family. It was imperative for the fisherman to keep his nets in working
condition, constantly mending the broken places.

Every time we are broken but allow God to do the mending, we become 
stronger, and new life is provided. Paul was certainly no stranger to 
trials, pain
and broken nets. “We know that these troubles produce patience. And patience 
produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4,NCV). I must
admit I have been known to insert the name of my current sandpaper person 
into that verse so that it reads, “I know that dealing with Sally produces 
patience.
And patience produces character, and character produces hope.” What an 
amazing progression, from a difficult relationship to Godly character, and 
then
on to hope. Hope follows pain because pain forces us to trust God and rely 
on His power to mend a broken life. It is in that abandonment to God that we
find hope.

Difficult relationships and the brokenness they bring will make us bitter or 
better. It is our choice. We can insist on comfort and forfeit character,
or we can embrace the brokenness, knowing God will use it for our good.

Sandpaper people are grindstones. Whether they grind us down or polish us up 
depends on what we are made of. Harry Truman said: "Fame is a vapor, 
popularity
is an accident, riches take wings, those who cheer today may curse tomorrow, 
and only one thing endures - character."

I believe sandpaper people voice the silent prayer that someone will be 
strong enough to stop their vicious cycle of offensive behavior. God calls 
us to
be that strong someone. I also believe God allows us to experience difficult 
relationships in order to strengthen us for the very task of life.

Let’s Pray

Lord, please fill my heart with Your love for the sandpaper people in my 
life. Please let me see them as You see them. Use them, Father; to refine me 
to
the place that I am the woman You created me to be. I choose to thank You 
for the difficult relationships in my life, knowing that through these 
abrasive
people, Your work is accomplished in me.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

·Write the name of your toughest sandpaper person in your journal. List five 
reasons you consider that person abrasive.

·Pray for that sandpaper person.

·Thank God for bringing that difficult person into your life. What do you 
believe God wants to accomplish through this sandpaper person? Are you 
willing
to trust Him enough to praise Him for that person?

Jesus: Savior and Giant Killer

Back in our elementary school days, my brother received a BB gun for 
Christmas. We immediately set up a firing range in the backyard and spent 
the afternoon
shooting at an archery target. Growing bored with the ease of hitting the 
circle, my brother sent me to fetch a hand mirror. He placed the gun 
backward
on his shoulder, spotted the archery bull's-eye in the mirror, and did his 
best Buffalo Bill imitation. But he missed the target. He also missed the 
storehouse
behind the target and the fence behind the storehouse. We had no idea where 
the BB pellet flew. Our neighbor across the alley knew, however. He soon 
appeared
at the back fence, asking who had shot the BB gun and who was going to pay 
for his sliding glass door.

At this point I disowned my brother. I changed my last name and claimed to 
be a holiday visitor from Canada. My father was more noble than I. Hearing 
the
noise, he appeared in the backyard, freshly rousted from his Christmas Day 
nap, and talked with the neighbor.

Among his words were these: "Yes, they are my children." ... "Yes, I'll pay 
for their mistakes."

Christ says the same about you. He knows you miss the target. He knows you 
can't pay for your mistakes. But he can. "God sent Jesus to take the 
punishment
for our sins" (
Rom. 3:25
NLT).

Since he was sinless, he could.

Since he loves you, he did. "This is real love. It is not that we loved God, 
but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins"
(
1 John 4:10
NLT).

He became one of us to redeem all of us. "Jesus, who makes people holy, and 
those who are made holy are from the same family. So he is not ashamed to 
call
them his brothers and sisters" (
Heb. 2:11
NCV).

He wasn't ashamed of David. He isn't ashamed of you. He calls you brother; 
he calls you sister. The question is, do you call him Savior?

Take a moment to answer this question. Perhaps you never have. Perhaps you 
never knew how much Christ loves you. Now you do. Jesus didn't disown David.
He won't disown you. He simply awaits your invitation. One word from you and 
God will do again what he did with David and millions like him: he'll claim
you, save you, and use you. Any words will do, but these seem appropriate:

Jesus, my Savior and Giant-killer, I ask for mercy, strength, and eternal 
life. I trust you with my heart and give you my life. Amen.

Pray such words with an honest heart, and be assured of this: your greatest 
Goliath has fallen. Your failures are flushed and death defanged. The power
that made pygmies out of David's giants has done the same with yours.

You can face your giants. Why? Because you faced God first.

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Book cover
This excerpt is taken from Facing Your Giants.
God called David "a man after his own heart." But what did he see in this 
shepherd and king who fell short as often as he stood tall? Lucado's study 
shows how God triumphs in our circumstances.

Copyright 2014 Max Lucado. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Queen of Sheba

Her character: Though a pagan queen like Jezebel, she prized wisdom above 
power. She appears to have been intellectually gifted, with a good head for 
business
and diplomacy.
Her joy: That her quest for wisdom was rewarded beyond her expectations.
Key Scriptures:
1 Kings 10:1-13
;
Matthew 12:42

Her Story

Sheba was a fragrant land, famous for its perfumes and spices. Located on 
the southwestern tip of Arabia, bordering the Red Sea, it traded precious 
commodities
like gold, frankincense, and myrrh to kingdoms in Africa, India, and the 
Mediterranean. Little wonder that passing caravans brought news of the wide 
world
to Sheba's queen.

Lately, the queen had heard marvelous stories of Solomon, the son of 
Bathsheba and David, now Israel's third king. At his birth, a prophet had 
named him
"Beloved of the Lord." Some said he was the wisest man alive.

The queen smiled as she recalled the tale of the two prostitutes. Both had 
claimed to be mother to the same infant. How could the king possibly know 
who
was telling the truth and who a lie? But Solomon merely ordered the baby cut 
in half, to be divided equally between the two women. He knew the real 
mother
would relinquish her rights rather than let her child perish. Indeed, the 
king's cleverness had quickly revealed the truth, reuniting the heartbroken 
mother
and her child.

The queen had also heard of the fabulous temple and palace Solomon had built 
in Jerusalem. Such a ruler, she realized, would have little trouble 
controlling
the international trade routes crisscrossing his kingdom.

Though Jerusalem lay fifteen hundred miles to the north, the queen was 
determined to see for herself whether Solomon measured up to even half the 
tales
told of him. Hoping to establish a trade agreement with Israel, she 
assembled a caravan of camels and loaded them with precious spices, gems, 
and four
and a half tons of gold. Her entrance into Jerusalem would have created an 
unforgettable spectacle, adding to Solomon's growing fame.

Day after day, the queen pounded Solomon with hard questions. But nothing 
was too difficult for the king to explain. Overawed, the queen exclaimed: 
"The
report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is 
true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own 
eyes.
Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far 
exceeded the report I heard. How happy your men must be! How happy your 
officials,
who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the Lord 
your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel.
Because of the Lord's eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to 
maintain justice and righteousness."

Then the queen gave Solomon all the gold and spices she had brought with 
her, perhaps foreshadowing the Magi's gift of gold, frankincense, and myrrh 
to
the Christ child nearly a thousand years later. In fact, Jesus himself 
referred to the Queen of Sheba when he replied to the Pharisees who had 
demanded
from him a miraculous sign: "The Queen of the South will rise at the 
judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of 
the earth
to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here" (
Matthew 12:42).

Though ruler of a pagan nation, the Queen of Sheba was so drawn to the 
wisdom of God that she made an arduous and dangerous journey, traveling 
three thousand
miles round-trip in order to meet the world's wisest man.

Her Promise

The Queen of Sheba was a wealthy and influential ruler whose nation 
dominated commercial trading in the Middle East at that time. She must have 
had a certain
measure of wisdom, or at least intelligence, to rule such a country. Still, 
she had questions, many of them, and she sought out the region's famed King
Solomon, depending on his wisdom for answers. Solomon didn't disappoint her; 
she went away satisfied.

Do you have any questions that need answers? Questions about yourself? About 
things that have happened in your life? About the will of God? About God's
love for you? If you do, go to the source of all wisdom, God himself, for 
answers. When you diligently seek him, he doesn't always give clear answers,
but he will give peace. And you will go away satisfied. He promises.

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.

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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!
All content is drawn from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of 
Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda.
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The Ministries of Francis Frangipane
The Real Jesus
(En Español)

Not only is Jesus our Savior, He is also the "author and perfecter of our 
faith" (Heb. 12:2, NIV). We should pause and contemplate that reality, that 
Christ
is the "perfecter of our faith." In other words, the faith Christ inspired 
in us He now seeks to perfect.

The idea that Christ seeks to perfect our faith makes a fine doctrine, but 
in the practical outworking of our lives, many unconsciously resist the 
idea.
We are uncomfortable because we know, at least subconsciously, that for our 
faith to be perfected it must inevitably be tested.

Now, when I speak of faith, I do not mean just amassing facts about the 
Bible. We do, indeed, need study and accurate knowledge of the Bible, but to 
amass
biblical knowledge primarily takes time; to possess true saving faith, often 
requires overcoming events and difficulties in the context of our lives --
some of which take courage to companion our faith.

You see, Christ desires we obtain a trust in Him that can actually withstand 
and overcome the frequent storms of life -- faith that brings the reality
of Heaven to earth. Faith, therefore, is more than head knowledge; it is our 
lock upon the goodness and power of God. The result is that no matter what
we face outwardly, inwardly we stand secure. And no matter what the world 
looks like outwardly, it has the potential to be transformed by our faith, 
as
Hebrews 11 makes clear.

Perfecter of Our Faith
Knowing that faith is much more than religious doctrines, I wonder: Do we 
truly know the Jesus of the Bible and what He seeks to give us? Too often, I
think, we desire a Savior who, after assuring us of eternal life, leaves us 
alone until our next crisis. We want Him to comfort us but never confront 
us;
we desire Him to heal us but not inhabit us. We want the Holy Spirit to help 
us obtain the "American dream," yet what about obtaining the dream of God:
man living in the image of Christ (see Genesis 1:26).

This means that God's goal is not merely to save us but to conform us to 
Christ. He seeks to perfect us, not merely protect us. To perfect faith, He 
accommodates
and redeems the conflicts that storm against our souls, turning them into a 
classroom for the perfection of our faith.

I know we picture Jesus as gently holding us, patting us on the back, 
saying, "There, there, it'll be all right," and sometimes that is precisely 
who He
is. Yet more often, that is not the voice of Jesus we hear, it is the echo 
of your mother speaking. Thank God for mothers, but Jesus is seeking to get
us to stop being babies. He wants us to grow up into His image.

Remember, I am talking about the real Jesus now, the one who said, "All 
things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23). If the Jesus you are 
following
is not leading you into the realm of the impossible to make changes in your 
world, you are probably following the wrong one.

You see, we do a disservice to people when we tell them, "Give your life to 
the Lord, and He will keep you from trouble." That is not altogether true.
We would be more honest to say, "Give your life to Christ, and He will 
empower you to overcome trouble and adversity." Yes, He will take care of 
you. But
He will not place you in a world void of problems and challenges; rather, He 
will create in us the spiritual shelter of a transformed life of faith.

A Storm, a Ghost or Jesus?
Get used to the idea that Jesus is seeking to perfect your faith. Sooner or 
later, the real Jesus will require you to look the impossible straight in 
the
eye and believe God for His power.

Consider the incident when the Lord sent His disciples to cross the Sea of 
Galilee. Later that night, after a storm rises, Jesus crosses this same sea
Himself walking on water (see Matthew 14:22 - 33). Contrary winds and waves 
rise up before He sets out. He could have waited for a calm day or simply 
arrived
at the other side supernaturally without stopping alongside the boat in the 
middle of the sea. No, He comes to the disciples with something in mind: He
comes to teach them a lesson on faith.

Please note that this is a violent storm. Jesus offers no preliminary 
instruction, no "Basic Water-Walking 101." He doesn't let them practice on 
puddles
or wait until winter so they could walk on frozen water first. He waits for 
a storm to teach how to walk on water, which is by all accounts harder to do
on rolling waves than on a placid sea. Then, on top of that, He does not 
come in daylight; He comes at night. So Jesus comes to the disciples in the 
middle
of the sea, in the middle of a storm, in the middle of the night to teach 
them how to walk on water. He doesn't make it easy! But this is the real 
Jesus
with His real disciples. And we can add to the degree of difficulty the 
probability that they are physically tired and more than a little fearful 
about
the storm.

Scripture says that the sight of a figure walking on the water, coming out 
of the blowing wind and spray in the darkness of the night, turns the 
disciples'
fear into terror. They cry out, "It is a ghost!" (Note: Some of the things 
we label as "ghostly" or demonic are really the Lord stirring life to set 
the
stage for a lesson on faith.)

As Jesus approaches the roll of the boat, He calls out, "Take courage, it is 
I; do not be afraid."

When Jesus says in the midst of your storm, "It is I," it is a call to 
faith. When He says, "Take courage," it is a call to action, for true faith 
is a
verb, not a noun. True faith will always, at some point, require courage.

Peter says, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."

This is wonderful, really. Here is an insight not only into the real Jesus 
but also into Peter's relationship with Him. Ever since Peter has known the
Jesus, the Lord has required him and the disciples to do impossible things: 
heal the sick, feed multitudes with a lunch pail of food, raise the dead. 
Over
and over Peter has seen Jesus work miracles; over and over Jesus has 
empowered Peter to do what he saw Jesus just do.

That night on the stormy sea, Peter has this amazing discernment: "If it's 
really the Lord, He will tell me to do what He is doing: something 
impossible.
If it's the Jesus I know, in a moment He will be telling me to walk on the 
water, too." And true to form, Jesus calls out to Peter: "Come!"

Now Peter is not about to walk on the water, not really. When he steps out, 
he is walking on the word Come. He knows that the power to accomplish the 
impossible
resides in Christ's word, and it is this supernatural reality upon which he 
steps.

You see, faith is all about trusting the integrity of Jesus Christ's 
command. Do you think Peter feels power when he steps on the water? I don't 
think
he feels anything besides the storm. No goose bumps. No "glory chills." 
Peter sits on the topside rail of the rocking boat and swings his legs over 
the
churning water. Peering through the wind and rain, he looks at Jesus. Then 
he slips down and stands upright in the water!

Splash! One step. Splash! Then another and another until Peter walks right 
up to Jesus. This is no little walk. Admittedly, anyone can walk on water 
for
the first step. It is the second step and beyond that is difficult. Peter 
walks until the waves grab his attention; then he begins to sink. Jesus 
saves
him, of course, and when they get into the boat the wind stops.

Maybe we would expect the Lord to say, "Peter, you did it!" Maybe Peter was 
expecting praise for his short water-walking career, but no, Jesus rebukes
him saying, "Why did you doubt?"

Christ sees the beginning of something great within Peter and He does not 
want it contaminated by pride or self-pity. Most of us want a medal every 
time
we do something for God, but He is not about to let Peter or us build a 
monument to our accomplishments, especially when we are just beginning. If 
this
miracle of Peter's were done by some of us here in America, in two weeks we 
would have tours, T-shirts and commemorative celebrations of the day we 
walked
on water. But Jesus will allow none of that for His disciples. He sees 
greatness emerging in Peter, and He will not press any of His disciples 
toward anything
other than full conformity to His image.

Remember: God's goal is that we become Christlike. Therefore, the real Jesus 
is going to call us to do the impossible. This means that we will be called
to do what we have never done before. You will see Jesus ahead of you, 
probably in some kind of storm, but it will be the beginning of a miracle 
that will
change you -- and the world around you.

Lord, forgive me for seeking a safe life instead of a supernatural life. I 
want more of You. Call me out of the boat of my familiar, predictable world.
Master, for the sake of reaching the lost, increase my faith until I am 
standing with You on the water of divine potential. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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June 20, 2014

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Spiritual Fruit

We recently finished a series of lessons on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. So 
I thought we would move on to the fruit of the Spirit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Dean W. Masters

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Post  Admin on Sun 17 Aug 2014, 11:25 pm

5 Ways To Pray When You're Too Stressed To Know How
Bonnie Gray

I didn't know that I was hiding. I've always been good at praying.

Or so I thought.

My daddy left when I was seven. I've always looked to God as my Father, my 
provider. I didn't realize that God wanted to be more than just my provider.
God longed to be my soul's confidante -- deep where I feel lonely, where I 
struggle to receive and make space for me.

I find it easier to take care of others and do things for God, rather than 
be vulnerable with my needs.

But God is showing me
prayer
is an intimate soul conversation to be loved and known, rather than a 
spiritual transaction to be made better.

This journey of restful prayer began in the most unexpected way: my first 
panic attack.

At the cusp of a life-long dream -- writing a book -- painful childhood 
memories re-ignited as live events. I began reliving them. Even though I 
was married
to my soulmate hubby, mom to two beautiful boys, even traveled halfway 
across the world as a missionary to tell others about Jesus, I couldn't stop 
my
heart from pounding like a jackhammer, unable to breathe. I couldn't stop 
endless nights of insomnia or fatigue so thick I laid in bed by day.

I felt ashamed. It seemed the peace of Jesus I've always prayed for others 
and myself was out of reach.

I knew how to pray to be competent and strong. But I didn't know there were 
deeper, beautiful prayers for broken me.

Instead of abandoning me, Jesus whispers --

"Come to me, weary and heavy-laden. And I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28

Sometimes, it takes more
faith
to fall apart with Jesus than praying for faith to stop it from happening. I 
began praying new intimate prayers.

I began
finding spiritual whitespace:
making room for rest instead of ignoring my wounding and exhaustion.

As I took the journey to find rest, I uncovered Five Soulful Ways to Pray 
When You Don't Know How:

1. When you're overwhelmed, whisper His name.

Remember receiving a first love note? It didn't have to be long. Yet your 
heart felt known seeing your handwritten name. It kept you company in the 
daily
grind, the mention of your name.

Whisper His name and listen for his echo in the quiet moments in your day.

God names the stars and He whispers your name.

"He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them."
-Psalm 147:3-5

2. When you don't have words to pray, rest knowing Jesus is praying for you.

Your silence will not drive Jesus away. Nothing can separate you from His 
love. Not even your unrest. He'll never get tired of you. Sometimes, the 
greatest
prayer we can experience is God's complete understanding and compassion. His 
presence.

"Who then is the one who condemns?
No one. Christ Jesus who died...is also interceding for us."
- Rom 8:34

3. When you are too stressed to pray, take care of you.

Extend yourself the kindness and comfort you so generously give others. 
Ironically, the times we most need God's comfort are the times we deprive 
ourselves
of soul-nurturing time.

We feel selfish. Yet, God says, we can only comfort others, with the comfort 
we first receive ourselves. (2 Cor 1:4)

Instead of layering on guilt, head in the opposite direction. Let God love 
you through your choices to prioritize taking care of you.

4. When you are numb and don't want to pray, invite Jesus into your world.

Instead of struggling to reach Jesus, invite Jesus to enter your world.

Let us strive to enter that rest. . . . For the word of God is living and 
active. . . It penetrates dividing soul and spirit.." Heb. 4:11 12

The the word of God used here is the Greek word logos translated as living 
voice. This means God is not limited to the written word.

God uses everything living to speak into our lives. He knows what’s on your 
heart and the everyday life you are living. God leaves us love notes in that
everyday life to let us know: you are God's living prayer.

Take a walk outside. Listen to music. Read a good book. Confide in a 
friend with a cup of coffee.

5. When you're too exhausted to pray, stop and rest.

"Arise and eat.
For the journey is too great for you."
- 1 Kings 19:7

Elijah had done everything he knew to do—even defeating the prophets of 
Baal. Yet, his problems did not go away. Stress broke Elijah's spirit. In 
despair,
Elijah woke up to find fresh bread baking on hot stones and water—left just 
for him.

Not only that. God sent an angel  to touch him -- twice. God knew Elijah 
needed physical rejuvenation first  in order to hear His gentle voice, 
whispering
in a gentle breeze.

No more hiding.

You're loved.

You're worth it.
Visit TheBonnieGray.com

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Today's Devotional

Hand In Hand

Psalm 31:1,3b,4b,14,15a – In You, O Lord, I put my trust; let me never be 
ashamed; deliver me in Your righteousness. Lead me and guide me, for you are
my strength. I trust in You O Lord; my times are in Your hand. (NKJV)

Some time ago, our oldest daughter, her husband, and their five-year-old 
granddaughter visited us for a few days. They live far away, and we had not 
see
our great-granddaughter since she was a baby, and they had not yet seen our 
new house. One afternoon, the little girl and I walked to the area mailbox
at the end of our street. We walked along, and I held her hand. She looked 
for puddles on the street and splashed in them when I let her, but she did 
hang
onto my hand — she trusted me.

That reminded me of occasions when it is so important and comforting to hold 
hands with someone. I remember the first time I reached out to hold a girl's
hand at a church picnic in 1951, and the surprise when she did not pull hers 
away. We still hold hands at times — same girl!

I also remember the thrill so many years ago when I held the hand of the one 
who is now the grandmother, as we went for a walk — those tentative steps
when she first learned to walk, hanging tightly onto my hand. She has three 
grandchildren now.

But people also hold hands in a compassionate way. When I go to the hospital 
or the Long Term Care Centre to visit someone, I will hold their hand quite
often, to comfort them.

There are times when we just don't know how to carry on. Sometimes, we are 
too weak to reach out our hand. Sometimes, we are paralyzed by fear or 
anxiety.
Sometimes, our lives are threatened by illness. Sometimes, we are shattered 
by death. Sometimes, we walk through deep spiritual valleys. And then, we 
hear
those wonderful words of Scripture:

Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your 
God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my
righteous right hand. (NKJV)

There are so many times when we need to hold God's hand in a symbolic, 
spiritual way, so many times when we just can't carry on on our own, times 
when
we need to ask the Lord to hold our hand.

The hymn by Thomas A. Dorsey (1899-1993) says it so well:

Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the light:
Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, as we walk this road of life, we are quite 
often alone and worried, discouraged and perplexed, and when we are, we know 
that
we can come to You in prayer and ask for Your guidance and help. Then we 
know that we can walk with You hand in hand. We thank You for this 
assurance,
in Jesus' name. Amen.

Joel Jongkind
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 67115
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Post  Admin on Sat 16 Aug 2014, 12:48 pm

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your 
good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

By Answers2Prayer
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More Illustrations
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Shine Where You Are

One at a time, they filed nervously up to the speaker's podium. With shaky 
voices, they began their list of thank yous . . . To parents, grandparents,
friends, the headmaster, teachers, custodian. Wait a minute . . . The 
custodian? Not that being a custodian isn't an extremely crucial and 
honorable profession.
I've just never heard one thanked in a public ceremony before.

I teach at a small Christian school, and Senior Chapel Day is an annual 
observance that draws a crowd of friends and family members. I thought it 
odd on
this particular occasion that so many of the soon-to-be-graduated seniors 
would acknowledge our custodian. Not only did they thank him for keeping the
school clean, they also thanked him for being their friend and for listening 
when they needed to talk. From their descriptions of him, he appeared more
along the lines of a counselor than a person who sweeps and mops our floors, 
empties our trash, and cleans up our messes.

And in fact, he was more than that at one time until a disabling stroke 
removed him from his employment of choice and placed him square in the 
middle of
three hundred noisy-and often messy, students. But he takes it all in stride 
. . . Always a smile . . . Always a moment to stop sweeping long enough to
joke with a kid or have a serious talk with a student who prefers him over a 
teacher or the headmaster.

As I listened to three-fourths of the graduating class give thanks to this 
fellow employee, I leaned over and said to the headmaster, "He's getting 
more
credit than the teachers. Maybe he's in the wrong spot." But then again 
maybe he's not. Were he a teacher, he couldn't be as chummy with the 
students lest
he lose their respect. Nor could he stop just any time he wanted for a 
hallway counseling session. So perhaps he's in the right position after all.

I suppose the headmaster reached the same conclusion I had about our friend. 
When the seniors finished their goodbyes and tributes, he mounted the stage
and invited our prized custodian to join him. He proceeded to thank him in 
front of the entire school for being more than just a custodian. In essence,
he thanked him for shining where he was even though it might not initially 
have been his employment of choice. Our final tribute to this humble servant
of God-who never gets enough credit for what he does, was a standing 
ovation. He never said a word in response. Just smiled that big smile-and 
perhaps
thanked us under his breath, walked off the stage, and in a matter of 
moments changed back into his work clothes and saddled his broom. He didn't 
have
time for accolades. He had more shining to do.

Jesus challenged his followers to imitate the actions of this modest servant 
of God. "In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so
that everyone will praise your heavenly Father" (Matthew 5:16 NLT).

I admit-I've not always enjoyed shining where God has placed me. At least 
not as much as my work cohort. I wasn't excited when he took me from a 
supervisory
position in the local textile mill down to a floor sweeper. Or when he 
decreased my 40K employment position by 22K and in the process demoted me 
from a
telling-others-what-to-do position to a being-told-what-to-do position. Or 
when I became a teacher's assistant to special need students and had to 
change
diapers instead of sit in a plush leather chair in my ornate office. Nor 
when he allowed my financial situation to be so crunched that it required 
trading
in a nice SUV with low mileage for one that had chipped paint, was the 
victim of paint overspray, and that had racked up over 200,000 miles.

But I've learned that where God puts me is not the most important matter in 
my life's puzzle . . . It's what I make of where he puts me. Making good use
of every life situation-or predicament, entails shining for him. And when I 
shine others will notice the One who enables me to shine whether I'm in dire
straits or pleasant places. Just like the students notice my custodian 
friend's acts of kindness more than they notice what he does with brooms and 
mops.
Whether I'm pushing a broom, emptying trash cans, teaching students, or 
sitting behind a leather desk on the 50th floor of an office building making 
life
changing decisions won't matter.

So go ahead . . . Shine where God puts you rather than complain about it not 
being what you'd rather do. You never know . . . You might be influencing
an entire school.

Martin Wiles
Hodges, South Carolina, USA

Announcement:

Answers2Prayer ministries is offering a series of non-denominational bible 
studies called "Getting to Know Him". These consist of three in-depths 
studies:

1. Can you believe the New Testament?

Discover how reliable the New Testament books are. The verdict will be 
yours to make!

2. Jesus, a Fraud, a Lunatic or the Messiah?

Who was Jesus Christ? Were His claims true? Was He really who He said he 
was? Is there anyway to verify who He truly was? Who do YOU think Jesus 
really
was? Was He a liar, pretending to be someone that He truly was not? Was He 
a lunatic, truly believing He was someone that He was not and deserving to
be locked up in an institute? Or was He the one He proclaimed Himself to 
be?

3. Basking in God's Unfailing Love, An Open Invitation to Experience God 
Personally

To a world gone mad, trying to get to know Jesus may seem foolish. However 
if you give Him a try, you will desire to get to know Him more and more at 
the
deepest level possible. His relationship with you will be more precious 
compared to any other human relationships out there. Enjoy getting to know 
Him.

These Bible studies are
available on the Net.
Subscription is free.

These studies are also available via email, for those who do not have web 
access. If interested, please let us know by
sending us an email.

Come and discover the wonderful purposes Jesus has for you. Enjoy!

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

Open Adoption

Romans 8:23

Even in this world saints are God's children, but the only way that people 
will discover this is by certain moral characteristics. The adoption is not
displayed; the children are not yet openly declared. Among the Romans a man 
might adopt a child and keep it private for a long time; but there was a 
second
adoption in public; when the child was brought before the constituted 
authorities, its old clothes were removed, and the father who took it to be 
his child
gave it clothing suitable to its new status in life. "Beloved, we are God's 
children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared."1 We are not yet 
clothed
in the apparel of heaven's royal family; we are wearing in this flesh and 
blood just what we wore as the children of Adam. But we know that "when he 
appears"
who is "the firstborn among many brothers,"2 we will be like Him, for we 
will see Him as He is.

Can't you imagine that a child taken from the lowest ranks of society and 
adopted by a Roman senator would say to himself, "I long for the day when I 
shall
be publicly adopted. Then I shall discard these poor clothes and be dressed 
in clothes that depict my senatorial rank"? Glad for what he has already 
received,
he still groans until he gets the fullness of what has been promised to him. 
So it is with us today. We are waiting until we put on our proper clothes
and are declared as the children of God for all to see. We are young nobles 
and have not yet worn our crowns. We are young brides, and the marriage day
has not arrived, but our fiancée's love for us leads us to long and sigh for 
the bridal morning. Our very happiness makes us long for more; our joy, like
a swollen stream, longs to spring up like a fountain, leaping to the skies, 
heaving and groaning within our spirit for lack of space and room by which
to reveal itself to men.

11 John 3:2 2Romans 8:29

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Isaiah 55

verse 2 Matthew 3
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. 
Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News 
Publishers,


You are Never Alone
RENEE SWOPE

"Now he had to go through Samaria ... and Jesus, tired as he was from the 
journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. When a Samaritan woman 
came
to draw water, Jesus said to her, 'Will you give me a drink?'"
John 4:4, 6-7
(NIV)

Alone again. That's what she must have thought as she walked alone to the 
well that day. No friend laughed by her side. No small fist gripped her 
skirt.
No sister to help pass the time.

Maybe it was better that way. Being alone was easier than hearing the 
condemning words and seeing the scornful looks of others. But she wasn't 
alone for
long. She didn't know who He was and couldn't help but wonder why He was 
talking to her, a Samaritan woman.

When He spoke, she heard gentleness in His voice. Kindness and humility in 
His simple request for a drink. In His eyes she saw acceptance, not 
judgment.
Love, not hate.

Many of us know her as the Samaritan woman, but I like to call her Sam. It 
makes her feel more like the real woman she was. A woman who struggled with
hurt, rejection and loneliness.

Today's key verse says Jesus "had to go through Samaria" (John 4:4). Yet 
theologians would tell us Jews considered Samaritans to be the scum of the 
earth
and would do everything to avoid them. In fact, usually they would travel 
around Samaria — but not Jesus.

He had to go through Samaria. Could it be because He knew Sam would be 
there?

Typically women traveled together to the well in the cool of the day, 
escaping the heat of the sun since they carried heavy jars filled with water 
back
to their homes. But Sam walked by herself during the hottest part of the 
day.

Instead of avoiding the scorching sun, many believe she went to the well at 
noon to avoid the scorching pain of others' rejection and judgment. Sam had
been married five times, and now she was living with a man who wasn't her 
husband.

The weight of the water-filled jar in the heat must have been almost 
unbearable, but the weight of her neighbors' words, reminding her of her 
failed marriages,
was more than she could take.

When Jesus met her, Sam was running an errand and running from those who 
knew of her failures, shame and imperfections. Pursuing her with His perfect 
love,
Jesus timed it so she would run into Him.

He initiated conversation and asked her for the one thing she had to offer: 
water. It wasn't much, but it was a start.

Sam stopped and listened. She let Him speak words of assurance and 
acceptance into the broken, insecure, empty places of her heart.

In the same way Jesus intentionally pursued Sam in one of the loneliest 
parts of her day, He is there in the midst of your sometimes lonely, 
imperfect
life. He is there when your disappointments and failures leave you empty and 
make you doubt your worth and purpose.

He is there when you're going through the motions, aware of what needs to be 
done but unaware of how you're going to do it all.

He is there during endless days filled with projects, diapers or laundry 
when you're wondering if you'll ever find meaning in the monotony.

He is there when you're criticizing yourself and questioning whether you 
have what it takes to be a godly woman.

He sees you. He notices all you do, and He knows what you long for. In fact, 
Jesus is the only One who can meet your deepest need to be known, accepted
and pursued simply because of who you are.

Today He is pursuing you with His gift of perfect love — love that is 
patient and kind, love that keeps no record of your wrongs, love that won't 
give
up on you or me.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, He is there. Will you take time to 
stop and talk to Him and then quiet your thoughts so you can listen to His
voice?

Dear Lord, thank You for pursuing me. I want to know and rely on the love 
You have for me and live in the security of it! When I feel afraid, 
insignificant
or alone, help me turn to You and remember You are there! In Jesus' Name, 
Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Jeremiah 31:3b, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you 
with unfailing kindness." (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Do you long to feel loved, accepted and pursued? If so,
A Confident Heart
by Renee Swope is just the book for you! Chapter by chapter, Renee will show 
you how to live in the power of God's promises and the security of God's
heart and love for you.

Renee has also written
A Confident Heart Devotional,
combining God's Word with encouragement to start your day.

Visit
Renee's blog
for more encouragement.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How does it make you feel to knowing Jesus is pursuing you in every moment 
of every day? Take a minute to tell Him what assurance you need from Him 
today.

© 2014 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
"I would rather walk in the dark with Jesus than to walk in the light on my 
own."
Wayne Watson
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Post  Admin on Sat 16 Aug 2014, 11:32 am

Just Nine Doors Down
KAREN EHMAN

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with 
all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your
neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.'"
Mark 12:30-31
(NIV)

In the two years since we'd moved into our new neighborhood, I'd seen her on 
my walks. Sometimes she was rolling her trash can out to the curb. Or in her
front yard watering her flowers. I'd smile and say "Hi" for a brief second.

After all, my neighborhood is big; my life is busy. So I'd pop my headphones 
back in and keep walking to my house, just nine doors down.

Awhile back, there were flashing lights, sirens and all things alarming in 
our neighborhood. A fire, maybe? ... I thought as I drove into my 
neighborhood,
returning from an errand-running venture. My mama's heart raced. My 
12-year-old son was home alone. Had he burnt some toast and set the smoke 
alarm system
blaring? Or worse?

As my car approached, I saw it was not my house, but another house nine 
doors down. Relief for my soul.

And though the rescue vehicles were parked in front of my nine-doors-down 
neighbor's house, no fire appeared to blaze there either.

Must have been a false alarm, I reasoned to myself.

Two days later, I heard the awful news. No fire. No smoke. Just a terribly 
saddened soul.

You see, just nine doors down, something happened in the mind of my 
nameless, flower-watering, smile-and-say-hello fellow human being. Something 
told her
this life wasn't worth living anymore. And she agreed.

Now her heart no longer beats. Her flowers still grow, but she can't water 
them anymore. I can still walk by her house, lost deeply in the Jesus-music
blaring on my iPod. Staring straight ahead. Rushing to the next thing on my 
to-do list for the day.

Nine doors down, there will be no more hand-waves. No smiles as I stroll by. 
And no more thoughts of, I should stop and find out her name. I haven't 
really
met this gal yet. If I'd reached out and befriended her, would she have seen 
Jesus in our friendship?

Could we have walked the neighborhood streets together? Maybe gone for 
coffee to get to know each other a bit? Would a glimpse of the perfect God 
in the
life of an imperfect me perhaps beckoned her to have a relationship with 
Him, too? Would she have found God's purpose and peace instead of finding a 
way
to end her emotional pain?

God only knows.

I am a woman who wants to love God, but so often I am too busy to really 
love the people He puts plainly in my path. But this love, as today's key 
verse
declares, is more important than all the sacrifices we could make.

I cannot beat myself up. But I can do something. So can you. We can pause, 
permitting God to tap us on the heart, gently interrupt us and rearrange our
day.

We can go deeper ... beyond a hurried "Hi!" to an authentic, "How are you?" 
When God knocks on our hearts, we can knock on their doors.

Will you do it? Will you try? Then once you've reached out, leave the 
results to God. Our job is obedience. God's job is results.

Trust me, it is AWFUL to get to know your neighbor through the tales and 
tears of her relatives at a memorial service. I wish I had made the time and 
gotten
to know her personally.

May we all respond to those taps on our hearts today and not ignore them. 
God just may use us as He saves a life.

After all, remember it isn't that far of a walk ... just nine doors down.

Dear Lord, I want to be aware of the times You tap my heart, asking me to 
reach out to someone. May I pay attention and respond, so they might know 
You.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 4:17,
"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." 
(NIV 1984)

Proverbs 3:28,
"Do not say to your neighbor, 'Come back tomorrow and I'll give it to you' — 
when you already have it with you.'" (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
For Seven Simple Outreach Ideas and a giveaway based on today's devotion, 
visit
Karen Ehman's blog.

For easy, practical ways to reach out and celebrate others, check out 
Karen's latest book (co-written with Glynnis Whitwer)
Everyday Confetti: Your Year-Round Guide to Celebrating Holidays and Special 
Occasions.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Was there ever a time you felt God nudging you to reach out to a neighbor, 
coworker or other person in your life, whom you didn't know very well? Did 
you?
If not, how could you respond differently in the future?

© 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

Malay People of Malaysia
Jun 18, 2014 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

I John 4:16-17 "So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, 
and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. In this is
love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the Day of Judgment, 
because as He is, so are we in this world."

Intercessor, see how the incredible power of God’s agape love sets you free! 
You don’t have to cook up or fake your own love for God or neighbors. All
you have to do is abide in God’s agape love as you pray for the harvesters, 
senders, and intercessors for the Malay people and all the other unreached
groups you will soon be meeting in glory. You will joyfully share in the 
victory celebrations of these overcomers!

Pray that you will abide in Him as you await His final victory.

Today's People Group

Khairi and Binti Mulia have been sitting proudly upon their raised wedding 
platform for hours, allowing the crowd of guests to stream by admiring their
henna painted hands. They are dressed in clothes that are ornate with 
traditional designs of an earlier era when Hinduism was the cultural 
religion. But
they are now also resplendent with the trappings of a Muslim arranged 
marriage. Rings of young boys surround them playing sepak raga, keeping a 
rattan
ball aloft with any body part except their hands or arms. Laughter and 
excited chatter fill the jungle setting.

Both Khairi and Binti Mulia qualify as Malay by their constitution because 
they are Islamic in their faith, speak their national language, and practice
Malay customs. Binti Mulia is from a rural area and her family is dressed in 
the traditional cloth wrap-around skirt; Khairi’s family is urban and wears
denim jeans and t-shirts. They also carry cell phones.

“Khairi, ask your mother to summon a bomoh (witchdoctor) to bless our 
ceremony,” Binti Mulia whispers to her groom. And thus the blending of the 
original
animist religion with the Hindu influence from India and the 
trader-introduced Islam religion manifests itself at the wedding. This 
intermingling of religions
is practiced among 99 percent of the Malay people.

Pray that the true Lord of lords, Jesus Christ, may be revealed to the Malay 
people. Pray that the Word of God might penetrate the veiled hearts and 
minds
of the Malay people.

Learn more atJoshua Project.
read more
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DEAN MASTERS OWNER OF THE MASTERS LIST
Welcome to the Nugget

June 17, 2014

The Wasp
bible
By Answers2Prayer
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Two days ago, I noticed a wasp in the house. I tried everything to put him 
back outside. I opened doors and windows, I chased him with a broom, but to
no avail.

Yesterday evening as I was doing the dishes, I noticed the desperate buzzing 
of an insect overhead. It was the wasp. Somehow one of his body sections was
stuck to the fluorescent light fixture over the sink. In one last effort to 
save his life, I scraped him off the light and transported him outside. As
he tried unsuccessfully to turn himself right-side up, however, I realized 
the inevitable: it was too late.

Have you noticed there are relatively few sermons on hell anymore? As a 
result, hell remains a stumbling block for many people.

The first category of people who stumble over the hell doctrine are those 
who either believe that people don't go to hell or that they don't stay 
there.
The problem is, a thorough study of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man 
(
Luke 16)
assures us of the falseness of these beliefs. The rich man is in hell, and 
though he recognizes his wrongs and repents, though he desires for Lazarus 
to
go and warn his brothers so that they will not suffer his fate, he stays in 
hell! The truth is, people go to hell every day, and once there, there is no
way out!

The second category of people who stumble over the hell doctrine are those 
who believe that God does indeed send people to hell, and as a result, they
don't want anything to do with Him.

But does God truly send people to hell?

A thorough study of John 3:17-18 tells us the contrary: "...He who believes 
in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already,
because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." 
(John 3:17-18, NKJV)

Wait. You didn't catch the reference to hell? Read it again:

"But he who does not believe is condemned already..."

Friends, God doesn't send sinners to hell! That's where they are already 
headed! Just like that wasp was doomed to die the moment he decided to come 
inside
my house, anyone born in this world after Adam is headed straight for the 
fires of hell! God never wanted us to take the path of sin and death, but 
Adam
chose it anyway, and as a result, all of us, through Adam (
1 Cor. 15:22),
are already condemned! Hell isn't God's ultimate punishment for sin. It is 
simply the end of the road we are already on!

In contrast to the image of an angry God sending people to hell, we have a 
loving God, standing there, waving His arms and calling out: "I made a way!"
"...but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:17)

Once that wasp refused to turn from his path of eternal destruction, there 
was nothing I could do to help him, and it made me sad. In the same way, 
once
we make the decision to refuse Jesus Christ, there is nothing more God can 
do either, and it makes Him very sad. The wasp cannot come back from the 
dead,
and we cannot return from hell. But there is another Way, and His name is 
Jesus Christ!

Think about it!

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:

The book of John takes us through many deep discussions that Jesus gave at 
various times in His ministry.
©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely 
give.
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Making Faces
by Katherine Britton

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony 
in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had 
spoken
with the Lord. –
Exodus 34:29

Once upon a time, armed with a couple brushes and makeup cakes, I 
specialized in turning 20-year-olds into 70-year-olds.

My time backstage in the college theater resulted in curious, long-term 
fascination with age lines and facial features. I more than once found 
myself ignoring
a professor’s lecture to study his face – ironically, studying the faces 
sometimes gave me a clearer insight into who my professor was as a person, 
and
what his expectations might be. I’ve carried that quirk with me as I meet 
new people at church, at work, or at massive
family
reunions.

Here’s the thing – sure, everyone gets crows feet as they age, but only some 
people have the unique quality that upgrades the “wrinkles” into “laugh 
lines.”
The eyes in those faces possess a permanent twinkle that makes me wish I had 
all day to listen to their tales of dare’n’do. Other faces have the stern,
vertical jowl lines indicating a person might not have spent enough time 
smiling. It’s easy to spot the people who talk with their eyes just by 
looking
at their forehead and observing how prominent the creases are.

Backstage in college, these observations played an important role in every 
theater production. As part of the makeup crew, my goal was to create 
immediate
character recognition and visible personality for actors before they even 
opened their mouths to say their first lines. This was especially important 
when
creating older characters. The artifice of the theater let me speed through 
the years and imagine – if this sallow character was 50, 60, or 70 years 
old,
what toll would their personality have taken on their expression? Add a line 
here, a perceived fullness there, a slight curve or shadow, and my 
college-age
friends would (in theory) walk out not as themselves, but as a visual 
portrayal of a character. The lines served as an outward sign of an inner 
temperament.

Theater makeup allowed me to put the habits of a lifetime onto someone for 
just a few hours. After that, an actor could just wash off the brown and 
crème
lines and “old age” foundation. The rest of us wear – and are always 
creating – more permanent lines.

The visual character sketches I used to create constantly reminded me that 
people either get “better or bitter” as we grow older. Our attitudes and 
values
subtly reveal themselves on our faces from childhood on. Dorian Gray was a 
caricature, but actions do tend to work themselves to the surface whether we
want the world to know or not.

You can look around to see what a lifetime of self-centered crankiness will 
do to a person’s looks. On the other hand, if your church is like mine, you
can also find faces that show a lifetime of peace in Christ. Those faces – 
and those eyes – are tied to a world that has more than a few difficulties 
and
anxieties, but that’s not what shines through. It’s the joy of Christ that 
gives those eyes a constant twinkle.

Intersection of
Faith
& Life: We ultimately display what’s in our hearts right on our faces. Moses 
experienced this everyday truth in a supernatural way every time he spoke
with God (Exodus 34:29-35), when everyone could tell just by looking at his 
“radiant” face that he had met with God. After his heart had been fully 
focused
on God, his face reflected it. When people look at your face, what do they 
see? Are you building attitudes and character traits today that you want 
reflected
on your face in a few years time?

For Further Reading

Acts 4:13

Proverbs 15:13

Check out fantastic resources on
Crosswalk.com

Our Shepherd Knows Our Needs

The Lord knows us and knows our afflictions. In Mark 6:30-44 we have a 
beautiful picture of this knowledge of the Lord and the compassion that 
flows from
Him in light of this knowledge.

The first scene is of the twelve disciples. They have been laboring in 
ministry the entire day and Christ is an observant shepherd. He knows that 
they
are tired. And this knowledge of their affliction leads Him to say, “Go away 
by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while” (v. 30). He does not 
need
to ask, as the Lord of all He knows all; and that knowledge leads Him to 
compassion.

The next scene in the passage is of Jesus and the disciples crossing the sea 
to find a place to rest. However, before they can reach the other side they
see the crowd on the beach. We are told, “When he went ashore he saw a great 
crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without
a shepherd” (v.34). Again, the Lord knows the affliction of His people. What 
does He do with this knowledge of their affliction? He addresses it. He has
compassion for their estate, so He begins to teach them (v.34).

The third scene occurs at the end of the day, after this time of teaching. 
The Lord looks out upon the people and once again demonstrates the full 
knowledge
He has of their needs. They are hungry and there is no food. As occured in 
the two previous episodes, this knowledge also leads Him to compassion. He 
addresses
their need by multiplying the fish and the bread to feed them.

He knows of the disciples’ tiredness, the crowd’s ignorance, and the 
peoples' hunger. Our Lord and Savior knows His people's every need. And that 
knowledge
is not just bare facts to Him. He is not like the court reporter who simply 
jots it down or records it. Rather, this knowledge moves Him with 
compassion.

He cared about their seemingly smallest afflictions: rest, ignorance, 
hunger. This can too often be lost in our counsel, teaching, and own 
thoughts. He
has saved us from our greatest afflictions: death, hell, satan, and sin. All 
accomplished out of His great compassion, love, mercy, and grace. This 
cannot
be overemphasized. Yet, it is also true that we should comfort the weary, 
minister to the languishing, and encourage the afflicted with the truth that
their faithful High Priest not only looked upon their spiritual affliction 
and acted in compassion, but looks upon their seemingly smallest afflictions
and acts with compassion.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4a Paul says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who 
comforts
us in all our affliction..." "That word “comfort” means encouragement or 
consolation. God is the God of all comfort or encouragement or consolation. 
It
is the same word that is often used to speak of the “consolation of Israel” 
throughout the Scriptures. Consolation, meaning deliverance from all 
hostility.
Simeon, that old man in Luke 2, was said to be waiting for the “consolation 
of Israel.” When He saw the Lord Jesus Christ, he said, “My eyes have seen
your salvation.” He not only brings us consolation and comfort, but is our 
consolation and comfort. And He is not only our consolation and comfort in 
some
things, but in all things.

God knows what His people need in the midst of their afflictions. Whether it 
is tiredness, ignorance, hunger or the greater afflictions of death, sin,
satan, and hell. And that knowledge is not bare knowledge. It is not 
knowledge that leads Him to act and provide in the person of His Son. As 
Paul says
in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, He comforts us in "all our affliction." "All"--there 
is nothing outside of His knowledge or care. He is in the person of His Son,
the good Shepherd, who knows, cares, and provides for His sheep.

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Ephesians: One People, One Calling, One Task

Dr. Boice said Ephesians is “a mini-course in theology, centered on the 
Church”. Here Paul lays out the fundamental doctrine of the body of Christ.
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A Child's Prayer for Iraq

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

TANTA, EGYPT (ANS) -- The violent takeover of several Iraqi towns by the 
extremist group, Islamic State (IS), has been devastating in recent weeks.

Islamic State fighters in Iraq

According to the Assyrian International News Agency (
www.aina.org),
their persecution of Iraqi Christians, which has already forced tens of 
thousands of men, women and children to flee for their lives, is fast 
becoming
a genocide, religious leaders have warned.

Archbishop Athanasius Toma Dawod of the Syriac Orthodox church said that 
IS's capture of Qaraqosh, Iraq's largest Christian city, had marked a 
turning
point for Christians in the country.

"Now we consider it genocide -- ethnic cleansing," he said. "They are 
killing our people in the name of Allah and telling people that anyone who 
kills
a Christian will go straight to heaven: that is their message. They have 
burned churches; they have burned very old books. They have damaged our 
crosses
and statues.. They are occupying our churches and converting them into 
mosques."

Young boy praying

Children in particular are sensitive to such tragedies. Mario, a regular fan 
of the SAT-7 KIDS program "Why Is That?" called the studio last week to pray
for Iraq and all the Arab countries.

According to spokesperson for SAT-7 KIDS, the young boy called from his home 
in Tanta, just north of Cairo in Egypt. As soon as Mario's voice came over
the air, presenter "Mr. Know" recognized him.

"Even though Mario lives hundreds of miles away from Iraq, he is touched by 
the plight of families suffering there," said the spokesperson.

Mario prayed over the air:

We thank you for extending your glory to everything in our lives, Lord.
We pray for Iraq and all the Arab countries, they're in your hand, Lord. Let 
there be peace and forgiveness, oh Lord, in terms of those who are doing 
bombings.
Watch over the innocent people.

Even those killing others, you love them very much. You wait for them that 
they may come back to you again, oh Lor d.
Lord Jesus, you said, 'Come to me, you who are weary and heavy laden, and I 
will give you rest.' Yes, Lord. May we come back to you in everything, Lord
Jesus.

Whether it be a small problem or a big problem, whether it be among nations 
or something material, or anything. If it be household problems, you will be
glorified, Lord Jesus.

Logo

"The innocence and goodwill of a child's prayers are an uplifting witness 
during such trying times," added the spokesperson. "They give hope that God 
can
use the next generation to shape a different future for the region according 
to His will."

For more information on this broadcast ministry to the Middle East and North 
Africa, please go to:
www.sat7usa.org

Share
See all ASSIST News articles at
www.assistnews.net


Rizpah

Her name means: "A Hot Stone" or "Coal"

Her character: Saul's concubine Rizpah was the mother of Armoni and 
Mephibosheth. Though a woman with few rights and little power, she displayed 
great
courage and loyalty after the death of her sons.
Her sorrow: That her only sons were executed and their bodies dishonored 
because of their father's crime.
Her joy: That the bodies of her sons were finally given an honorable burial.
Key Scriptures:
2 Samuel 21:8-14

Her Story

One day a rabbi stood on a hill overlooking a certain city. The rabbi 
watched in horror as a band of Cossacks on horseback suddenly attacked the 
town,
killing innocent men, women, and children. Some of the slaughtered were his 
own disciples. Looking up to heaven, the rabbi exclaimed: "Oh, if only I 
were
God." An astonished student, standing nearby, asked, "But, Master, if you 
were God, what would you do differently?" The rabbi replied: "If I were God 
I
would do nothing differently. If I were God, I would understand."

One day a woman named Rizpah was standing on a hill in Israel, watching the 
execution of seven men. Her grief was sharp, for among the dead were her own
two sons. Executed for their father's crime, their bodies were left to rot 
on the hillside, despite a law requiring burial by sunset. Perhaps, like the
rabbi, Rizpah wished she were God, even for a moment. Maybe then she would 
understand the "why" of what she had just witnessed.

It is not hard to imagine Rizpah's suffering. To watch as her body convulses 
in sorrow. To see her pound a fist against her breast to beat away the 
grief.
When will she turn away from the gruesome spectacle? we wonder. But instead 
of fleeing the scene of her sorrow, she faces it, drawing close to bloodied
bodies she once had cradled in her arms. Then she spreads sackcloth on a 
rock and sits down, refusing to move except to beat off birds of prey by day 
and
jackals by night. Her vigil would last for several months—from mid-April to 
early October. Rizpah would not bury her grief as long as the bodies of her
sons remained unburied.

Joshua had promised to live in peace with the Gibeonites, but Saul had 
murdered many of them during his reign, attempting to annihilate them. As a 
result
of Saul's oath-breaking, Israel suffered a famine for three years running. 
In retribution, the Gibeonites had asked David for seven of Saul's male 
offspring.
David surrendered Saul's two sons by Rizpah and five grandsons by Saul's 
daughter Merab. Blood was spilt for blood.

Scripture doesn't say whether Rizpah's sons shared their father's guilt. But 
like all mothers whose children have perished by violence—those in Bosnia,
Kosovo, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, our own inner cities, and even our 
suburbs—Rizpah must have understood the terrible link between sin and death. 
One
person's sin is a cancer that spreads. By refusing to hide her grief, by 
living out her anguish in public, Rizpah gave meaning to her sons' deaths, 
making
the entire nation face the evil of what had happened.

Finally, the rains came. Finally, the king's heart was touched. Hearing of 
Rizpah's loyalty and courage, David ordered the remains of the executed to 
be
buried. He even ordered Saul's and his son Jonathan's bones to be reclaimed 
and buried.

Scripture doesn't say that God ordered David to hand the men over to the 
Gibeonites in the first place, or even that the famine ended when they were 
executed.
Instead, as Virginia Stem Owens points out in her book Daughters of Eve, the 
Bible indicates that God answered prayers on behalf of the land after the
dead were given a decent burial. David's act in honor of the dead may have 
signaled an end to Israel's divisions. Finally, the land could be healed and
the Israelites could reunite under David's leadership.

Rizpah made the people look at the cost of sin. Like many women in ancient 
cultures, she had few rights and little power. But her persistent courage 
gave
meaning to her sons' deaths and helped a nation deal with the sin of its 
leader. Her story is tragic; her response, memorable. Perhaps because of 
her,
other mothers in Israel were spared a similar grief, at least for a time.

Her Promise

Rizpah's consistency and tenacity is a lesson for all who are inclined to 
give up when the going gets tough. Out of love and a need to do what was 
right,
she stuck out bad weather, cold, fatigue, and wild animals to protect her 
dead sons. Finally, someone in authority took notice and did something. Her 
faithfulness
was rewarded, and she could rest. God promises the same to us. He asks us 
only to be faithful and to leave the rest up to him. Whatever the 
situation—harsh
parents, unloving spouses, rebellious children, financial difficulties, 
sickness, or death—God knows and will uphold and provide in his time.

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.

Today's DCQ
Inspirational quotes from Christ followers throughout the ages.
View this email in your browser

Daily Christian Quote

Today's Quote:

Do you know what hurts so very much? It’s love. Love is the strongest force 
in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. There are two things
we can do when this happens. We can kill that love so that it stops hurting. 
But then of course part of us dies, too. Or we can ask God to open up 
another
route for that love to travel.

Corrie Ten Boom

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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The Difference
RENEE SWOPE

"My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that 
they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they
may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ ..."
Colossians 2:2
(NIV)

I noticed something was different as soon as he walked in the door. Andrew, 
my 16-year-old son, had come home from exercising at the gym and instead of
looking exhausted, a bright smile stretched across his face like a crescent 
moon.

Before I could ask what was up, Andrew said, "The custodian stopped me in 
the hallway and told me I 'looked like a champion' after working out."

The comment made Andrew feel great. Just knowing someone actually noticed 
his hard work lifting weights made him want to give the guy a hug! But that 
felt
awkward, so he just said "thanks" and kept walking.

"But, when I got to the exit door," Andrew went on to say, "I decided to 
drop my bag and run back to thank the guy for encouraging me! And it made me 
feel
so awesome!"

The next morning, Andrew told me he couldn't stop thinking about what had 
happened at the gym. He said, "From now on, any time I feel like I'm 
supposed
to encourage someone, I'm gonna do it! Not just because of how good it will 
make them feel, but because of how good it makes me feel to focus on other
people and not be so focused on myself all the time."

I did everything I could to hold back the tears. Yes, I was proud of 
Andrew's decision, but more than anything I was captivated by the difference 
I saw
in my boy's eyes. And with his permission, I want to share why.

For months, we watched our outgoing, happy, encouraging kid withdraw from us 
and from friends. We listened as he vented deep doubts and questions about
God, compounded by frustration and uncertainties about his own purpose in 
life.

Overwhelming concerns had occupied every square inch of my thoughts. My 
greatest concern came as I watched Andrew sink into a pit of discouragement 
as
he insulated himself with negative anger towards God, his circumstances, and 
consuming self-focus.

My husband and I prayed. We wrestled with God. We talked through Andrew's 
questions and doubts whenever he was willing. And we loved on him as much as
we knew how.

But now, many months later, I am still amazed by the difference a few words 
of encouragement made. Words offered by a stranger who noticed him, 
encouraged
him and inspired him to give away what he had received.

In today's key verse, the Apostle Paul shares how his life's goal was that 
others be "encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the
full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the 
mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of 
wisdom and
knowledge"
(Colossians 2:2-3).

Could it be that encouragement unites our hearts in love with God and each 
other? Then it unlocks spiritual riches of understanding to help us grasp 
all
that is ours in Christ?

Just today, Andrew told me again how his heart changed that night after 
coming home from the gym. He said for the first time, in a long time, he 
felt the
power and presence of God's love, which he had been shutting out for months. 
And in the days that followed, he started to turn back toward hope and 
ultimately
turn toward God.

Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of Your encouragement. Help me slow down 
to hear You speak words of hope into my life, reminding my heart that You 
see
me, value me and have a purpose for me! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Colossians 2:6-7,
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your 
lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you 
were
taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Find lasting encouragement and truth in our Proverbs 31 Ministries Real-Life 
Devotional Bible for Women.
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to buy a copy for yourself and a friend. It's on sale for only $24.99!

Looking for a summer devotional? We've compiled 100 of our favorites to lift 
you up with God's hope and truth each day in our
Encouragement for Today devotional book.

As we head into the summer months, our donations tend to decrease and yet 
it's a time of the year when growth initiatives increase. This month we need
to raise $75,000 to help with the leaner summer months, and we would love 
for you to join us. Here are three ways you can help today:

1. Support Proverbs 31 Ministries with your prayers and financial gifts. 
While the devotions are free to you and me, they aren't free to the 
ministry.
Every gift we receive today will be celebrated by our staff ringing a 
"blessing bell" in our office and thanking God for you by name.
Please donate today.

2. We need 50 new monthly partners to commit to giving $31 a month to 
support new initiatives of expanding the reach of our daily devotions. Will 
you consider
becoming a monthly partner? You can
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3. Tell a friend about our Proverbs 31 Ministries Encouragement for Today 
devotions and send her
this link to sign up.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Think of a time when someone's words of encouragement made a difference in 
your life or in your faith. Ask God to show you someone to encourage today.
Then pray for the words of reassurance they need, and let your life make a 
difference in theirs!

© 2014 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Care Instructions for a Life Worth Living

Living Life in Jesus' Name

Amidst all the confusing and distorted notions, Scripture speaks with 
brilliant clarity. “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (
1 John 2:6,
NIV). To pursue spiritual life means simply this: To know Jesus more 
intimately and to live as if he were in your place. It is to order your life 
in such
a way that you stay connected to Christ, thinking as he thought, speaking as 
he spoke, and walking as he walked.

Certainly, this imitation of Christ will look different for each person, 
expressing itself through that person’s unique temperament, abilities, and 
circumstances.
But there is a common denominator. At the core of Jesus’ teaching is the 
command to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to 
love
other people as you love yourself. (
Mark 12:30–31).

What would this kind of life look like if you actually lived it out? Let’s 
face it—you could chalk up this concept as another idea that sounds good but
isn’t really practical. Yet God is inviting you to make each moment of 
everyday a chance to learn from him how to master the art of life.

The apostle Paul put it like this: “Whatever you do, whether in word or 
deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (
Col.3:17,
NIV)

In the Bible, names often reflect a person’s character. So to do something 
in Jesus’ name means to do it in a way consistent with his character--to do
it the way Jesus himself would. Paul’s teaching is very comprehensive on 
this matter. He says, “Whatever you do....” And in case anyone misses his 
point,
he adds, “... whether in word or deed....” And in case anyone misses that he 
says, “...do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (italics added for 
emphasis).

Your spiritual life is simply your whole life—every minute and detail of 
it—from God’s perspective. In other words, God isn’t interested in your 
spiritual
life. God is simply interested in your life. And every moment is an 
opportunity to do life in Jesus’ name.

One fully devoted follower, Brother Lawrence, put it this way:

"...(W)hat makes you think that God is absent from the maintenance shop but 
present in the chapel? ... Holiness doesn’t depend on changing our jobs, but
in doing for God’s sake what we have been used to doing for our own. 
Seriously—repair the equipment for God, answer the abusive phone calls for 
God, concentrate
fully on the job you’re doing for God. He isn’t obsessed with religion--he’s 
the God of the whole of life. But we need to give it to him, consciously 
turning
it over into his hands. Then whatever we’re doing--provided it is not 
against his will--becomes an act of Christian service." —David Winter, 
Closer Than
a Brother (on the life of Brother Lawrence)

All of the everyday stuff of life can be filled with his presence—if you 
are. You can do what you’re doing right now as Jesus would do it in your 
place.
And if you do, you too will know the joy of true spiritual life.

© 2014 by Zondervan. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Visit
JohnOrtberg.com
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The Gift of Love

We now finish the series on the gifts of the Holy Spirit with the gift of 
love. All of the gifts we have studied so far can be faked. We are warned in 
the Scriptures about false prophets and teachers. We know of other gifts 
like tongues which someone can make up to be in the “in crowd”. Even some 
miracles or healings can be conjured up with the help of others. So if all 
these can be false, you cannot trust anyone who does these to be a true 
Christian. How, then, do you know who is a true believer? A true Christian 
will have the gift of love. As John wrote:

1 John 4:8 (NKJV)
8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

If you belong to Jesus Christ, you know God. This verse says that if you see 
someone who does not love, they do not know God so they are not a Christian.

We now come to the famous Scripture Paul wrote about this gift:

1 Corinthians 13 (ISV)

1If I speak in the tongues of humans and angels but have no love, I have 
become a reverberating gong or a clashing cymbal. 2If I have the gift of 
prophecy and can understand all secrets and every form of knowledge, and if 
I have absolute faith so as to move mountains but have no love, I am 
nothing. 3Even if I give away all that I have and surrender my body so that 
I may boast but have no love, I get nothing out of it.

4Love is always patient,
Love is always kind,
Love is never envious
Or vaunted up with pride.

Nor is she conceited,
5And never is she rude,
Never does she think of self
Or ever get annoyed.

She never is resentful,
6Is never glad with sin,
But always glad to side with truth,
Whene’er the truth should win.

7She bears up under everything,
Believes the best in all,
There is no limit to her hope,
And never will she fall.

8Love never fails. Now if there are prophecies, they will be done away with. 
If there are tongues, they will cease. If there is knowledge, it will be 
done away with. 9For what we know is incomplete and what we prophesy is 
incomplete. 10But when what is complete comes, then what is incomplete will 
be done away with.
11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and 
reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up my childish ways. 
12Now we see only a blurred reflection in a mirror, but then we will see 
face to face. Now what I know is incomplete, but then I will know fully, 
even as I have been fully known.
13Right now three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of 
these is love.

In the first section of this Scripture Paul writes about things that people 
have done that look good and upright but they have not had love, meaning 
that they were not followers of Jesus Christ. They did these things for self 
or for duty without a relationship with Jesus.

The next section shows us how we can show others that we have the love of 
God inside us. These include patience, kindness and not being selfish.

The third section is about when the gifts of the Holy Spirit pass away. This 
is when the complete (or perfect) comes. I have heard quite a few say that 
this means that the gifts of the Spirit went away when Jesus Christ came to 
earth for the first time. How could this be? The gifts were not given to us 
until after He ascended back into heaven! This phrase could mean when Jesus 
comes back again. It also could mean that the gifts of the Spirit would be 
no more when we become complete or perfect. When does that happen? When we 
who belong to Jesus Christ die or when He raptures us from this earth. Then 
we will not need the gifts of the Spirit.

In the last section Paul writes about how the Christian life is similar to 
our earthly life. We start out as babies and grow. In the Christian life, we 
don’t stop growing until we get to heaven. Here on earth we can know some of 
Jesus Christ but when we get to heaven we will know Him fully just as He 
knows us now.

So as we walk on our Christian journey, we must show the love of God 
everywhere. We are to desire the spiritual gifts and obey when led to 
display them but as the chorus says, “They’ll know we are Christians buy our 
love”.

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List

When You're Living Psalm 31 Instead of Proverbs 31
Joy Allmond

If you are a woman and have been a part of the Church for any length of 
time, chances are good that you have studied
Proverbs 31
alone or with a group of other women.

Some of us have heard it so much we have become jaded, or notice that people 
have clichéd it.

Others however, feel discouraged by
Proverbs 31
because we don’t measure up to it, or don’t feel as though we have the favor 
of the
Proverbs 31 woman.

Sometimes, we feel more like a
Psalm 31
woman:

Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with 
sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and 
my years
by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow 
weak. Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors; I
am a dread to my friends-- those who see me on the street flee from me. I am 
forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.
For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire 
against me and plot to take my life (vs. 9-13).

If your life looks a little too much like Psalm 31, there are at least five 
truths that can help move you toward a Proverbs 31 mentality.

Your Sorrow Can Turn to Joy

A woman who is living
Psalm 31:9
is under deep emotional stress. Not only is she emotionally spent; her eyes 
are worn out from shedding so many tears. And this doesn’t sound like the
silent tears that gently roll down your cheek. This sounds like what some of 
us call “the ugly cry.”

The Proverbs 31 woman “laughs at the days to come” (v.
25).
This might indicate that she doesn’t have any struggles in her life. Or, at 
the very least, one might think she doesn’t care about the problems she 
faces.

This passage never says the Proverbs 31 woman is without a concern. However, 
since she “laughs at the days to come,” she is secure in knowing Who holds
the future and is able to rejoice because God is in control of every aspect 
of her life—good and bad.

If the personal anguish aspect of
Psalm 31
is playing out in your life right now, don’t despair. God has promised us 
several times throughout Scriptures like
Jeremiah 31:13
that he will turn our sadness into joy. Like the
Proverbs 31 woman,
we can rest in that promise.

Remember That God Not Only Redeems; He Restores

The suffering the psalmist describes goes beyond the crying and the 
emotional pain. The emotional pain has manifested into physical pain. Have 
you ever
cried so hard you physically ached, or made yourself sick? More than likely 
you have, which means you can identify with the level of grief of the 
psalmist—at
least in its physical manifestation.

The person writing Psalm 31 indicates in verse nine that his body is weary 
from the grief and in
verse 10
said, “My strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.”

The Proverbs 31 woman, on the other hand, is strong and healthy.
In verse 17,
we are told, “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for 
her tasks.”

Although the person writing Psalm 31 is physically weakened by a state of 
anxiety, there is something we can learn from him. A few verses earlier 
(verse

seven),
he acknowledges God’s omniscience—that fact that he knows all—when he said, 
“…For you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.”

If you are in a Psalm 31 season of your life physically, remember this: God 
knows. And he not only knows, he restores: “And after you have suffered for
a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal 
glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish 
you” (
1 Peter 5:10,
ESV).

Despite what the prosperity gospel preaches, we may not have our restoration 
while we walk earth. Rest assured, we will be restored one day.

God is the Owner of Our Reputations

For those of us who feel like we don’t measure up to the Proverbs 31 woman,
verse 23
can be particularly daunting: “Her husband is respected at the city gate; 
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.”

Sometimes, especially with the presence of social media in our lives, the 
life of a woman can often revert back to a high school popularity contest. 
Anyone
who feels socially inferior can certainly relate to
Psalm 31:11-13:

Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.
I am forgotten as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.
For I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
and plot to take my life.

One of the key stressors in the lives of women today is the felt obligation 
to please everyone around us, and for us to appear to have everything 
together.

And for goodness sake, we want to be liked.

The
Proverbs 31 woman
might sound like “Mrs. Popular” to those who struggle with their 
relationships or are having a reputational crisis. Or maybe unlike the 
Proverbs 31 woman,
your husband is not respectable. Maybe he doesn’t treat you well. Maybe he 
won’t go to church with you. Maybe he doesn’t even know or love God.

And you fear these things reflect negatively on you.

However, be encouraged. There is actually good news in the verses 
immediately following the lament of the psalmist in verses
14 and 15:
“But I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your 
hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.”

Even though a
Psalm 31
woman may be wracked with fear about her reputation or her relationships, 
she also knows who is in control of these things and can restrain her 
enemies.

And you can know this, too.

Even When Your Own House Crumbles, He is Your Constant

While
Psalm 31
doesn’t specifically mention strife within the family, the source of anxiety 
for many Psalm 31 women is
family
problems. This is a most sensitive issue for us, and an issue with which 
most of us can identify. Furthermore, the family is an area that seems to 
get
the brunt of Satan’s attacks.

Are your young children are disobedient?

Maybe your grown children are prodigals.

Or maybe you don’t feel loved by your husband.

Perhaps you are in the middle of a divorce or a separation.

And the list goes on. Familial pain is common to every woman.

We all want to be esteemed by our families, just as the Proverbs 31 woman is 
in verse 28: “Her children rise and call her blessed, and her husband also…”

There is hope for us who do not feel like the Proverbs 31 woman when it 
comes to our families. Later in Psalm 31 (
verses 19-20),
it becomes apparent that this suffering servant sees that refuge is found in 
God, despite what is going on externally:

How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues.

May we all cultivate such a deep love for God that his presence and his love 
are enough to sustain us through the challenges in our homes.

Regardless of What Culture Tells Us, Happiness is Not the End Goal

Whether we are going through depression, social challenges, physical 
ailments or family problems, the key thing to remember is this: we exist for 
God.
Not the reverse.

This is a hard thing to grasp, especially when our culture places so much 
emphasis on happiness. The problem here is that happiness is a feeling that 
will
not sustain us through hard times.

However, joy will sustain us. There is a difference. Earlier in this piece, 
we learned that our sorrow will turn to joy. This is not to say we will not
experience negative emotions while experiencing joy at the same time. But we 
will have joy in the sense that we know to Whom we belong, even in the midst
of emotional, physical, mental or spiritual chaos.

By the end of
Psalm 31,
the psalmist concludes and confesses that when we love God, we will be 
preserved and strengthened. We are not promised happiness or prosperity (in 
the
worldly sense). But we are promised preservation so we can accomplish what 
we are here to do—bring him glory:

Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.

Joy Allmond is a writer based in Charlotte, N.C., where she lives with her 
husband, two teenage stepsons and two dogs. Follow her on Twitter 
@joyallmond.

Publication date: June 16, 2014
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BURNOUT
Experiencing LIFE Today
----------------------------------------------------------
We were together. I forget the rest. Walt Whitman

You laugh, but it's true. I've been in ministry for a number of years. I've 
seen people work themselves to the bone. They pour themselves out past empty
and them turn themselves inside out. They do it all for Jesus. They do it 
all for love. Their intentions are pure-hearted but their methodology is 
unbiblical.

If you want to avoid burnout, you're going to have to let Jesus be Jesus 
and that requires a great deal of surrender and dependence.

Mark 4:26-28 reads, This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters 
seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed
sprouts and grows although he does not know how. All by itself the soil 
produces grain...

The Kingdom of God is like this:

God grows it.

God produces it.

God knows how it works.

The Kingdom of God is like this: You don't have to kill yourself to make 
sure it lasts. You are able to abide in the Lord and scatter where He tells 
you
to scatter, plant where He tells you to plant, and – this is amazing rest 
at regular intervals in between.

If the indwelling is the Spirit resting in you, then dependence is you 
resting in Him.

It's that simple and yet that hard.

A little countercultural prescription for the day: Dependency means we wait 
for God to do His thing without doing it for Him. And in the waiting, we can
just enjoy His company. (Big sigh).

Lord, I thank You that I don't have to do this by myself. You've given me a 
specific role: I must abide in You and You abide in me. I don't have to know
the inner workings of Your Kingdom and its growth. I don't have to have all 
the answers. All I need is You, so that I can scatter Your truth in lives 
around
me. Amen.

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

Faith in Our Choices

Life is a series of choices. We can choose wisely or unwisely as we are 
confronted with decisions, temptations, and priorities. Sometimes we will 
make
the wrong decision, but hopefully we will learn from our mistakes in order 
to make better choices in the future. We learn which choices lead to eternal
blessings and which lead to short-term happiness. We learn which choices 
lead to spiritual success and which lead to failure. While some decisions 
are
minor, others have eternal consequences. We must learn how to choose wisely 
because many decisions will determine the quality of our lives. Poor choices
lead to a life of misery, while wise choices lead to peace and contentment. 
God wants us to make life decisions based on what will have eternal 
benefits,
what will bring Him glory, and what will expand our faith.

One of the greatest choices we make is to obey Christ in all things. 
Obedience does not come naturally for us. Our sinful nature often influences 
our decisions,
choices, habits, and priorities. We must consciously strive to follow Christ 
every day in order to live a life of faithfulness to God. We must choose to
walk by faith. We must choose to spend time with God. We must choose to 
fellowship with God in prayer. We must choose to feed upon the Word of God. 
We
must choose to be witnesses for Christ to our neighbors and friends and 
co-workers. We must choose to live for Christ instead of ourselves. We must 
choose
to place God and only God as the top priority in our lives. We must choose 
how to use the talents, resources, and opportunities that God places in our
lives.

Read Hebrews 11:23-29. Moses was a man who was given great advantages in 
life: he held power, wealth, and prestige. Moses was the adopted grandson of 
the
ruler of the world's most powerful, wealthiest, and advanced country of that 
time. And he was faced with a great dilemma. Moses had to choose between
two completely different lives: the life that led to him one day becoming 
pharaoh with untold prestige and power, or the life that would abandon 
everything
he knew in order to lead God's people out of slavery. His choice was between 
the temporary earthly wealth and the everlasting rewards of heaven. The 
Bible
tells us that Moses chose wisely: "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, 
refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be 
mistreated
along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a 
short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value
than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward" 
(Hebrews 11:24-26).

Moses gave up what most of us dream about: ultimate earthly power and 
wealth. What would you have done in Moses' place? Would you have just played 
it safe,
waiting for your time to become pharaoh, convincing yourself you could do 
more good with more power? Would you have turned your back on your people 
out
of fear or selfishness or apathy? Would you easily part with the royal 
palace in order to wander through the desert?

When we place our lives and futures and families and businesses in the hands 
of God, we can trust that God will take us to the places where His plans are
to be found. When we place our faith in God and His plans and promises and 
purposes, we can move forward, even if it means leaving other things behind.

Where do you seek your honor—in the eyes of society or in the eyes of God? 
Heavenly rewards are eternal, but they often come with a price. When we 
choose
to obey and honor God above our own selfish desires, we will sometimes 
sacrifice our comfort, the opinions of others, and our social standing. 
People may
reject us, ridicule us, and despise us for our faith. Committed faith is not 
always easy in the short-term, but our rewards will be eternal—and God's 
rewards
are always better than the world's rewards.

What kinds of choices do you make? Do your decisions reflect earth-bound 
priorities or God's kingdom? Are your accumulations in earthly banks or in 
your
heavenly home? Do you play it safe or do you take risks for God? Spend time 
today examining the choices that you make and what they reveal about your 
faith
in God. If your choices reflect a weak faith, confess this to God and seek 
His forgiveness. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in making wise, eternal 
choices
and to give you the strength to step out in faith.

****

God Save America: Michael Youssef is asking 100,000 Bible-believing
Christians
to pray for our nation between July 4th and November 2nd. Will you covenant 
with him to pray for our nation? If so,
sign-up now
!

We are Leading The Way for people living in spiritual darkness, at home and 
around the world, to discover the light of Christ as we passionately 
proclaim
uncompromising Truth. Visit us today at
www.leadingtheway.org

Listen to
Michael Youssef
on Today's Broadcast of "
Leading The Way"
at OnePlace.com

Emulating the Model of Worship

God instituted the model of worship found in the Old Testament.

The worship of Israel was formal and liturgical. Solemn rites were central 
to the experience. The setting of temple worship was anything but casual. 
The
meeting place had an ambiance of the solemn and the holy. The ritual was 
designed for drama. The literature and music were high and majestic. God 
inspired
the content of songs (the Psalms). The finest craftsmen, who were filled by 
the Holy Spirit, fashioned the articles of art. God designed the vestments
of the priests "for glory and for beauty" (Ex. 28:2).

Everything in Israelite worship, from the music to the building to the 
liturgy, focused attention on the majesty of God. God, in His holiness and 
in His
redemptive work, was the content of the form. It was solemn, because to 
enter the presence of God is a solemn matter.

But even God-ordained patterns of worship can be corrupted. Liturgy can 
degenerate into liturgicalism, or even worse, sacerdotalism, by which the 
rites
and sacraments themselves are seen as the instruments of salvation. The 
forms of worship can devolve into formalism and the externals into 
externalism.

Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God

In your devotional time today, try some of the forms of praise and worship 
described in Psalm 150.

For Further Study

John 4:22-23: "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, 
for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the 
true
worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is 
seeking such to worship Him."

Revelation 22:9: "Worship God."

Psalm 99:5: "Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool; for He is 
holy."

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

"He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all 
creation.'"
Mark 16:15
(NIV)

I pulled into my driveway and stared at this gathering place my people call 
"home." And my heart whispered ...

Lord, am I doing all of this right?

This life You've entrusted to me, these people You've entrusted to me, this 
calling You've entrusted to me ... I desperately want to get it right. To 
live
without painful regret gnawing deep within. To know that I gave it my very 
best. To please You. Love them. Smile more than frowning. Laugh more than I
complain. See the beauty tucked within all these sacred moments of just 
being together and remember to whisper, Thank You.

Thank You for all of it. The whole package deal of good and bad and highs 
and lows. For all that mixed together sets about a process of making me. The
me that needs the tough stuff to mature me. The sad moments to soften me. 
The thrilling moments to invigorate me. The poignant moments to endear me. 
The
complicated moments to challenge me. The quiet moments to unrush me.

I need it all.

But sometimes, in the midst of all the moments that are making me into the 
woman You created me to be, I get awfully tired and discouraged.

And I find myself sitting in my driveway wondering. Staring at the 
culmination of thousands of decisions I've made that have brought me here. 
To this home.
This family. This life. I made my decisions and then my decisions made me.

I'm thankful, yes. So very thankful. But I need You to whisper reassurance 
into my heart that You're with me. That You see me. And that You are pleased
with me. I just need to know, Lord, am I doing this right?

Have you ever had one of those driveway discussions with God?

Have you ever looked at your life and wondered, like I do, if you're on the 
right track?

I think most of us girls think these thoughts. That's why 20 years ago, I 
helped start a place where we could gather and learn God's perspective on 
how
to do life through the pages of His Word. Proverbs 31 Ministries exists 
because I desperately needed someone to help me connect life with God's 
truth.
And I still do.

So, every day my team and I gather to think through and pray over all that 
eventually ends up in your inbox. We're a rag-tag team of passionate, 
imperfect
girls determined to bring God's Word front and center into your world. My 
deepest prayer is that as we encourage you, we're helping equip you to take 
that
encouragement into your family and your sphere of influence.

I think about you every time I put my fingers on the keyboard of my computer 
and tap, tap, tap tangled thoughts that eventually become words from my soul
to yours. I see you standing in your corner of the world. Mentally I draw a 
circle around you representing all the people you reach and influence each
day.

Then I step back and imagine hundreds of thousands of circles of influence 
representing more than one million women who read our devotions on a daily 
basis.
And I'm amazed how collectively our circles of influence cover almost the 
whole world.

You, me and all the others who gather here are making a worldwide impact.

Jesus instructed us to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all 
creation," (Mark 16:15). That seems an impossible task for someone who sits
in her driveway and feels fragile and wonders all the things I sometimes 
wonder. Can you relate?

But, I can reach my sphere of influence with God's Word woven in and out of 
my simple sentences typed in these simple devotions. And I can pray that 
somehow
God's Word becomes a filter for your thoughts as you get these devotions 
each day. And then when you pass them along to friends or talk about them in 
your
everyday conversations ... it's multiplied by almost a million.

Together we are going into all the world with the good news! Amazing, what 
we can do together.

As we head into the summer months, we know donations tend to decrease and 
yet this is the time of year when our growth initiatives increase. In fact, 
this
month we are on our knees asking God to raise $75,000 to help with the 
leaner summer months. And I want to invite you to join us. Here are three 
steps
you can take today:

1. Support Proverbs 31 Ministries through your prayers and financial gifts. 
While the devotions are free to you and me, they aren't free to the 
ministry.
2. Tell a friend about the Proverbs 31 Ministries Encouragement for Today 
devotions


Experiencing LIFE Today
----------------------------------------------------------

He thought her beautiful, believed her impeccably wise; dreamed of her, 
wrote poems to her, which, ignoring the subject, she corrected in red ink. — 
Virginia
Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

There’s a secret to reading Scripture so that it makes sense. Really, there 
is. If you are one of those who struggle to turn the pages because the Bible
doesn’t seem to make sense, this secret is for you:

Everything written before Jesus is pointing to Jesus. Everything written 
after Jesus is pointing to Jesus.

Jesus, is the central subject in the Bible. So when we read a story about 
David, or Noah, or Isaiah, we can ask ourselves: What is this telling me 
about
God? How does this point toward Jesus?

This same subject confusion can plague the Christian life. I can get caught 
up in: Where am I supposed to go? Who am I supposed to serve? What am I 
supposed
to care about?

These aren’t bad questions. But the subject of each is all-wrong. Life in 
Christ isn’t about accolades and accomplishments. It’s about Jesus alive in 
me.

Paul is writing to the church in Galatia, and essentially to all of us, and 
he’s telling us how to live this life in Christ. It’s his personal statement
of faith and it sounds something like this:
1. I’m dead.
2. I’m indwelt.
3. I’m depending.
Galatians 2:20: For I am crucified with Christ (I’m dead) and I no longer 
live, but Christ lives in me (I’m indwelt). The life I now live in the body 
I
live by faith in the Son of God (I’m depending).

Here are some better questions: Who is my strength? Who is my love? Who is 
the overflow of grace in my life? The answer is simple. It isn’t Pete. It’s
Jesus.

God whose Spirit lives in me, I’ve been trying to live as the star of my own 
show and I’m exhausted. Instead, I long to follow the example of that first
star the night You came to earth. Let Your Spirit shine in me and point to 
You. Amen.

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

Thursday's Thought For The Day (June 19, 2014) =====

THE MONOTONY OF LIFE

Several years ago, I read about the world's longest foot race. It's called 
the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, held between the months of June and
August every year. According to a Reuters report, "The longest foot race in 
the world is 3,100 miles, long enough to stretch from New York to Los 
Angeles.
Those who run it choose a different route: they circle one city block in 
Queens -- for two months straight.

"The athletes lap their block more than 5,000 times. They wear out 12 pairs 
of shoes. They run more than two marathons daily. In the heat and rain of
a New York summer, they stop for virtually nothing except to sleep between 
midnight and 6 a.m."

You can read more about this race here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-Transcendence_3100_Mile_Race

I find it incredible that anybody can run that far for that long. But 
perhaps what I find even more incredible is that it is done by running the 
same
half-mile stretch over and over and over. If the running didn't kill me, 
the monotony would!

But I thought of what a great picture that is of life. We often talk about 
how the Christian life is a "race" (I Cor. 9:24; 2 Tim. 4:7; Heb. 12:1).
And it is a long, long race. But I don't know how often we have considered 
that the difficulty in the race is not only in its length, but also in its
monotony. So much of what we do is repetitive and "mundane."

A Christian mother works hard to demonstrate her faith in taking care of her 
husband and children. But, every day seems just like the day before -- 
diapers
to be changed, clothes to be washed, dirty dishes to be cleaned, a house to 
be vacuumed and swept. The same thing over and over and over.

A Christian father works hard to demonstrate his faith by providing for his 
family and living out his faith in the workplace. But every day seems just
like the day before -- fighting the traffic to and from work, working on an 
assembly line doing the same job repetitively day after day, dealing with 
hard-to-please
customers. The same thing over and over and over.

One of the difficulties in living life (and the Christian life in 
particular) is in hanging in there through those difficult times when it 
seems that
you're running across the same ground over and over. Be assured, though -- 
if you can survive the monotony and continue to run, the finish line lies 
ahead.
Continue to plod on. And keep this promise in your heart:

"Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that 
your labor in the Lord is not in vain." (I Cor. 15:58)

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina




Faith in Progress

Have you ever experienced a setback in your faith journey? We all experience 
failure and discouragement and spiritual stagnation at some point in our 
lives.
We may feel shame or embarrassment over our weaknesses, but the Bible does 
not hide the failures of the faithful. We not only read about their great 
acts
of faith, but we can also learn from their mistakes. We can find 
encouragement, knowing that the spiritual giants of the Bible were humans 
with faults
and sins and disappointments; even in their weaknesses and amidst their 
failures, they continued to follow God in faith. Whatever setbacks we 
encounter
on our faith walk, we can take heart that it is never too late to trust and 
obey God.

Abraham is a man known for his faith and his friendship with God. Read 
Hebrews 11:8-19. In this passage, the Bible mentions several great acts of 
faith
by Abraham. "By faith Abraham…obeyed and went, even though he did not know 
where he was going.…By faith he made his home in the promised land.…By faith
Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was 
enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made 
the promise.…
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice" 
(Hebrews 11: 8, 9, 11, 17).

Abraham sacrificed much in his obedience to God; yet the Scriptures also 
reveal his many missteps and detours along the way. The greatest lesson that 
we
can learn from Abraham is that our faith is a journey. We cannot expect to 
be faith giants upon our first moment of
salvation
or without constant forward motion. Great faith requires time to develop 
trust in God and to develop a willingness to serve Him wholeheartedly. Great
faith requires hard work and commitment to God. We must walk in obedience to 
God and follow where He leads. We need to maintain an active and fervent 
prayer
life to know God's voice. We must daily study His Word to strengthen our 
faith in His promises.

Abraham's faith did not happen instantaneously; in his story we see a slow 
progression of faith with many setbacks. In Genesis 12, God called Abraham 
out
of his pagan lifestyle and told him to move to Canaan. Abraham started the 
journey, but before he reached God's destination for him, Abraham settled 
along
the way in Haran. Eventually Abraham arrived in Canaan, but as soon as 
things got tough during a famine, Abraham abandoned God's plan and left for 
Egypt.
Then out of fear for his own life, he lied and allowed his wife Sarah to be 
taken into Pharaoh's household. In Genesis 16 and 17, Abraham followed 
Sarah's
scheme to conceive a child instead of waiting upon God's promise. In Genesis 
20 and 21, Abraham again lied to save himself while putting Sarah in harm's
way. It took many years of faith development for Abraham to reach the point 
where he could trust God enough to be willing to sacrifice his own son.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, God calls us out of whatever 
pagan and sinful place we are living in and leads us in a walk with Him. 
Ideally,
our journey to become more and more like Christ will remain straight and 
focused. However, for most of us, our journey will look more like Abraham's. 
We
will stagnate in our spiritual growth and stop our journey at places that 
are comfortable and easy. We will run when God's calling becomes too 
difficult.
We will compromise our beliefs and hurt people we love in order to save 
ourselves. We will face many opportunities to give in to temptations, pride, 
indifference,
and stubbornness.

Abraham did not wallow in his failures or give up on his relationship with 
God—he always returned to the right path. As God continued to show Himself 
faithful,
Abraham's trust in God grew. Abraham's faith development was a daily 
process, always learning how to trust God more and more. During the early 
years of
his faith walk, Abraham did not even trust God for his daily bread during 
the famine. Yet years later, after learning lesson after lesson of how to 
trust
in God, Abraham was willing to trust the very life of his precious and 
beloved son to Him.

Each one of us will experience failure and setbacks in life. We should never 
allow our failures to become excuses for giving up on God's plans or running
from our relationship with God. Has your spiritual journey come to a halt? 
If so, seek God's forgiveness for your doubts or indifference or fears that
keep you from following His plan for your life. Write down the obstacles 
that keep you from fully developing your faith, whether it is an old sin, 
doubt
in God's promises, or anxiety over the future. Pray for God's strength to 
help you overcome those hurdles so that you can continue your faith journey.

***
God Save America: Michael Youssef is asking 100,000 Bible-believing
Christians
to pray for our nation between July 4th and November 2nd. Will you covenant 
with him to pray for our nation? If so,
sign-up 
We are Leading The Way for people living in spiritual darkness, at home and 
around the world, to discover the light of Christ as we passionately 
proclaim
uncompromising Truth. Visit us today at
www.leadingtheway.org

Fitting into God's "Foolishness"

In
1 Corinthians 1:21,
Paul gives us an interesting insight into how you and I please God.

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, 
it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those
who believe.

God's methods are astounding. To bring men and women into His family through 
the foolishness of preaching! When people hear the gospel preached and 
believe
it, God is pleased.

Now how is the gospel preached? Through your life and mine. Every one of us 
has been entrusted by God with some gift to communicate the gospel. Perhaps
you have been entrusted by God with unusual wealth. Or maybe a marvelous 
singing voice, or the ability to communicate, or perhaps the skill to 
assimilate
facts.

Whatever it is, God has put something in each of us that somehow fits into 
His great master plan of winning this lost world to Jesus Christ.

God has chosen to use these weak, fallible vessels to share the simple 
gospel message that the world is separated from Him because of sin. In His 
mercy,
God reached down to the human race when He sent His own Son, Who willingly 
gave up His life on the cross and died for our sins. The price was paid. 
God's
eternal justice was satisfied. And the Holy Spirit raised Jesus Christ from 
the dead.

That is the message our world so desperately needs to hear today! God is 
pleased when you share that "foolishness." So however God has gifted you, 
use
that gift today to present a living Jesus to our dying world!

Visit the Answers with Bayless Conley
website for more ways to Connect with God

Welcome to the Nugget
June 10, 2014

Pass it On!
By Answers2Prayer
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Devotionals
Contact us

"Give, and it will be given to you: A good measure, pressed down, shaken 
together, running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you 
use
will be the measure you receive." (Luke 6:38, NET)

Growing up in my Grandma's house as a boy was an experience that would shape 
me for the rest of my life. We were poor in everything but spirit, yet I 
learned
so much about life there. My Mom, Dad, Nana, two brothers, and I were 
crowded into a home made from two old shanty cars and several built on 
rooms. I always
knew what my next set of clothes would look like because I had seen my older 
brother wearing them the year before. I always knew what we were going to
be eating in the Winter, because I had weeded it in the garden during the 
Summer. Still, I never felt poor. No king ever ate as good as we did on 
Sundays
after church when Nana cooked her homemade meatballs, spaghetti, and freshly 
baked bread.

Even though we had so little I can still remember Dad, Mom, and Nana giving 
so much. We were always sharing with others. Everyone who visited us could
expect a plate of spaghetti, or a mason jar of canned vegetables, or a 
flower pot full of fresh blossoms to be given to them. I can still remember 
the
sparkle in Mom and Nana's eyes whenever they passed something on to others. 
We never felt richer or more blessed than when we shared what God had given
us. I learned early on that the greatest joy comes from giving rather than 
getting. Giving fills your heart with love. Giving fills your soul with God.
Giving brings your spirit closer to Heaven.

Don't be afraid to pass on your blessings, riches, gifts, and talents to 
others. That is why God gave them to you in the first place. Share 
everything
you have. If you have a beautiful smile then pass it on. If you have a 
lovely laugh then pass it on. If you have a few extra dollars then pass them 
on.
If you give great hugs then pass them on. If you have a special talent then 
share it with others. If you have a heart full of love then give it to the
everyone. No life is ever truly lived until it becomes a gift in itself, so 
make your whole life a gift to the world.

By: Joseph J. Mazzella

Announcement:

Do you ever wonder why God's perspective seems somewhat different than our 
own? Check out the mini-series that will be appearing on Thursdays for the 
rest
of the month of June: Of Mount Everest and Mauna Kea!

©Copyright 2011 Answers2Prayer | Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely 
give."
From: lyn@sermonillustrator.org
http://scripturalnuggets.org/

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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Kintsukuroi
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Culture Editor

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. –
1 Peter 5:10

My father and sister both enjoy making pottery, so over the years I’ve felt 
obligated to brush up on the subject whenever I have the chance. Recently I
came across a Japanese pottery technique called "Kintsukuroi," which roughly 
translates to mean "Golden Repair." As its name suggests, the procedure has
more to do with fixing pottery than creating it. In Kintsukuroi, broken 
pottery is repaired with a lacquer resin that’s been mixed with gold or 
silver
powder. Once the object has been properly cleaned and dried, its cracks are 
highlighted by thin veins of metal running throughout its form.

To the Japanese, the breakage and repair become part of the objects history, 
transforming it from something old into a new creation. One sculpture put
it like this,

"The art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding 
that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken."

I can remember reading this description and being struck by how wonderfully 
it captures the message of the Gospel. God created us to be holy and 
sanctified
reflections of Himself, but because of sin, we became a group of broken and 
malformed prodigals. Yet instead of throwing us out, God picks up the pieces
and restores us, transforming us into something new and beautiful. The 
memory of our sins may remain, but now they have been filled with the 
precious love
of Jesus Christ. Every Christian is a work of art adorned with grace, and 
when people see our lives, they should think only of God.

But that is not the end, the Bible tells us the best is yet to come. One 
day, Christ will repair our world the same way he repaired our souls. One 
day,
he will make all things new.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first 
earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City,
the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride 
beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the 
throne
saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. 
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or 
mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’" -
Revelation 21:1-4

Intersecting
Faith
and Life: Remember that in God we are new creations, the old has gone, the 
new has come.

Further Reading

2 Corinthians 5:17

A Note of Encouragement

from Ciloa

Send this Note of Encouragement to a Friend

Black Scoter ducks on Hilton Head Island
If we can help those in need but do
nothing, how can the love of God be in us?

May God make you a Hero!

Volume XIV, Issue 23

June 9, 2014
Sitting on the beach, watching the waves roll in, I noticed something new. 
Ducks floating on the water. I've seen ducks many times but never in the 
ocean.
There were four---two males and two juveniles---all small and insignificant 
in the great expanse of the Atlantic.

They paddled ashore, one surfing a small wave. Then three ducks closed in 
around the other, an injured juvenile, and all nestled down in the sand, 
heads
turned from the wind. Though people walked along the beach, some coming 
quite close, few noticed the little ducks.

Then things took a turn. A large fish crow landed nearby and hopped ever 
closer to the ducks. Suddenly he thrust his large black beak toward the 
ducks
and grabbed the injured juvenile by its wing. The duckling struggled as the 
crow dragged it from the others.

Immediately I put on my Superman cape and ran to the rescue. I wildly waved 
my arms and yelled terrifying words, such as "Hey" and "Stop that", none of
which bothered the crow. Still, he soon released his prey and took flight. 
Glancing back, he seemed to be laughing, though I can't be sure.

The little duck, suffering from PTCS (post traumatic crow syndrome), hurried 
to the others. And for the rest of the day I was their guardian, protector,
friend, and honorary member of this badelynge (pronounced badling) of ducks. 
And I was the baddest of them all.

But there was something not right about all of this. The crow's arrival drew 
a lot of attention and many finally noticed the four little ducks. They 
watched
as the crow hopped around. They saw him reach in and grab the injured baby 
duck.

Yet as the crow attempted to make off with his catch, they did absolutely 
nothing, as if they were mindlessly watching a wildlife special on TV. They 
were
disengaged, not involved. They didn't care. After all, the crow wasn't 
dragging them away. I was angry.

In my righteousness God whispered, How different are you? You rushed to the 
aid of a duck. Do you always rush to care for my children who are injured 
and
need my comfort?

Wow. It's "love one another" again. Why is it so easy to criticize than 
build up? To proclaim failure than look for success? To mention love and 
encouragement
than be the example of both?

Judging, criticizing, and tearing others down are natural. We are made new 
by God's Holy Spirit, but that natural side remains. Even surrounded by 
Christian
brothers and sisters, this natural side seeks to reach in, grab us unaware, 
and drag us away from the fellowship and love of God.

Remember: We are all injured from time to time---physically, emotionally, 
spiritually---and need love that is sincere and real. In turn, we must share
such love with all around us, not only those known to be injured, but the 
many who stand to the side and do nothing. They have injuries, too.

John wrote, Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in 
truth (1 John 3:18). Let's do that. Love one another. Be a hero. (Cape not 
required.)

Take care & be God's!

Chuck

Duck Commander

Added Duck Note

The rest of the day Chuck checked on his ducks. Word spread along the beach 
and many came by to see them. But as they crept in to get a closer look, the
little ducks would scurry away. Except for Chuck. He could walk right up to 
them and they never budged. Maybe they realized he was a friend. Could be a
lesson there, too.
Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every 
circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, 
abundance
and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 
4:12-13

By Answers2Prayer
Subscribe Unsubscribe
More Illustrations
Contact us

When the Ship Goes Down

Recently, a book was published.

Entitled, The Band That Played On, the book asks the question, "Why did the 
Titanic's band keep playing, while the ship went down?" It's a good 
question.
Since the band had been contracted by a talent agency and was not employed 
by the Titanic's owners, even the doomed ship's captain couldn't have 
ordered
them to make music to calm troubled hearts.

So, why did they keep playing? Why didn't they try to save their lives?

After extensive research the author concludes the band acted heroically 
because of the Christian character of the band's leader: Wallace Hartley. 
Mr. Hartley
was a faithful church attendee who had recently become engaged to a 
Christian girl. They were to be married after he had made a number of 
Atlantic crossings
on the Titanic.

Some time before, when one of his friends had asked him, "What would you do 
if you were ever on a ship which was sinking?" Mr. Hartley had replied, "I
don't think I would do better than play 'Oh God Our Help in Ages Past' or 
'Nearer, My God, to Thee'."

In all likelihood, when Mr. Hartley found the ship was going down, he called 
together his fellow musicians and encouraged them to begin their concert.
The Christian songs they played that night brought peace to the dying and 
hope to those who survived.

For doing what he did, I think Wallace Hartley is a hero of faith.

You probably are a hero too. I say that because many Christians don't know 
how they are going to act, how their faith will show itself, until the time
of testing comes.

It is then by the power of the Holy Spirit that they can face those trials 
and make a witness that will touch others. That's what Wallace Hartley did.
It's what you will probably do too. To that end, I encourage you to ponder 
how, at special times and circumstances, your words and actions might 
glorify
the Savior, who gave His life to win your salvation.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, use my words and actions to point lost and frightened 
souls toward the Savior, who alone can give us peace, forgiveness and 
salvation.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Pastor Ken Klaus
From: a2p@answers2prayer.org
http://www.sermonillustrator.org/

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You

A Word With You
Daily Devotional

Beautiful Scars - #7148

Becky was my first serious crush. Well, as serious as you can be when you're 
13! I thought she was beautiful. That's why I was so surprised when she said
she had been in a violent automobile accident not long before that. She said 
it had done very serious damage to her face; all kinds of scars. But when
I looked at that beautiful face I couldn't see any trace of it. Something 
had obviously happened to those scars. She told me that a plastic surgeon 
had
worked on those scars. He had very skillfully taken those scars and 
recreated something beautiful!

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

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. 
Here's what the Apostle Paul says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our 
Lord
Jesus Christ. The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who 
comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble 
with
the comfort we ourselves have received from God." Now, these verses are 
about something that's common to all of us-the pain of life.

I don't know where your pain comes from, whether it's medical, or emotional. 
Maybe it's some terrible memories in the past. Maybe it's something you 
constantly
replay in your mind. Maybe it's in living color right now. But this passage 
talks about what the Master Plastic Surgeon can make out of the pain of your
life.

It says here that He turns trouble for us into comfort for others. He's the 
God of all compassion. He's the God of all comfort, and if we will open up
our scars and our hurt and our pain to him, what He does for us gives us 
something then to give to other people who are hurting the rest of our 
lives.
In other words, the ugly can in God's skillful hands become something 
beautiful.

Maybe the pain of your life is never very far away. Maybe you can even see 
scenes on the replaying of your mind. Or maybe it's happening right now, and
you don't have a choice about having the pain. But you do have two choices 
about what you do with that hurt. One is you can turn it inward. That's what
most people do.

And when you turn it inward, you continue to work on it and replay it and 
think about it, and be tormented by it. It turns into very ugly things, like
self-pity, bitterness, and negative attitudes. You just make the ugly 
uglier, and you make the scars deeper.

Your other possibility that's suggested in these verses from God's Word is 
that you can turn it outward, and this pain can be turned outward in the 
form
of sensitivity and compassion. In other words you say, "Lord, I want you to 
help me make something beautiful out of this pain. I had to go through it.
It was ugly stuff, but I want it to become a ministry to other hurting 
people. I'll know how they feel. I'll be able to enter into their suffering. 
That's
what You did when You came here, Jesus. You walked our trail so you could 
help us walk our trail. God of all compassion, instead of this turning into 
self-pity
and hardness, Lord, turn it into compassion."

You know, the quickest way out of your pit is to help somebody else out of 
theirs. See, Christ alone can redeem life's big hurts. Why don't you let Him
use all that junk to shape you into a make-a-difference person for other 
people? I mean, haven't you replayed those ugly scenes enough times? Do you 
really
want to go over it again?

Why don't you let Him turn self-focus into others focus? Look around you. 
Find a need and meet it. Right now, instead of looking in the mirror at your
scars, why don't you surrender yourself to the emotional rebuilding of the 
Master Surgeon? Let Him start changing you from someone who feels like a 
victim
to someone who is beginning to be a victor. Dr. Jesus makes scars into 
something beautiful.
© Ronald P. Hutchcraft • Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.

Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:
"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." 
Psalm 118:24
By Answers2Prayer
A Day from the Lord

Thirty-year-old Dan Suski is a business owner, and his sister, 39-year-old 
Kate Suski, is an architect.

Together they were doing well enough to take a vacation to Puerto Rico. 
There they chartered a ship to take them out for an all-day fishing trip. 
Now some
might go fishing for a week and not get a nibble, but Dan and Kate were only 
a few hours on the water before a 200-pound marlin hit Dan's line.

That was when things "began to go south."

While Dan was still fighting his fish, the electrical system on the boat 
crackled and sparked. Water flooded the engine room and cabin. In a few 
minutes
the captain told them to get into their life-jackets and abandon ship. They 
did as instructed and were soon joined by the captain and his mate. Dan and
Kate waited for rescue to arrive. They waited for over an hour before they 
began the eight-mile swim to shore.

With their minds and hearts filled with imaginings of sharks and being swept 
further out to sea, they swam. They swam when a downpour made them lose 
sight
of land. They swam until the sunset and then they swam some more. 
Eventually, around midnight they approached shore -- a shore with high 
cliffs, no beach,
and surf that would have killed them, if they had tried to make landfall.

The pair kept swimming until they found a small bit of sand. There on a 
deserted beach, they came ashore and made their way inland. No help could be 
found,
so they fell asleep covered with branches and boughs. The next day they 
walked three hours before they found someone who would call for help.

Now, my friends, you should know there is a reason why I have told you the 
story of Dan and Kate.

That reason is supplied by Kate. After her release from the hospital she 
said, "We are so grateful to be alive right now. ... Since this ordeal, I've 
been
waking up at dawn every morning. I've never looked forward to the sunrise so 
much in my life."

I like that attitude.

Sadly, it often takes a tragedy or a near catastrophe before people begin to 
appreciate the day the Lord has made. Heart-attack victims, cancer survivors
have often told me how much differently they see life. In other words, they 
value every 24 hours the Lord gives.

It's a good idea, you know. Not that we have to be afraid of dying. Jesus' 
sacrifice on Calvary's cross has made it so we don't have to fear leaving 
this
world. Still, as long as we are here, we should give thanks for, and make 
use of, the time the Lord has bestowed. Like the man said, "This is the day 
the
Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it."

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I truly give thanks for all Your blessings. Most 
of all I rejoice in my Savior whose life, death and resurrection has given
me heaven. But let me also give thanks for this day. May I give thanks and 
use it. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Pastor Ken Klaus

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

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

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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The Gift of Pastors

We now look at the gift God gave to his church, the gift of pastors as 
listed below:

Ephesians 4:11-12 (NLT)
11 He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the 
prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their 
responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the 
church, the body of Christ,

We find in the Strong’s Concordance the Greek word used for pastor and how 
it is translated in other Scripture and its definition:

18 occurrences; translates as “shepherd” 15 times, “Shepherd” twice, and 
“pastor” once. 1 a herdsman, esp. a shepherd. 1a in the parable, he to whose 
care and control others have committed themselves, and whose precepts they 
follow. 2 metaph. 2a the presiding officer, manager, director, of any 
assembly: so of Christ the Head of the church. 2a1 of the overseers of the 
Christian assemblies. 2a2 of kings and princes. Additional Information: The 
tasks of a Near Eastern shepherd were: 1) to watch for enemies trying to 
attack the sheep; 2) to defend the sheep from attackers; 3) to heal the 
wounded and sick sheep; 4) to find and save lost or trapped sheep; 5) to 
love them, sharing their lives and so earning their trust. During World War 
II, a shepherd was a pilot who guided another pilot whose plane was 
partially disabled back to the base or carrier by flying alongside him to 
maintain visual contact.

In the article above we find out what the Near Eastern shepherd’s duties 
were. These same things were to be done by the pastors. They are to watch 
over their flock, protect them, heal them, etc. Jeremiah wrote that there 
were false shepherds during his time that did not take care of the sheep 
under them but only looked after themselves. They misled the people under 
them. The same warning that Jeremiah gave back then is still good today:

Jeremiah 23:1-4 (NLT)
1 “I will send disaster upon the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my 
sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected 
to care for,” says the Lord. 2 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, 
says to these shepherds: “Instead of leading my flock to safety, you have 
deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment 
on you for the evil you have done to them. 3 But I will gather together the 
remnant of my flock from wherever I have driven them. I will bring them back 
into their own fold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 
Then I will appoint responsible shepherds to care for them, and they will 
never be afraid again. Not a single one of them will be lost or missing,” 
says the Lord.

Even though false shepherds mislead their congregation, there will be a 
remnant that does not fall for the false teaching. These people who still 
follow all the Bible says, are taught by the Holy Spirit and study for 
themselves rather than believing what a man tells them will be gathered. 
They may find a church with a true man of god to lead them or they may be 
taken away to be with the Good Shepherd for eternity.

Check out what your pastor is saying. See if it goes along with the full 
Scripture. Some are crafty and quote Scripture to prove a point but leave 
out other Scripture. Study for yourself. If you find your pastor giving 
false teaching, pray for the Lord to teach you and to give you wisdom as to 
what to do.

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List

10 Reasons to Sing through Life
Sarah Coleman

It is your time to sing. Sing? Yes, sing. I don't mean to audition for the 
next season of American Idol, but I believe God wants you to sing. Sing like
the woman of
Isaiah 54.

Singing through life is an attitude. Singing is being beautiful, letting 
wonderful surprises happen to you, walking on sunshine, and living beyond 
status
quo. Far over and above all that you could ask or imagine? You better 
believe it!

You may think, that’s fine for you to say, but I don’t have a husband who’s 
a Christian. Or, I’m not very beautiful. I’m not smart. I don’t have much 
money.
My
marriage
is on the rocks. I look after my sick mother-in-law. I’m sick with a 
horrible, incurable disease. I’m single and I’ll never find a husband. Life 
just
plain stinks!

There are plenty of excuses, but regardless of your situation, you can sing 
through life. Esther's husband was not a Christian. Leah was not very 
beautiful.
Rhonda wasn't smart. The widow Jesus pointed out in the temple didn't have 
much money. Abigail had a terrible marriage. Ruth looked after a sick 
mother-in-law.
The woman with the issue of blood had an incurable disease. Rehab was single 
with no prospects. And life was pretty bad for Job, Hannah, and Solomon's
wives (well, I wouldn't want to be one of 700). Yet they all managed to 
sing. They made the most of their situation, and as a result, things turned 
around.

I challenge you to take a step of
faith
and sing. Be in love with God and life. The miracle is about to happen for 
you. You have reason to sing.

“Sing, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into loud 
and joyful song, O Jerusalem, you who have never been in labor. For the 
desolate
woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband,” says 
the Lord
(Isaiah 54:1).

1. You are about to give birth

God is about to birth in you new ideas, strategies, dreams. This promise is 
not for everyone else. It is for you. You will experience renewal. You will
birth newness. Good things are about to happen to you. Expect them.

Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no 
expense! For you will soon be bursting at the seams
(Isaiah 54:2).

2. You are about to be enlarged

No one in the Bible wanted to be enlarged more than Jacob. He struggled to 
be born first, bargained for a better birthright, and was prepared to 
wrestle
more from God. God has more for you. Go after it!

For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will occupy 
other nations and resettle the ruined cities
(Isaiah 54:3).

3. Your descendants will inherit the nations

It may appear as though your descendants will inherit debt, but the Word 
says otherwise. Godly children will unlock unprecedented blessing.

“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no 
more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth 
and
the sorrows of widowhood"
(Isaiah 54:4).

4. There is no shame

Shame binds.
Isaiah 53
explains that Jesus dealt with shame on the Cross. Leave guilt and 
condemnation behind. Your destiny is freedom.

For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my 
faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be 
broken,”says
the Lord, who has mercy on you
(Isaiah 54:10).

5. God is faithful

The Almighty will fulfil his promise. The Lord is not angry with you, he has 
mercy upon you. He is faithful to do all he said he would do. What a great
God we serve.

I will make your towers of sparkling rubies, your gates of shining gems, and 
your walls of precious stones
(Isaiah 54:12).

6. God will build your prosperity

When the devil builds prosperity it is temporary and does not satisfy. When 
God builds it, it lasts for eternity.

You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies 
will stay far away. You will live in peace, and terror will not come near
(Isaiah 54:14).

7. You will live in peace not terror

You and your children will never be threatened, or violated. People of peace 
don’t hang out with those involved in such behaviour. And terror: it will
not come near. You have nothing to fear.

If any nation comes to fight you, it is not because I sent them. Whoever 
attacks you will go down in defeat
(Isaiah 54:15).

8. God is on your side

The Lord told Joshua, "I will be with you, only be strong and courageous." 
God is on your side, only be strong and courageous. The Lord conquers over 
your
enemies.

But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will 
silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by 
the
servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have 
spoken!
(Isaiah 54:17)

9. No weapon formed against you shall prosper

No weapon of gossip, offense, anger, lies, disease, or discouragement will 
prosper. The Word of God wins every time.

10. God has spoken!

These are not my words. The Lord Almighty has spoken. It is your time to 
sing!

The Cross of Christ has given you reason to sing. Meditate and declare these 
confessions. You can do it. Sing!

Sarah Coleman is an Australian author and communicator. Her books include
Single Christian Female
and
Make Yourself Amazing.
She is passionate about the Kingdom of God. She also loves being a wife and 
mother to two boys. To read more of Sarah's thoughts go to
sarahcoleman.com.au.

Publication date: June 3, 2014
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Tamar, Daughter of King David

Her name means: "Date Tree" or "Palm Tree"

Her character: Tamar shared her father's, David's, good looks. Young and 
innocent, she was naive to the danger that threatened from her own family.
Her sorrow: That her half brother saw her only as an object for his lust, 
destroying her future as a result, and that her father, the king, did 
nothing
to protect her.
Key Scriptures:
2 Samuel 13:1-22

Her Story

David's daughter Tamar was a knockout. No doubt she was destined for a 
marriage that would strengthen the king's political alliances. Though not 
under
lock and key, she probably lived a rather protected life. But all the 
precautions in the world couldn't save her from the danger that threatened 
from David's
inner circle.

Amnon was David's heir. As the king's eldest son, he was used to getting his 
way. But lately he'd grown despondent. Something was bothering him, chasing
away his sleep, gnawing at his heart.

One day, Jonadab, Amnon's cousin, asked him: "Why do you, the king's son, 
look so haggard morning after morning? Won't you tell me?"

Amnon confided in his friend, saying, "I'm in love with Tamar, my brother 
Absalom's sister."

"Go to bed and pretend to be ill," Jonadab shrewdly advised. "When your 
father comes to see you, say to him, 'I would like my sister Tamar to come 
and
give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight, so I may eat 
from her hand.' "

So David, concerned for his son, unwittingly sent his daughter into a trap 
that would ruin her life.

After Tamar had prepared a meal for Amnon, he asked her to enter his bedroom 
and feed him. But as soon as Tamar did, he grabbed her, begging, "Come to
bed with me, my sister."

"Don't, my brother!" she said to him. "Don't force me. Such a thing should 
not be done in Israel! Don't do this wicked thing. What about me? Where 
could
I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the 
wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from 
being
married to you." But despite her pleas, Amnon forced himself on her.

As soon as the storm of his passion died down, Amnon's infatuation turned to 
hatred. He threw Tamar out of his house, bolting the door against her, as
though she, not he, were the guilty one. Desolate, the young girl tore her 
robes, throwing ashes on her head and weeping loudly as she wandered the 
streets.
When her brother Absalom found her, he hushed her, saying, "Be quiet now, my 
sister, he is your brother. Don't take this thing to heart." But Absalom 
himself
took it to heart, hating his half brother Amnon for what he had done.

Though David was furious when he heard the news, he did nothing to punish 
Amnon. Did he favor his son over his daughter, thinking her hurt a small 
matter?
Or had his moral authority been so compromised by his lust for Bathsheba 
that he simply could not bring himself to confront his eldest son? Whatever 
the
case, Absalom did not share his father's hesitation. Instead, he bided his 
time, waiting for an opportunity for vengeance. Two years later he murdered
Amnon.

First rape, then murder. David's household was devastated not by barbarians 
outside the gate but by those inside his own family. After Amnon's death, 
David
must have been haunted by Nathan's earlier prophecy after David's own 
adultery with Bathsheba: "Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from 
your house….
Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you" (
2 Samuel 12:10-11).
The father's lust was mirrored by the son's; the father's violence, by one 
son's murder of the other.

Tamar, unprotected by her father, betrayed by her own brother, lived in 
Absalom's house, a desolate woman, without the possibility of marriage or 
children
because she was no longer a virgin. Thus a chain of sin wove its way through 
David's family, enslaving the innocent along with the guilty.

Her Promise

The horrifying facts of Tamar's experience—not only the rape itself but the 
effect it had on her future and her emotional well-being—are not too far 
from
the experiences of many women today. Statistics reveal a staggering number 
of women who have been violated by family members when they were very young.
The effects of those experiences can haunt a woman's existence, influencing 
her relationships with her husband, with male and female friends, and with
her children. Help is available to those who seek it, but the ultimate hope 
and help can only be found in the love and acceptance God so willingly 
offers.
His forgiving spirit can help recovery begin. His comforting spirit can 
bring a soothing balm to the hurt of the past. His constant presence can 
bring
healing for the loneliness and detachment many feel.

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.

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!

All content is drawn from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of 
Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Used with permission.

This email was sent to dwmasters15@gmail.com by Bible Gateway, 3900 Sparks 
Drive SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 USA. This email is part of a devotional or
newsletter that you signed up for on BibleGateway.com. If you have questions 
or comments about this newsletter, please contact us at 
support@biblegateway.com.

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List


Keep your life so constant in its contact with God that His surprising power 
may break out on the right hand and on the left. Always be in a state of 
expectancy,
and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes.

Oswald Chambers

Flavored with Love

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 09:55 PM PDT

[Jesus said:] Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12, NIV)

Jesus, You were never unkind.
You were never rushed.
You gladly took time with people.
They were Your agenda.

Jesus,
in my thinking,
in my speaking,
in the decisions I make,
in my reactions to others,
when I am inconvenienced,
when I am under pressure,
flavor my life with Your love.

Keep me in You, and at peace in You.

Jesus,
flavor my life with Your love.
Listen…and sing if you want:
Hymn: As You Love
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics
KenBible.com

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You

A Word With You
Daily Devotional
Noah - and God's End Game - #7146

The real Noah really stirred things up when he was here. And guess what? 
He's done it again recently. Well, on the big screen this time. Noah and his 
ark
- the movie version - had a big launch when it came out. And actually 
Captain Noah proved that he still has the ability to be controversial. 
Except this
time, mostly among Bible people.

Some are objecting to all that the movie adds and subtracts from the 
original account. And then others have expressed hope that it would interest 
some
un-Bible people in the real Story. And, in fact, that is what happened. 
There was a sudden spike in Bible reading and Bible websites. That's a good 
thing.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Noah - 
and God's End Game."

What is interesting is that thousands of years later, Jesus was talking 
about Noah. And He actually was suggesting that when people are thinking 
about
Noah, they should be looking for Him.

Here's what He said in our word for today from the Word of God. In Luke 
17:26-27, "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the coming 
of the
Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and 
drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the 
ark; and
they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them 
all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man."

So what we've got here is Jesus establishing this linkage between Noah and 
the time Jesus is going to come back to earth. It's worth thinking about. 
Jesus
used the story of Noah as a picture of what the world would look like on the 
eve of the climactic event of all human history - His return. When He said,
"They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power 
and great glory" (Matthew 24:30). Bottom line? The world isn't done with 
Jesus
Christ. Jesus is our future. Actually, Jesus is your future.

See, He will come to a world that, basically using the Noah example that He 
did, will be busy ignoring Him; too busy to have time for Him, living for 
their
appetites, caught up in the gerbil wheel of their lives, spinning and 
spinning, doing whatever they feel like and oblivious to the flood of God 
that's
coming.

But at the same time, there will be an ark where they can be rescued. His 
name is Jesus. But see, nobody took Noah seriously. Nobody took his message 
seriously,
so none of them were in the ark. So Jesus is going to write final chapter of 
human history. It won't be some president or prime minister or powerful 
nation.
No, it will be Jesus.

By the way, Jesus will write the final chapter of your personal history. 
See, the Bible says, "How shall we escape if we neglect such a great 
salvation?"
Salvation is a rescue word isn't it? Jesus came here to pay the price for 
the sin that carries a death penalty. I was on death row spiritually, except
for the fact that Jesus came and became my substitute on the cross; paid my 
death penalty for my sin. Then He walked out of His grave to prove that if
I would let Him walk into my life He could give me the eternal life that He 
has demonstrated He has that first Easter morning.

He said one thing about His return. He said, "You must be ready" (Matthew 
24:44). I wonder if you're ready to meet Him, either when He comes back or 
when
your last breath is taken. Because the Bible says, "It is appointed to man 
to die once, and after this the judgment." The judgment that Jesus took on 
the
cross; the judgment that you can have cancelled by your decision this very 
day to say, "Jesus, I am Yours."

If you've never done that, I would love to help you do that. And our website 
is there for that express purpose. I invite you to go to ANewStory.com right
away and let's get this settled. See, Jesus isn't just the future of this 
world. He's my future. He's your future. Be ready.

Christ Loved Me

1 John 4:8

The distinguishing mark of a Christian is his confidence in Christ's love 
for him and in the offering of his love to Christ. First, faith sets her 
seal
upon the man by enabling the soul to say with the apostle, "Christ loved me 
and gave himself for me."1 Then love gives the countersign and stamps upon
the heart gratitude and love to Jesus in return. "We love because he first 
loved us."2

In those grand old ages, which are the heroic period of the Christian
religion,
this double mark was clearly seen in all believers in Jesus; they were men 
who knew the love of Christ and rested upon it as a man leans upon a staff 
whose
trustiness he has proved. The love that they felt toward the Lord was not a 
quiet emotion that they hid within themselves in the secret place of their
souls and that they only spoke about in private or when they met on the 
first day of the week and sang hymns in honor of Christ Jesus the crucified; 
it
was a passion with them of such a vehement and all-consuming energy that it 
was visible in all their actions, evident in their conversation, and seen in
their eyes, even in their casual glances. Love for Jesus was a flame that 
fed upon the core and heart of their being and therefore by its own force 
burned
its way into their demeanor and shone there. Zeal for the glory of King 
Jesus was the seal and mark of all genuine
Christians.

Because of their dependence upon Christ's love they dared much, and because 
of their love for Christ they did much, and it is the same now. The children
of God are ruled in their inmost powers by love. The love of Christ 
constrains them; they rejoice that divine love is set upon them, they feel 
it shed
abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given to them, and then by 
force of gratitude they love the Savior with a pure and fervent heart.

My reader, do you love Him? Before you sleep, give an honest answer to this 
weighty question!

1Galatians 2:20 21 John 4:19

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Isaiah 37

verse 2 Revelation 7

Devotions by Christine Caine - Undaunted

Read
Matthew 23:1–28

Jesus rebukes the scribes and Pharisees who make a show of godliness with 
their actions but allow ungodliness to control them from the inside. He 
calls
them hypocrites and tells his followers not to be like them.

Looking the Part

It was on the ski slopes in Australia that I experienced firsthand the 
consequences of trying to act like something I’m not. Although I’d never 
skied before,
I accepted the invitation to be the chaplain on a youth ski trip. My friend, 
a professional skier, loaned me her very chic, top-of-the-line ski gear. She
said, “Well, at least you’ll look the part!”

It was apparent on the slopes that first day that looking great on the 
outside and having all the best gear had no bearing on my performance as an 
actual
skier. I didn’t have any of the knowledge, skill, experience, or strength on 
the inside that a real professional skier needs to have. In the end, looking
the part counted for nothing.

The same holds true for us as Christians. We can look the part by having the 
best gear (our Bibles, our WWJD amulets, our fish bumper stickers); by 
refraining
from certain behaviors such as smoking, drinking, or cussing; or by going to 
church and singing in the choir. We certainly can be perceived as a 
successful
Christian by looking the right way, having the right “accessories,” and 
acting the right way. But if all of this does not stem from who we really 
are at
our core, our faith is just a sham.

We are supposed to be transformed into the image of Jesus. If we reject the 
transforming grace of Christ, then we are hypocrites, just like the 
Pharisees.
The fact is that Jesus despises hypocrisy. He wants authentic followers. 
Unfortunately for our flesh, which craves instant results, this 
transformation
is not something that happens overnight. We have to be willing to work at 
it. We cannot allow ourselves to be sidetracked by the external quick-fix 
plan.
Instead, we must be committed to strengthening our spiritual core, which is 
all about an internal work that brings about our transformation into the 
image
of Christ.

Point to Ponder

Is it your goal to truly be like Christ? If so, you must focus on being a 
Christian rather than doing Christianity. The natural byproduct is that you 
will
end up doing what Christians are supposed to do. This removes all the 
striving from your Christian journey because you no longer have to try to 
act like
a Christian. You can simply be one.
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
Devotions by Christine Caine, Copyright © 2012 by Christine Caine and Equip 
& Empower Ministries.
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