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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters - Page 34 Empty Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Thu 31 Jul 2014, 10:35 pm

The Gift of Evangelists

We now look at the gift of evangelists. In the following Scripture we see it 
in a list of gifts and why they were given:

Ephesians 4:11-12 (NASB95)
11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as 
evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the 
saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

Below is what the New Bible Dictionary says about evangelists:

EVANGELIST. The word translated in the New Testament‘evangelist’ is a noun 
from the Verb euangelizomai ‘to announce news’, and usually rendered as 
‘preach the gospel’. The verb is very common in the new Testament, and is 
applied to God (Gal. 3:8), to our Lord (Lk. 20:1), and to ordinary church 
members (Acts 8:4), as well as to apostles on their missionary journeys. The 
noun ‘evangelist’ occurs three times only in the New Testament. Timothy (2 
Tim. 4:5) is exhorted by Paul to do the work of an evangelist; that is to 
say, make known the facts of the gospel. Timothy had accompanied the apostle 
on his missionary journeys. But it is plain from the injunctions in the two 
letters addressed to him that his work when the apostle wrote was very 
largely local and pastoral. That he is enjoined to do the work of an 
evangelist shows that a man who was an evangelist could also be a pastor and 
teacher.
In Acts 21:8 Philip is described as ‘the evangelist’. Philip had been chosen 
as one of the Seven in Acts 6, and after the persecution of Stephen he was 
prominent in preaching the gospel in unevangelized parts (e.g. Acts 8:5, 12, 
35, 40). Though an evangelist, he was not included among the apostles (Acts 
8:14). A similar distinction is made between Timothy and the apostles in 2 
Cor. 1:1 and Col. 1:1. It will be seen, then, that though apostles were 
evangelists, not all evangelists were apostles. This distinction is 
confirmed in Eph. 4:11, where the office of ‘evangelist’ is mentioned after 
‘apostle’ and ‘prophet’, and before ‘pastor’ and ‘teacher’. From this 
passage it is plain that the gift of evangelist was a distinct gift within 
the Christian church; and although all Christians doubtless performed this 
sacred task, as opportunity was given to them, there were some who were 
pre-eminently called and endowed by the Holy Spirit for this work.

So evangelists are those who God calls to give all their time telling the 
Good News but we all are to do this also. Jesus commands us to go make 
disciples. This means wherever we are, we are to do this as the Holy Spirit 
leads. I pray that all of us would be like John Harper as in the account 
below:

Harper Was Still Pleading
John Harper, the newly-called pastor of Moody Church in the early 1900s, 
manifested his Christian character in the sinking of the Titanic. Dr. W. B. 
Riley related the death of Harper.
“We have the history of John Harper’s end, for survivors, brought to harbor 
in safety, told the same. When the Titanic was struck by the iceberg that 
drove in her sides, and sent the ship to the bottom, John Harper was leaning 
against the rail pleading with a young man to come to Christ. … ”

Four years after the Titanic went down, a young Scotchman rose in a meeting 
in Hamilton, Can., and said, “I am a survivor of the Titanic. When I was 
drifting alone on a spar that awful night, the tide brought Mr. John Harper, 
of Glasgow, on a piece of wreck near me. “Man,” he said, “are you saved?” 
“No,” I said, “I am not.” He replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and 
thou shalt be saved.”
“The waves bore him away; but, strange to say brought him back a little 
later, and he said, “Are you saved now?” “No,” I said, “I cannot honestly 
say that I am.” He said again, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou 
shalt be saved,” and shortly after he went down; and there, alone in the 
night, and with two miles of water under me, I believed. I am John Harper’s 
last convert.”
—quilla Webb

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List

How Do I Share What I Believe? 10 Common Christian Expressions Requiring 
Translation
J. Warner Wallace

Every group has its own distinct language, and
Christianity
is no different. Back when I was an unbeliever, a Christian friend 
approached me and said, “Jim, I've been convicted lately, and God has put 
you on my
heart. God told me you need to be born again; you need to come to repentance 
and experience a conversion. It’s time for you to deal with the sin in your
life and have a true spiritual rebirth. Why don’t you invite Jesus into your 
heart and make Him the Lord of your life? If you have faith you can be 
saved.
You can be washed by the Blood of the Lamb, and sanctified so you can enjoy 
fellowship with your Christian brethren.” OK, he didn’t actually put it 
quite
like that. But he might as well have. I couldn’t understand a thing he said. 
His “Christianese” was fluent and mine was not. Years later, I found myself
using much of the same language with my unbelieving friends, only to find 
them equally confused and alienated. So, here’s a list of common Christian 
expressions
I’ve decided to translate for all my friends who are still speaking the 
language of the secular culture:

#1. “God has put you (or something) on my heart. / God told me.”
Really? As an atheist, I was offended by this kind of language. What makes 
you
Christians
so sure you know what God is thinking? Are you actually hearing a voice from 
Heaven? Does it sound like Morgan Freeman? Sounds a bit presumptuous to me.

Try this instead: “Jim, I've been thinking about you a lot lately. You come 
to mind when I am praying and talking to God.”

#2. “Be ‘born again.’ / Have a spiritual rebirth.”
Is “Born Again” a political party or something you want me to join? Aren’t 
all Christians “born again?” If so, why are you using the additional 
adjective?
Are “Born Agains” the true, hardcore Christians? Are they political 
activists like the modern day “Birthers”? Sorry, I’m too busy to become a 
fanatic or
join a movement.

Try this instead: “Reconsider your beliefs and begin a new life as a 
Christian.”

#3. “You need to come to repentance. / Experience a conversion.”
My mother used to take me to Catholic Mass occasionally when I was a small 
boy. I hated it. I never understood what those priests were saying, but I’m
sure it had something to do with “penance,” “penitence,” or “repentance.” 
Didn’t King James die a long time ago? Why are we still trying to talk like
him?

Try this instead: “You and I might be ‘good’ at times but we’re not 
‘perfect.’ If God is all-powerful, He has the ability to be perfect. The 
only way imperfect
creatures like you and I can be united to a perfect God is to accept the 
pardon He’s offering for our imperfection.”

#4. “Deal with your sin.”
You go ahead and deal with your sin if you want to. I’m too busy dealing 
with everyone else’s sin. I’m a police officer, for crying out loud; we’re 
the
“good guys.” We put the “bad guys” in jail, and most of the folks I arrest 
tell me they’re Christians. Please Mr. “Holier Than Thou,” don’t start 
talking
to me about my “sin.” It’s offensive.

Try this instead: “The Bible says Jesus is God and the only perfect man who 
ever lived. Yet He died like a common criminal to pay the price for our 
daily
‘crimes’ of imperfection. If we are willing to accept what Jesus did for us 
on the cross, He’s willing to apply His perfection to us.”

#5. “Invite Jesus into your heart.”
You mean like a boyfriend? What exactly does that mean to have “Jesus in my 
heart?” I’m not an emotional kind of guy, so please don’t ask me to sing 
songs
or hold hands with Jesus, especially in public. Do I have to emasculate 
myself to become a Christian? If so, thanks for reminding me why I’m not a 
Christian.

Try this instead: “When we admit our imperfections, believe Jesus died on 
the cross to pay the price for our mistakes, and accept His sacrifice, we 
can
start a new relationship with God.”

#6. “Make Jesus the Lord of your life.”
Isn’t this the twenty-first century? Are there still serfs and lords? Was 
J.R. Tolkien the author of your Scripture? It kind of sounds that way. What 
is
a “Lord” anyway? Is it like a “slave master”? Between bosses and 
supervisors, most of us have enough people trying to be our “Lord.” Thanks 
anyway.

Try this instead: “As you begin to appreciate the magnitude of God’s 
forgiveness and sacrifice, you’ll find yourself wanting to be more like 
Him.”

#7. “Have faith.”
If by “faith” you mean believing in something in spite of the evidence, no 
thanks. Blind faith is dangerous. I’m a cop; evidence matters to me. You can
keep your “faith;” I’d rather have my “reason.” The world would be a better 
place if fewer people flew planes into buildings because they believed 
something
blindly.

Try this instead: “Jesus gave us more than enough evidence to believe what 
He said about Himself. He never asked people to take an irrational, blind 
leap.
He asked instead for a reasonable step of trust.”

#8. “Be saved.”
Saved from what and saved by who? Last time I checked, I’m the guy who 
usually does the saving. And doesn’t your holy book say “God helps those who 
help
themselves?” I’ve been helping myself for thirty-five years now without a 
problem. No need to change that. I’m okay, but thanks for the offer.

Try this instead: “God doesn’t want anyone to be separated from Him. He’s 
given us a way home. All we have to do is accept His offer of forgiveness 
through
Jesus.”

#9. “Be washed by the blood of the Lamb.”
Tell me you didn’t just say that. I know what a “blood bath” is, and it’s 
not usually a good thing. I’m not sure what a lamb has to do with it, but 
lamb’s
not my favorite food anyway. Are you trying to get me excited about 
Christianity or chase me away?

Try this instead: “It turns out that the death of one man (Jesus) provides 
forgiveness for the rest of us.”

#10. “Be Sanctified.”
Is that kind of like “sanctimonious?” I sure know a lot of Christians who 
are smug and self-righteous. Is that what happens over time if I become a 
Christian?
It certainly seems that way. “Sanctified” sounds a bit arrogant. I bet 
sanctified people think their pretty “special.” You can keep your 
pretentious “sanctification.”

Try this instead: “Grateful people are selfless people. Christians who 
understand how much they’ve been forgiven are changed over time.”

Bonus Expression #11. “Enjoy fellowship.”
What, another Lord of the Rings reference? Really? Do you people ever use 
language from this century? Christianity sounds a lot like an exclusive 
country
club. If I join, it sounds like I’ll get to become a “fellow” of some sort. 
Do I have to give up having a beer with the fellas in order to hang out with
the Christian fellows? Hmm, that kind of makes the decision easy for me.

Try this instead: “It’s encouraging to find grateful Christians who are 
struggling to become people of God. We’re out there and eager to have you 
join
our community, regardless of what you may believe today.”

I understand the importance of our theologically rich Christian language, 
and as a Christian I often use similar words when talking with Christians. 
But
when I’m talking with unbelievers, I try to think about how I used to hear 
and interpret these words before I became a Christian. How do I share what I
believe?
I take the time to translate important Christian concepts
for those who might be willing to entertain the ideas if only I was willing 
to speak their language.

This post is excerpted from my article, “
What Cops Can Teach Christians about the Critical Use of Language
” first published in the Christian Research Journal. The
Christian Research Journal
equips Christians with the information they need to discern doctrinal 
errors, evangelize people of other faiths, and provide a strong defense of 
Christianbeliefs and ethics


Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
Admin
Admin
Admin

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

https://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

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THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters - Page 34 Empty Re: THE MASTERS LIST Dean W. Masters

Post  Admin on Wed 30 Jul 2014, 8:26 pm

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that 
gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. – G.K. Chesterton

Happiness makes for great dancing posture. And for those of us who aren’t 
happy, Amazon sells a “clavicle brace and posture support” so we can fake 
it.

I’m kidding.

That said, it doesn’t take long to realize that I’m an incredible dancer 
when life is great. But life isn’t always great. In fact, sometimes – more 
often
than what’s comfortable – life is hard.

By this point in the dance lessons, I’ve learned that to put on appearances 
is to march. I’ve traded in my marching boots for dancing shoes. I’ve 
abandoned
a life driven by performance so I might live in abandon through the Spirit.

So the question arises: How can I dance beyond my circumstances?

How can I dance with shoulders back and head high when heavy circumstances 
put a definite slump in my posture? Is there any hope beyond Amazon’s 
clavicle
brace?

Yes. Absolutely. The solution to dancing through life’s circumstances is 
beautifully simple.

Give thanks.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever (Psalm 
118:1).

I know what you’re thinking. “Pete, I just lost my job. My spouse just left. 
My house will be repossessed next month. Or my child just said the most 
hurtful
thing.”

I’m asking you. Try asking Jesus to be thankful through you today, no matter 
what. See what happens. It’s the ultimate perspective shifter as your focus
shifts from circumstances to the Lord who is good and loves you forever.

Father, Giver of All, I want to believe that I can dance through every 
circumstance, but some paralyze me. I thank You for Your Spirit who dwells 
in me
and leads me. May my list of gratitude be so lengthy that as I gaze toward 
the heavens, I lose my balance for one step, then two steps, and before I 
know
it, I’m back in the dance again. Amen.

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

Love Worth Finding Ministries

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Jesus, the Bridge Spanning the Great Divide

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having 
slain the enmity thereby.”
Ephesians 2:16

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Up in heaven is the holy God.
Down below is the sinful man.
And sin is the dividing rod that separates.

Without God, man has an empty void in his life he knows he must fill, so man 
is constantly trying to reach God. But he keeps rebounding off the sin 
barrier.

Then God, moved in mercy by the pitiful plight of sinful man, said, “I will 
do something.”

God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to make a way. And upon the rough-hewn 
timbers of a cross, Jesus gave His life so you and I could live forever and 
live
forgiven. Jesus built a bridge between man and God. It’s a bridge man could 
never build. And a bridge that man can never take away.

God made a way that we couldn’t make . . . for me . . . and for you.

ACTION POINT:
Since Jesus built a bridge of love for you to be reconciled to God, it’s 
your turn to build a bridge of love to someone who is lost and searching.
Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
© 2014 Love Worth Finding Ministries 

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You
A Word With You
Daily Devotional
Salt Storage - #7145

It was the early winter of 1994 - the one the Sanitation Department of New 
York City would not forget for a while. Much of the East Coast got hit big 
time
with this parade of snow and ice storms. At one point, they were coming 
about every other day. You take a hard freeze and frequent storms; well, it 
just
created layers of frozen precipitation on the ground. Kind of like 
geological strata except slippery. Olympic skaters could have practiced on 
Broadway
or Fifth Avenue.

Needless to say, the sand and salt trucks were working around the clock, and 
drivers worked such long hours they had to wear name tags when they got home
because it was so late when they finally got there! But, ultimately, the 
slippery stuff wasn't the biggest problem. No, the real crisis was a salt 
shortage.
Now, snow and ice are bad. But no salt on the snow and ice? Well, that's 
terrible. People were saying, "Hey, they ran out of salt!" Actually, one 
city
official explained that was not the problem. He said, "There's plenty of 
salt. The problem is we can't get the salt from where it is to where it's 
needed."

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

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 5, beginning at 
verse 13, "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt looses its 
saltiness,
how can it be made salty again. It is no longer good for anything except to 
be thrown out and trampled by men." God goes on to describe us, then, as 
"the
light of the world, like a city set on a hill." And then He says, "Let your 
light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your 
Father
in heaven."

If you're a follower of Jesus, there are two things you need to know that 
your Savior says you are. You are salt and you are light. Now, it doesn't 
take
a lot of salt to change the environment. I mean, you don't need a pound of 
salt for a pound of meat, right? You don't have to have as much salt as 
there
is ice. But in order for salt to do any good, it has to be in contact with 
the thing it is needed to change; on the street or on the meat. It doesn't 
do
anything in a salt shaker or piled in a salt mountain somewhere in a big 
storage yard.

God's problem with getting Jesus to lost and dying people is the same as 
that winter emergency in New York; the salt wasn't getting where it was 
needed.
We - who know Christ - often are not in enough meaningful contact with the 
people who need us most. It's as if there are these great mountains of 
spiritual
salt in a very cold and frozen world. We salt people spend so much time in 
meetings with each other, doing programs for each other, having concerts 
with
each other, serving on committees for each other, and doing books and music 
for each other. We're disconnected from the people who are dying without our
Jesus.

Isn't it time for the salt to get out where it's needed? We need to leave 
the comfort of Salt Mountain and dare to risk getting involved in places 
where
lost people are; to look at the unbelieving people around us and start 
building some bridges into their lives; building intentional rescue 
relationships.
More than picketers, protestors, politickers, or promoters, God needs some 
of His people to just move close to some people who are not His people.

Would you dare to ask God today to lay some lost person on your heart? Maybe 
He already has. Ask Him, "God, go ahead and break my heart for the people
within my reach who do not have You." And then invest yourself in what Jesus 
did. He came "to seek and to save those who are lost."

Too many people are slipping away, falling, crashing because there is no 
salt making a difference where they are. Please, if you know Jesus, be where 
you are needed the most.

"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.

HEAVEN IS FOR REAL ... AND SO IS HELL

“And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; 
but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Matthew 10:28

Do you believe in heaven? A recent survey found that approximately 68% of 
Americans do. No doubt the popularity of the book and movie, Heaven is for 
Real
- the account of a young boy who claims he went to heaven - has spurred 
discussion about the issue of heaven and the afterlife. Perhaps some who 
were previously
skeptical are rethinking their position. I hope so.

Regardless of who believes or who doesn’t, heaven is for real. It is not 
because little Colton Burpo says so, but because God makes that fact clear 
in
His Word. Heaven is indeed a real place where the Lord lives in all the 
fullness of His glory.

And just as heaven is a real place, so is hell. The same Savior who told us 
of the wonders of heaven also told us of the horrors of hell. Interestingly,
the same survey that found 68% believing in heaven, only found 58% believing 
in hell. Obviously, the idea of a place of eternal fire for those who reject
Christ is something a great (and increasing) number of people choose to 
discard as unpalatable, unconscionable, and untrue.

Tragically, many preachers today never even touch on the subject of hell for 
fear of turning off the crowd. Jesus, however, had no aversion to talking
about hell. In fact, He talked quite a bit on the subject. Why? Because He 
knows it's a real place... and He doesn't want anyone to go there.

PEOPLE NEED TO BE WARNED

In Luke 16, Jesus told of a rich man who went to hell. (Technically, this 
rich man went to Hades, which differs only slightly from hell. Hades is 
like
the county jail where criminals are held, and hell is like the state 
penitentiary where convicted criminals end up after their sentencing by the 
judge).
Describing Hades/hell, this rich man said, "I am in agony in this flame." He 
called to Father Abraham, "I beg you, Father, that you send him (Lazarus)
to my father's house-- for I have five brothers--that he may warn them, lest 
they also come to this place of torment" (Luke 16:27-28).

Did you catch that? The rich man wanted his loved ones to be warned of this 
terrible, horrible place. It was too late for him, but not for them. He 
wanted
to get the message to them ASAP.

WE NEED TO SHARE IT

I believe the job of every preacher (and every Christian) is to share the 
good news of Jesus... and warn the people of the severe consequences of 
rejecting
Jesus. God says, "When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die'; and you 
do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he
may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will 
require at your hand" (Ezekiel 3:18). No doubt, God takes our job of warning
people very seriously.

When I was seventeen years old, the gospel penetrated my heart. God showed 
me my great need of Him. He showed me that if I died, I would go to hell, 
and
rightfully so, because I was a guilty sinner deserving of death. When I 
realized that critical truth, I received Christ willingly and gratefully, 
and my
life was forever changed.

May we get back to the place in our churches and in our witnessing where we 
share "the whole counsel of God." Eternal, righteous judgment is coming to
those who reject the unfathomably gracious and loving sacrifice of God's 
dear Son. People need to know that hell is for real. They need to know that 
God
has made a way of escape. It is found only in Jesus Christ, and it is 
offered freely to all who will repent and believe.

Have you done that? Will you tell others before it is too late?

Love,

Pastor Jeff Schreve,

From His Heart Ministries

P.S. Discover that you are not alone in prayer. Allow many people to join 
you in prayer. Go to www.fromhisheart.org/prayer.

Jeff Schreve founded From His Heart Ministries,
www.fromhisheart.org,
in 2005 with the vision to reach as many people as possible with the good 
news of God's love. Jeff believes that no matter how badly you may have 
messed
up in life, God still loves you and has a great plan just for you. He 
broadcast on radio, TV and in the internet around the world from his pulpit 
ministry
as Pastor of First Baptist in Texarkana, Texas. This ministry is completely 
listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and 
generous
gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. 
All gifts go to further the broadcast.

SPECIAL OFFER

Even the greatest men in the Bible had to deal with fear. If you are, there 
is good news.

God wants to see you overcome your fear. In this booklet from Pastor Jeff 
Schreve, you’ll gain practical insights to help you trust God and experience
His peace and deliverance. You’ll learn to conquer your fear as you fix your 
eyes on Jesus and walk by faith and not by sight.
Featured Sermon
from LightSource.com Dr. David Jeremiah Turning Point
© 2014 Salem Web Network. All rights reserved.
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Biblical Creationism

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (NKJV)

No book of the Scriptures matters more because EVERY BOOK OF THE BIBLE RESTS 
ON THIS ONE! The book of Genesis is the foundation for the doctrines that
follow. Everything you base your Eternal destiny upon starts in Genesis:

A. INSPIRATION: The Creator in Genesis WROTE the Scriptures! Hebrews 1:1-2

B. DEITY OF CHRIST: The Creator in Genesis is the One who DIED for you and 
me! Hebrews 1:3

C. FINAL JUDGMENT: The CREATOR in Genesis is the ONE we will all someday 
face to enter Heaven or Hell! Acts 17:24,

D.
SALVATION:
The CREATOR of Genesis is the ONLY ONE who can die in your place on the 
Cross! Romans 5:12-15

E. TRUSTWORTHINESS OF CHRIST: The CREATOR in Genesis is the ONLY ONE who 
knows what happened at that event! Mark 10:6

F. THE WHOLE MESSAGE OF THE BIBLE: The CREATOR in Genesis is the ONLY ONE 
able to send a message like we have in the SCRIPTURES! Colossians 1:15-17

The biblical account of creation is not a little thing. It’s not something 
like a lot of denominations are saying, you know, we just don’t know what to
do with that. It’s allegorical, it’s mythical, we just won’t talk about it. 
It’s too divisive. It is very divisive. It has a lot to do with where you
spend eternity, because only those who worship God as creator of heaven 
(that’s the universe), of the earth (that’s the planet we’re on), of the 
seas and
of everything underneath, only those truly are worshipping Him as their 
Redeemer.

All attempts to compromise the Scriptures should be resisted. There are some 
popular views some
Christians
hold that are very dangerous:

1 Evolution is the Satanic religion of the Fall, Cain, Babel, idolatry, 
paganism, humanism and all other evils.

2 Gap Theory destroys Adam’s original sin. It puts him at the head of a 
creation that sits atop a multi-billion year old graveyard of fossils. This
monument to sin, death and destruction before Adam is incongruous to the 
Word of God .

3 Age Day Theory destroys the reliability of the text. It is repeatedly 
stated and believed by the Scripture writers that the account of Gen 1 is 
true.
The age Day Theory states the sun had to come before the fourth epoch. So 
the scriptures can’t be trusted.

To continue reading this message please
click here.
http://www.dtbm.org/sermon/biblical-creationism/
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit
discoverthebook.org
and
Listen to Dr. John Barnett at OnePlace.com.
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The Gift of Apostles

We now look at the gift of apostles.

1 Corinthians 12:28-29 (KJV)
28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily 
prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, 
helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all 
prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

The following is the entry found in the New Bible Dictionary:

APOSTLE. There are over 80 occurrences of the Greek word apostolos in the 
New Testament mostly in Luke and Paul. It derives from the very common verb 
apostellō to send, but in non-Christian Greek., after Herodotus in the 5th 
century B.C., there are few recorded cases where it means ‘a person sent’, 
and it generally means ‘fleet’, or perhaps occasionally ‘admiral’. The sense 
of ‘sent one, messenger’ may have survived in popular speech: at least, 
isolated occurrences in the Septuagent and Josephus suggest that this 
meaning was recognized in Jewish circles. Only with Christian literature, 
however, does it come into its own. In the New Testament it is applied to 
Jesus as the Sent One of God
(Heb. 3:1), to those sent by God to preach to Israel (Lk. 11:49) and to 
those sent by churches (2 Cor. 8:23; Phil. 2:25); but above all it is 
applied absolutely to the group of men who held the supreme dignity in the 
primitive church. Since apostellō seems frequently to mean ‘to send with a 
particular purpose’, as distinct from the neutral pempō (save in the 
Johannine writings, where the two are synonyms), the force of apostolos is 
probably ‘one commissioned’—it is implied,

Most of the time when we hear the word “apostle” we think of the original 
twelve who were with Jesus. Then when Judas hung himself and they had to 
find another one, they wanted someone who had seen Jesus personally. That 
was what people then thought made someone an apostle. That is why Paul made 
a big deal out of having seen Christ so that the people reading his letter 
would accept him as an apostle which he called himself. Paul called other 
Christians who had been sent out from some churches to another church 
apostles. This must be the type apostles he is speaking of here in the list 
of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In this sense, we might call them 
missionaries today. He did write that not everyone is an apostle. That is 
correct in that not everyone is sent out with a specific job sponsored by a 
church. But we are all apostles in the original sense of the word.

Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given complete authority 
in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the 
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy 
Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given 
you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

This is called the Great Commission which Jesus gave to his first apostles 
but he also gives it to us just as all His commands are for us to obey. You 
are being sent no matter where you are. You are to be telling others about 
Jesus Christ no matter where you go. This means at the supermarket, ball 
field, anywhere and everywhere. Be obedient and do the job you are sent to 
do, to make disciples!

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List

1 Triangle, 3 Corners, 4 T's
external link

As Christians we have the great privilege of knowing that God speaks to us 
through his Word, the Bible. There is no other book like it—no other book 
that
rewards us with God’s own words. But to know what God says to us, and how 
God means for us to live, we need to do a little bit of work. Every 
Christian,
and every preacher in particular, has to go from the text to today. We all 
wonder, “But what does this mean to me?” or “What does this mean to my 
congregation?”

Every word of the Bible was written at a certain time and in a certain 
context. Even the most recent of those times and the nearest of those 
contexts is
at a great distance from us in time and space. Thus, when we read the Bible, 
we have to determine how those words apply to us today in our very different
times and very different contexts. It is not always a simple task.

TTTT1
We have all seen situations—and many of us have caused situations—where we 
have been sloppy in going from the text to today. The young man who marches
three times around a young woman and waits for her walls of romantic 
resistance to crumble is not properly understanding how to go from the text 
to today.
Similarly, the muscleman who tears a phone book in half while quoting, “I 
can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” is not properly 
accounting
for the context of that verse. (Here is
another example
of a tricky text.)

There are different ways Christians attempt to get from the text to today in 
ways that are faithful and accurate. I’m going to borrow from my friend 
James
Seward and display one of these ways with a triangle that has four T’s on 
it. Look at figure 1 and you’ll see it: One triangle, three corners, four T’s.

TTTT2
We will begin with the right side of the triangle. Let’s let the top corner 
represent our text—any text within the Bible. The bottom-right corner will
represent today. You can see this in figure 2. What we are prone to do is to 
hurry our way from the text to today, just like that young man and that 
muscleman.
We underestimate or under-appreciate our cultural and chronological distance 
from the text and are too quick to assume we know how to apply the text to
our lives today. We sometimes get it right, but often we do not. Every 
Christian acknowledges this as a potential problem and different traditions 
attempt
to deal with it in different ways.

I am convinced that the most faithful way to deal with it leads us to the 
bottom-left corner of the triangle. The TT down there stands for 
them/then—the
people for whom the words were originally written (see figure 3). What if, 
instead of going straight from the text to today we go from the text, to 
them/then,
and only then to today? In this way, before we apply the text to ourselves, 
we attempt to understand what the words meant to those who first heard them.
So when Paul wrote the church in Philippi and said, “I can do all things 
through Christ who strengthens me,” what did he mean? What did he mean to 
communicate
to them/then? Once we have established what the text meant to them/then, we 
can more accurately apply it to ourselves—to us/now.

TTTT3
How can we go from the text to them/then? Broadly, through prayer, through 
meditation, and through study. We pray and ask the Holy Spirit to illumine 
the
text so we rightly understand it; we meditate on the text, expecting that 
God will reward this deep contemplation with greater understanding; we study
the text through cross-references, word studies, sentence diagraming, 
commentaries and other resources. We do all of this to understand what the 
text meant
to the original recipients.

Once we have done that—once we have a solid understanding of what the text 
meant to them/then, we are prepared to visit the third corner of the 
rectangle.
Now we take what we have learned and we ask how it is meant to impact us 
today. How do we do this? Largely through prayer and meditation, though some 
further
study may be involved. Now we pray and ask God to show us how he can apply 
his truth to the specifics of our lives and times; we continue to meditate 
on
the text, looking for immediate application, and still trusting that God 
will use our deep contemplation to give us insights into his Word. You can 
see
this all in figure 4.

TTTT4
In his book
Expositional Preaching,
David Helm gives an example of how he, an experienced preacher, was too 
quick to go from the text to today. He had determined that he would preach 2 
Corinthians
8-9 at time when his church needed a financial boost. Even before he began 
his sermon preparation he knew what he would say—he had a major theme, he 
had
an outline, and everything else he needed to make a great, Bible-based 
appeal for money. But as he dove into the text he realized that his 
understanding
of the text was too simple: this text isn’t about regular and cheerful 
giving to meet the church budget, but about a famine relief collection for 
churches
full of Jewish Christians. He came to see that this collection was meant to 
serve as a test of these Corinthian Christians so that if they gave 
generously,
it would show that they aligned with Paul and the gospel over against the 
so-called super-apostles. When he went from the text to today he had one 
sermon,
but when he went from the text to them/then to today he had a very different 
one, and one that more faithfully understood the original meaning of the 
text.
I suspect almost every preacher—every expositional preacher, at least—has 
had a similar experience at one time or another.

A couple of weeks ago I
quotedDavid Helm and his concern with lectio divina. His concern is exactly 
this—that lectio divina may too quickly move from the top of the triangle to 
the bottom-right. It moves from one corner to the other through prayer, 
meditation and contemplation, but in all of that may not adequately account 
for the distance between the text and today. This is true, at least, when lectio 
divina is done apart from serious study and serious work in the text prior 
to that contemplation. On the other hand, people who value study may be too 
reliant on their effort while short-changing both prayer and meditation (and 
I put myself squarely in this camp). And this is why I find this simple 
triangle so helpful. In three corners and four little T’s it helps us move 
from the text to today in a way that faithfully captures what God means to 
communicate to us.
More Recent Articles
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A Letter to America
by John UpChurch, Senior Editor, BibleStudyTools.com

Even though you can’t stand my exclusive cries for true freedom; even though 
you’d rather I show more toleration with my mouth shut; even though you hear
my sermons as an assault upon the things you hold sacred; even though you’d 
haul me to court to make me fall in line; even though your movies typecast
me as the blundering hypocritical monster; even though you’d dig in your 
nails to stop other people from hearing my prayers in the name of a man who 
died
2,000 years ago; even with all of that, I can’t stop loving you.

Even though you’ve been charmed into believing that the sexual revolution 
was somehow liberating; even though you’ve given yourself at the altar of 
instant
gratification; even though your body shows the scars of lovers torn from 
your arms; even though you feel the sting and hot anger over being cast 
aside
and sing those radio songs with grit; even though you cry when no one can 
see how empty you feel in a roomful of friends; even though you’ve gone numb
from rivers of meaningless promises; even with all that, I can’t stop loving 
you.

Even though you parade through the streets with banners rejecting the 
ancient chains of a book you detest; even though you throw yourself into the 
endless
revels of the night; even though you churn out words meant to destroy; even 
though you suck, inhale, inject, consume fire into your veins and visions in
your head; even though you scream and rage against the light; even though 
you hate the very One who longs to make you see; even though you refuse 
peace
inside; even though you discard Truth in your search for meaning; even with 
all that, I can’t stop loving you.

Even though you defame the boundaries of what God joined together; even 
though you explore every dark corner of human connections; even though you 
raise
equality as your golden calf; even though you brand those who disagree with 
spiteful epithets; even though you push the faithful from your midst; even
from out there, I can’t stop loving you.

Even though you call the life growing inside nothing more than tissue; even 
though you reject the divine spark created in your womb; even though you 
tear
out limbs and snip spinal cords; even though you spit on those who fight to 
save your child; even though you suffer the labor pains of regret for the 
rest
of your life; even then, I can’t stop loving you.

Even though you hate me, I can’t stop loving your sin-soiled skin. I can’t 
stop loving your blinded eyes. I can’t stop loving your idol-worshiping 
hands.

He died for you, and that makes you lovely.

For Further Reading:

Hosea

Romans 1-2

 MATTER OF FAITH

Does Your Life Have Meaning?
“It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from 
Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives
in helping others”— Ephesians 2:10 (TLB).
“Need help. Trying to get back home to Texas. Need gas and food money.” The 
bold, black letters on the orange poster board grabbed my attention as I 
pulled
into the supercenter parking lot. Holding the sign was a young man, possibly 
in his late 20s or early 30s. With him was a woman, about the same age, and
a boy, approximately four or five-years-old. With their dark eyes and skin, 
I assumed they were Hispanic.
I had stopped near their parked vehicle while waiting for other traffic to 
proceed but a quick glance was all I had time for—I was running behind. As I
drove to the other side of the parking lot, a still, small voice urged me to 
turn around. Thoughts of my busy schedule hammered away telling me to ignore
the voice of my Abba Father. But I couldn’t.
Recalling a conversation with a friend, I turned my car around. On her way 
home from work the previous day, my friend spotted an older woman lugging 
two
sacks of groceries. Trudging uphill, she was headed in the opposite 
direction. Glancing in her rear view mirror, my friend watched the woman 
struggling
with her load. Assuming the woman didn’t live too far, my friend continued 
on her way but didn’t get far before she turned around and offered the woman
a ride. Although her destination was about a half mile away, the woman had 
already walked more than a half mile from the grocery store on her way home.
She’d also put in two shifts prior to that at a fast-food restaurant.

God reminded me of my friend’s deed when I pulled up to the stranded family. 
After a short visit, I phoned my church who agreed to help. Upon our 
arrival,
a church member had already prepared several bags of non-perishable food 
from our Good Sam pantry. While I visited with our pastor about their 
financial
needs, it was obvious the family was hungry as they didn’t wait until the 
groceries where loaded in their vehicle. They were already eating and 
drinking
from the supplies we had provided. We filled up two more bags of groceries.
Before they continued on their journey toward home, our pastor and I prayed 
with them. Their story? They had left Houston the previous week with 
promises
of a mechanic’s job for the father. When it didn’t pan out, the young family 
was stuck in northeastern Oklahoma without enough to get back home. No 
family
or friends were available to help.
What makes life meaningful? It’s not money or the accumulation of things. As 
Paul says in Ephesians 2:10, “It is God himself who has made us what we are
and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that 
we should spend these lives in helping others.”
The author is available to speak at women’s events or to lead prayer 
journaling workshops. Email
carolaround@yahoo.com
Carol Round
Columnist/Author/Speaker

The Gift of God’s Spirit

Posted: 25 May 2014 09:55 PM PDT

Acts 2

Jesus spent many of His precious final hours here on earth teaching His 
disciples about the coming of His Holy Spirit. And looking at the early 
Church
through the book of Acts, one can understand why. The gift of God’s 
indwelling Spirit changed the Church from timid, self-centered individuals 
to a bold
and loving body of disciples. They left their fearful hiding and became 
effective witnesses to the Living Christ.

As we trust Him, God’s Spirit becomes one with our spirit, planting within 
us His life, His love, His power, His holiness, and the inexpressible 
loveliness
of His presence.

Look at the difference this Gift has made in our world, in the Church, and 
in our lives. Then ask yourself what untapped potential is still there. How
could God’s Spirit glorify the Living Christ through us if we trusted Him 
more simply and constantly? How would He transform us if we focused our 
desires
on hearing and following Him? Where would He lead us? How would He use us?

What beautiful oneness would we enjoy if each of us only wanted what He 
wants?

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List


Love Worth Finding Ministries

Putting the Emphasis on the Eternal

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me 
shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.”
John 6:35

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Sometimes people in large churches get a lot of grief from “the world” 
because of the great expenses of building and maintaining their church. I’ve 
heard,
“Why didn’t they take that money and feed the poor?”

Here’s my answer, “People need Jesus.” The social gospel thinks all men need 
is food. If I had five billion dollars and bought everybody on earth a meal,
in several hours they’d all be hungry again.

There’s nothing wrong with feeding the poor. We ought to do that. But the 
social gospel puts an emphasis on what is temporary. The true gospel puts 
the
emphasis upon what is eternal. Folks need more than soup and soap, they need 
salvation.

ACTION POINT:
Think about ways that you can get involved with the need to feed, clothe, 
and house the homeless. Then find the open door to feed them with the Bread 
of Life, Jesus Christ.

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.

© 2014 Love Worth Finding Ministries | PO Box 38300 - Memphis, TN 38183-0300
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Creation or Evolution

What would the ten most important words in the world be? They are so vital 
to all parts of our life, so crucial to the destiny of our souls. In order 
that
we never miss them, God put them in the front of your Bibles. These are the 
first words Jesus and the Apostles read at their mother’s knees. For all 
Jewish
children were taught to read starting with the Torah, the first five books 
of Moses.

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” 
(NKJV)

Chances for Finding a Life Support Planet

There are about three dozen parameters, such as atmospheric transparency, 
pressure, and temperature gradient, other greenhouse gases, location of 
different
gases and minerals, and mantle and core constituents and structures, 
currently being researched for their sensitivity in supporting life.

Thus, with considerable security, we can draw the conclusion that much fewer 
than a trillionth of a trillionth of a percent of all stars could possibly
possess, without divine intervention, a planet-capable of sustaining 
advanced life. Considering that the observable universe contains less than a 
trillion
galaxies, each averaging a hundred billion stars, we can see that not even 
one planet would be expected, by natural processes alone, to possess the 
necessary
conditions to sustain life.

These factors would seem to indicate that the galaxy, the sun, the earth, 
and the moon, in addition to the universe, have undergone divine design. If 
divine
design is essential to explain the properties of simpler systems such as the 
universe, our galaxy, and the solar system, how much more necessary is God's
involvement to explaining systems as complex as organisms, including human 
beings?

Within those words we find all that there is. God, the Universe, the end and 
now. Everything is encompassed in those words. And from them flow all of 
guidelines
God has given for us:

• to meet Him
• know Him
• and please Him

In other words, no book of the Scriptures matters more because EVERY BOOK OF 
THE BIBLE RESTS ON THIS ONE!

If the God of Genesis 1 is unreliable so is the One in every other part of 
the Scriptures. Either you utterly trust the God you meet in Genesis One or
you have nothing else. He is the same, He does not change.

To continue reading this message on Creation or Evolution please
click here.
http://www.dtbm.org/sermon/creation-or-evolution/
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit
discoverthebook.org
and
Listen to
Dr. John Barnett at OnePlace.com.

Bathsheba

Her name means: "The Seventh Daughter" or "The Daughter of an Oath"

Her character: Her beauty made her victim to a king's desire. Though it is 
difficult to discern her true character, she seems to have found the courage
to endure tragedy, winning the king's confidence and eventually securing the 
kingdom for her son Solomon.
Her sorrow: To have been molested by a supposedly godly man, who then 
murdered her husband. To have suffered the loss of one of her sons.
Her joy: To have given birth to five sons, one of whom became king of Israel 
after David's death.
Key Scriptures:
2 Samuel 11:1-12:25

Her Story

Bathsheba squeezed the sponge, moving it rhythmically across her body as 
though to calm the restless cadence of her thoughts. Normally, she looked 
forward
to the ritual bath marking the end of her monthly period, but tonight the 
water soothed her skin without refreshing her spirit.

She should be glad for the cool breeze. For flowers. For a lush harvest. But 
spring could also yield its crop of sorrows, as she well knew. Spring was
the season for armies and battles. Once the rains had ceased and the harvest 
had been gathered, men marched off to war, leaving their women behind.

Bathsheba shivered as she stood up. Though her husband, Uriah, was a 
seasoned soldier, she still worried about him, wishing she could fall asleep 
in his
arms. But he was camped with the rest of the king's army beneath the open 
skies of Rabbah, an Ammonite fortress some forty miles northeast of 
Jerusalem.

The king rose from his bed, unable to sleep. Pacing across the palace roof, 
he gazed at the city below. Jerusalem seemed calm, a city at peace with 
itself
though at war with its neighbors. Soon his soldiers would gather a great 
harvest of Ammonite captives, laborers for his expanding kingdom. The casual 
observer
might have thought David a man at peace with his growing power. Instead, the 
king could not quiet an increasing sense of discontent.

Then, in the half-light, David noticed the figure of a young woman bathing 
in the walled garden of a house below him. He leaned against the outer edge
of the roof for a closer view. Wet hair curling languidly against skin soft 
as lamb's wool. Breasts like rounded apples. He reached as though to steal
a touch. Unaware of watching eyes, the woman toweled herself dry and stepped 
into the house. He waited and watched, but even the king could not see 
through
walls.

Over the next few days, David made inquiries and discovered that the vision 
had a name: She was Bathsheba, the wife of one of his soldiers, Uriah the 
Hittite.
He sent for her. She came to him and became pregnant with his child.

Fearing discovery, the king ordered Uriah home from battle. But the soldier 
surprised him by refusing to spend the night with his wife: "The ark and 
Israel
and Judah are staying in tents, and my lord's men are camped in the open 
fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As 
surely
as you live, I will not do such a thing!"

So David convinced Uriah to spend another day in Jerusalem, managing to get 
him drunk. Surely the wine would overcome his scruples. But it didn't. So 
David
played his last card, entrusting Bathsheba's husband with a letter to Joab, 
commander of the army. It read: "Put Uriah in the front line where the 
fighting
is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die."

So Uriah died by treachery, and David claimed Bathsheba as his wife, her 
child as his own.

One day, the prophet Nathan approached David, saying: "There were two men in 
a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a large number
of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb 
he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It
shared his food, drank from his cup, and even slept in his arms. It was like 
a daughter to him.

"Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking 
one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had
come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and 
prepared it for the one who had come to him."

David was incensed: "As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this 
deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did 
such
a thing and had no pity."

Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God 
of Israel, says: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from
the hand of Saul. I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives 
into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this
had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise 
the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down 
Uriah
the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. Now, therefore, 
the sword will never depart from your house.' "

David's lust for Bathsheba marked the beginning of his long decline. Though 
God forgave him, he still suffered the consequences of his wrongdoing. His
sin was a whirlpool that dragged others into its swirling path. And despite 
David's prayer and pleading, God allowed the son David had conceived with 
Bathsheba
to die from an illness.

But why did Bathsheba have to suffer along with the man who molested her and 
murdered her husband? Though the story gives us little insight into her true
character, it is hardly likely that Bathsheba was in a position to refuse 
the king. In Nathan's parable, in fact, she is depicted as an innocent lamb.
Why, then, have so many people painted her as a seductress? Perhaps 
Bathsheba's innocence is too painful to face. That a good person can suffer 
such tragedies,
especially at the hands of a godly person, appalls us. Worse yet, God 
punishes both David and Bathsheba by taking their son. If we can believe 
that Bathsheba
had an affair with David, we could accept her suffering more easily; her 
guilt would make David's sin seem less grave and God's punishment less 
cruel.

Though Bathsheba may not have understood the reasons for her suffering, God 
gave her favor with King David, making her both a powerful queen and the 
mother
of David's successor, Solomon, who became famous for his great wisdom.

Her Promise

The story of David and Bathsheba outlines in graphic detail the horror of 
sin and where it leads. David's first step toward sin leads to adultery, 
lying,
deceit, murder, and, finally, the death of a son. The link between sin and 
restoration comes when David admits his sin and Nathan says the Lord has 
taken
it away (
2 Samuel 12:13).
How much guilt is Bathsheba's isn't clear; however, when God tells them 
through the prophet Nathan that he loves their son Solomon and wants him to 
be
called Jedidiah, the restoration is Bathsheba's as well as David's. If God 
could forgive this terrible sin of David, don't you think he could forgive 
your
sin, whatever it may be?

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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The Gift of Helps

Another gift Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 12:28 is the gift of helps. The 
New International Version says the gift of helping others.

Here is what the Matthew Henry Commentary says:

helps, or such as had compassion on the sick and weak, and ministered to 
them;

This gift is different from the gift of governments or administrations we 
have already studied. With the gift of governments the person is using 
resources of the church he is: acting in part of and not necessarily out of 
his own resources. Let’s see what Jesus said

Matthew 25:31-46 Darby
31 But when the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, 
then shall he sit down upon his throne of glory, 32 and all the nations 
shall be gathered before him; and he shall separate them from one another, 
as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and he will set the 
sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his left. 34 Then shall the King 
say to those on his right hand, Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the 
kingdom prepared for you from the world’s foundation: 35 for I hungered, and 
ye gave me to eat; I thirsted, and ye gave me to drink; I was a stranger, 
and ye took me in; 36 naked, and ye clothed me; I was ill, and ye visited 
me; I was in prison, and ye came to me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer 
him saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungering, and nourished thee; or 
thirsting, and gave thee to drink? 38 and when saw we thee a stranger, and 
took thee in; or naked, and clothed thee? 39 and when saw we thee ill, or in 
prison, and came to thee? 40 And the King answering shall say to them, 
Verily, I say to you, Inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of 
these my brethren, ye have done it to me. 41 Then shall he say also to those 
on the left, Go from me, cursed, into eternal fire, prepared for the devil 
and his angels: 42 for I hungered, and ye gave me not to eat; I thirsted, 
and ye gave me not to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; 
naked, and ye did not clothe me; ill, and in prison, and ye did not visit 
me. 44 Then shall they also answer saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungering, 
or thirsting, or a stranger, or naked, or ill, or in prison, and have not 
ministered to thee? 45 Then shall he answer them saying, Verily I say to 
you, Inasmuch as ye have not done it to one of these least, neither have ye 
done it to me. 46 And these shall go away into eternal punishment, and the 
righteous into life eternal.

We see in these verses that Jesus expects all those who belong to him to 
have the gift of helps. Helping others won’t get you into heaven but if you 
belong to Jesus Christ you are expected to help others. This does not come 
easy to most people. That is why it is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy 
Spirit puts it in your heart to help others when you don’t think you have 
the time or the resources. If we obey the Spirit’s leading in these things 
the Lord will provide the time and resources for everything He tells you to 
do. This includes the desire and everything else needed to do them by the 
power of the Holy Spirit.

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List

A Letter to America
by John UpChurch, Senior Editor, BibleStudyTools.com

Even though you can’t stand my exclusive cries for true freedom; even though 
you’d rather I show more toleration with my mouth shut; even though you hear
my sermons as an assault upon the things you hold sacred; even though you’d 
haul me to court to make me fall in line; even though your movies typecast
me as the blundering hypocritical monster; even though you’d dig in your 
nails to stop other people from hearing my prayers in the name of a man who 
died
2,000 years ago; even with all of that, I can’t stop loving you.

Even though you’ve been charmed into believing that the sexual revolution 
was somehow liberating; even though you’ve given yourself at the altar of 
instant
gratification; even though your body shows the scars of lovers torn from 
your arms; even though you feel the sting and hot anger over being cast 
aside
and sing those radio songs with grit; even though you cry when no one can 
see how empty you feel in a roomful of friends; even though you’ve gone numb
from rivers of meaningless promises; even with all that, I can’t stop loving 
you.

Even though you parade through the streets with banners rejecting the 
ancient chains of a book you detest; even though you throw yourself into the 
endless
revels of the night; even though you churn out words meant to destroy; even 
though you suck, inhale, inject, consume fire into your veins and visions in
your head; even though you scream and rage against the light; even though 
you hate the very One who longs to make you see; even though you refuse 
peace
inside; even though you discard Truth in your search for meaning; even with 
all that, I can’t stop loving you.

Even though you defame the boundaries of what God joined together; even 
though you explore every dark corner of human connections; even though you 
raise
equality as your golden calf; even though you brand those who disagree with 
spiteful epithets; even though you push the faithful from your midst; even
from out there, I can’t stop loving you.

Even though you call the life growing inside nothing more than tissue; even 
though you reject the divine spark created in your womb; even though you 
tear
out limbs and snip spinal cords; even though you spit on those who fight to 
save your child; even though you suffer the labor pains of regret for the 
rest
of your life; even then, I can’t stop loving you.

Even though you hate me, I can’t stop loving your sin-soiled skin. I can’t 
stop loving your blinded eyes. I can’t stop loving your idol-worshiping 
hands.

He died for you, and that makes you lovely.

For Further Reading:

Hosea

Romans 1-2

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

Today on Crosswalk.com
How to locate your chapter in the tale Christ is telling
Your Place in the Story
How to locate your chapter in the tale Christ is telling
Video review of latest installment featuring past and future.
Those Uncanny X-Men
Video review of latest installment featuring past and future.
How do you rate on these 6 key elements upon meeting people?
First Impressions Matter
How do you rate on these 6 key elements upon meeting people?

You may also like...

The Importance of Conscience - Greg Laurie Daily Devotion - May 26, 2014
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our 
hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure 
water
(Heb. 10:22). We want our consciences to be sensitive and open to the work 
of the Holy Spirit.

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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When You're Too Stressed To Pray: God's TLC
Bonnie Gray

Sometimes you run out of words.

You don’t know what to say and God feels far away.

Even though you know you ought to, praying feels like another check box that 
leaves you feeling guilty.

Life is complicated.

In an age of information a Google search away, with friends on Facebook full 
of photos and updates, we can feel small.

We look at our everyday lives, overwhelmed with dilemmas, conflicting 
desires and needs, and we feel discouraged.

Ironically, when we’re most stressed, we often deprive ourselves of what we 
need most: God’s goodness.

Somehow, we’ve learned we deserve to rest only after we solve our problems.

It’s the opposite.

We need God’s TLC (his tender, loving care). We need to give ourselves 
permission to receive and enjoy it.

Unconditionally.

God's TLC

TLC is what God gave to Elijah to resuscitate his soul after Elijah’s spirit 
had been broken.

Elijah had done everything he knew to do—even defeating the prophets of 
Baal—and yet, his problems did not go away.

Stress broke Elijah’s spirit.

"It is enough; now, Lord, take my life,
for I am not better than my fathers"
1Kings 19:4.

In that place of despair, Elijah woke up to find fresh bread baking on hot 
stones and water—left just for him.

Warm bread. Water poured into a jar. Beautiful care, expressed through 
hand-made touches.

Not only that. God sent an angel -- to touch him.

The Journey Is Too Great

Elijah was so exhausted, God sent the angel a second time, to touch him. 
Again.

When we take time out to receive TLC, we give God the chance to touch our 
heart.

To eat warm bread. To drink. To sip without hurrying. To sit beneath a tree 
and allow ourself to feel tired.

When we give our body the break it longs for, we hear God’s whispers to us.

The angel said to Elijah that day --

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

God was softly saying, I understand.

Elijah needed to hear these words in order for his soul to start mending.

Stop and Find Rest

These are the words Jesus longs to whisper to us as well today. His 
complete understanding.

The journey is too great for you.

God invites us to stop and find rest that can truly sustain us for the 
journey.

From there, Elijah went on to crawl into a cave. There, far from life as he 
knew it, Elijah heard God whispering to Him through the kiss of a gentle 
breeze.

God knew Elijah needed physical rejuvenation first -- in order to hear the 
soft voice of God.

God's TLC opens up the path to our souls, so we can feel His nearness again.

It’s time to give ourselves permission to receive the TLC we need.

You’re loved.

You’re worth it.

Just rest.

“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart…
but the Lord was not in the wind.
…After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”
1 Kings 19:11-12

A
Prayer

Dear Jesus,

The journey is too great.
I’m stressed.
I need your touch.
Help me to receive your TLC.
Help me be brave enough to rest.
Amen.

~~~~~

Have you felt physically overwhelmed by the demands of a stressful season of 
change?

What feels most restful for you right now?

Give yourself permission to say yes by withdrawing and saying no to others.

Receive the rest God longs to give you.
~~~~~

findingspiritualwhitespace_book
Order a copy of Bonnie Gray's memoir-driven guidebook
Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Shananawa People
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Shananawa People
May 25, 2014 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Isaiah 58:10 "If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy 
the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and 
your
night will become like the noonday."

Today there is a powerful, mission-minded Church in Brazil. They would like 
to reach out to the unreached tribes in their country, but they face 
obstacles
like government agencies and economic interests. How do they get the chance 
to satisfy the needs of the oppressed tribes?

Pray for God to open the doors for Brazilian believers to act as advocates 
for the unreached tribes that are being oppressed by outside forces. Pray 
that
these believers will show the world the Kingdom of God in action.

Today's People Group

“Looking for a needle in a haystack” is an expression we have all used at 
one time or another when referring to valiant efforts to find an elusive 
object.
Jesus compared the work of God to a woman looking for a lost silver coin, 
sweeping the house and searching carefully, not giving up until she finds it
(Luke 15:8,9).

The Shananawa people of Brazil are a distinctive, small, precious people 
that live in the west-central part of the country. They total 400 people. As 
of
this writing only about two per cent of them know Jesus. They primarily 
practice ethnic religion; they believe that if one were to abandon these 
practices,
he would no longer be a true Shananawa.

Portuguese is the language they have adopted, and fortunately, there are 
many Scriptures and Scripture related materials available in this language. 
These
include everything from the JESUS Film to Bible translations, radio 
broadcasts, and other printed materials. However, there have been no church 
planting
efforts made among the Shananawa for over two years.

Pray that God’s people will be freshly burdened to go to the Shananawa 
people. Pray for new understanding to come to the Shananawa so that will 
comprehend
that they will not lose their national identity by coming to Jesus.

Learn more at
Joshua Project.
read more
Like Shananawa People on Facebook
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are a Perspectives alumni, subscribe to Mission Frontiers or Global Prayer 
Digest,
or gave us your email at an event.
Our mailing address is:
U.S. Center for World Mission
1605 East Elizabeth Street
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Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
Declare Great Things

Luke 24:33, 35

When the two disciples had reached Emmaus and were refreshing themselves at 
the evening meal, the mysterious stranger who had so enchanted them on the
road took bread and broke it, made Himself known to them, and then vanished 
out of their sight. They had constrained Him to stay with them because the
day was far spent; but now, although it was much later, their love was a 
lamp to their feet, indeed wings also. They forgot the darkness, their 
weariness
was all gone, and immediately they headed back the seven miles to tell the 
wonderful news of a risen Lord who had appeared to them on the road. They 
reached
the
Christians
in Jerusalem and were received by a burst of joyful news before they could 
tell their own tale.

These early Christians were all on fire to speak of Christ's resurrection 
and to proclaim what they knew of the Lord; they happily shared their 
experiences.
This evening let their example impress us deeply.

We also must bear our witness concerning Jesus. John's account of the 
sepulcher needed to be supplemented by Peter; and Mary could speak of 
something further
still; the combined accounts provide us with a complete testimony from which 
nothing necessary is missing. Each of us has peculiar gifts and personal 
experiences;
but the one object God has in view is the maturing of the whole Body of 
Christ. We must, therefore, bring our spiritual possessions and lay them at 
the
apostles' feet, that we may share all of what God has given to us.

Withhold no part of the precious truth, but speak what you know and declare 
what you have seen. Do not allow the toil or darkness or possible unbelief
of your friends to dissuade you. Let us rise and march to the place of duty, 
and there declare what great things God has shown to our soul.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Isaiah 26

verse 2 1 John 4
Featured Sermon from LightSource.com
Dr. David Jeremiah
Turning Point
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. 
Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News 
Publishers,
Wheaton, IL 60187,
www.crossway.org.

The Gift of Helps
Another gift Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 12:28 is the gift of helps. The 
New International Version says the gift of helping others.

Here is what the Matthew Henry Commentary says:

helps, or such as had compassion on the sick and weak, and ministered to 
them;

This gift is different from the gift of governments or administrations we 
have already studied. With the gift of governments the person is using 
resources of the church he is: acting in part of and not necessarily out of 
his own resources. Let’s see what Jesus said

Matthew 25:31-46 Darby
31 But when the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, 
then shall he sit down upon his throne of glory, 32 and all the nations 
shall be gathered before him; and he shall separate them from one another, 
as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and he will set the 
sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his left. 34 Then shall the King 
say to those on his right hand, Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the 
kingdom prepared for you from the world’s foundation: 35 for I hungered, and 
ye gave me to eat; I thirsted, and ye gave me to drink; I was a stranger, 
and ye took me in; 36 naked, and ye clothed me; I was ill, and ye visited 
me; I was in prison, and ye came to me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer 
him saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungering, and nourished thee; or 
thirsting, and gave thee to drink? 38 and when saw we thee a stranger, and 
took thee in; or naked, and clothed thee? 39 and when saw we thee ill, or in 
prison, and came to thee? 40 And the King answering shall say to them, 
Verily, I say to you, Inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of 
these my brethren, ye have done it to me. 41 Then shall he say also to those 
on the left, Go from me, cursed, into eternal fire, prepared for the devil 
and his angels: 42 for I hungered, and ye gave me not to eat; I thirsted, 
and ye gave me not to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; 
naked, and ye did not clothe me; ill, and in prison, and ye did not visit 
me. 44 Then shall they also answer saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungering, 
or thirsting, or a stranger, or naked, or ill, or in prison, and have not 
ministered to thee? 45 Then shall he answer them saying, Verily I say to 
you, Inasmuch as ye have not done it to one of these least, neither have ye 
done it to me. 46 And these shall go away into eternal punishment, and the 
righteous into life eternal.

We see in these verses that Jesus expects all those who belong to him to 
have the gift of helps. Helping others won’t get you into heaven but if you 
belong to Jesus Christ you are expected to help others. This does not come 
easy to most people. That is why it is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy 
Spirit puts it in your heart to help others when you don’t think you have 
the time or the resources. If we obey the Spirit’s leading in these things 
the Lord will provide the time and resources for everything He tells you to 
do. This includes the desire and everything else needed to do them by the 
power of the Holy Spirit.

by Dean W. Masters
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Welcome to the Illustrator
Today's Bible Verse:

"You will always have the poor among you" (Matthew 26: 11)

By Answers2Prayer
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Chewing Gum for God

"Hey, I'm going home to chew my gum," he yelled from the bus as my wife and 
I entered the resale store where we were vendors. I was clueless, although
it didn't surprise me that she would connect with someone by using gum. Only 
later did the story unfold.

While working at the store, my wife would occasionally see this physically 
and mentally incapacitated young man from the Adult Day Care Center parading
around in his wheelchair and chewing gum. "Where is my gum," she would ask, 
and he would smile.

One day he came into the store with a nurse. "Where's my gum," my wife asked 
again. Just a smile. "What's your favorite kind?" She queried. "Spearmint,"
he said excitedly. "Like this," my wife said offering him a piece from her 
purse. "Would you like it?" "Yeah!" He exclaimed with sparkling eyes.

As he rode his wheelchair down the sidewalk the following day, my wife 
presented him an entire pack. With a huge smile and a "Wow," he wheeled off 
and
told everyone about his gift. It finally dawned on me why we spend so much 
time on the candy aisle while in the grocery store. The gum and candy are a
significant part of my wife's ministry.

When the disciples became angry because a woman poured an expensive bottle 
of perfume on Jesus' head, he reminded them, "You will always have the poor
among you" (Matthew 26: 11 NLT). And the lonely, the elderly, the young, and 
the mentally challenged.

So I suppose the next time we visit the candy aisle, I'll keep my mouth shut 
about how unhealthy it is and how much it costs. After all, if Jesus said
a cup of cold water would be recognized when given in his name, I suppose a 
piece of chewing gum will do too.

Prayer: Father, open our eyes to see how we can use even the smallest of 
items to give others a cup of cold water.

Martin Wiles
Hodges, South Carolina, USA

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give."
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You


Insight for Living
Devotional Library
Insight for Today

Who Cares?
by Charles R. Swindoll

Hebrews 13:1-4

Who really cared? His was a routine admission to busy Bellevue Hospital. A 
charity case, one among hundreds. A bum from the Bowery with a slashed 
throat.
The Bowery . . . last stop before the morgue. Synonym of filth, loneliness, 
cheap booze, drugs, and disease.

The details of what had happened in the predawn of that chilly winter's 
morning were fuzzy. The nurse probably shrugged it off. She had seen 
thousands
and she was sure to see thousands more. Would it have made any difference if 
she and those who treated him had known who he was? Probably so.

His recent past was the antithesis of his earlier years. The Bowery became 
the dead-end street of an incredible life. On that icy January morning 
before
the sun had crept over New York's skyline, in a 25-cent-a-night flophouse, a 
shell of a man who looked twice his age staggered to the wash basin and 
fell.
The basin toppled and shattered.

He was found lying in a heap, naked and bleeding from a deep gash in his 
throat. His forehead was badly bruised and he was semiconscious. A doctor 
was
called, no one special---remember, this was the Bowery. He used black sewing 
thread that somebody had found to suture the wound. That would do. All the
while the bum begged for a drink. A buddy shared the bottom of a rum bottle 
to calm his nerves.

He was dumped in a paddy wagon and dropped off at Bellevue Hospital, where 
he would languish, unable to eat for three days . . . and die. Still 
unknown.

A friend seeking him was directed to the local morgue. There, among dozens 
of other colorless, nameless corpses with tags on their toes, he was 
identified.
When they scraped together his belongings, they found a ragged, dirty coat 
with 38 cents in one pocket and a scrap of paper in the other. All his 
earthly
goods. Enough coins for another night in the Bowery and five words, "Dear 
friends and gentle hearts." Almost like the words of a song, someone 
thought.
But who cared?

Why in the world would a forgotten drunk carry around a line of lyrics? 
Maybe he still believed he had it in him. Maybe that derelict with the body 
of
a bum still had the heart of a genius. For once upon a time, long before his 
tragic death at age 38, he had written songs that literally made the whole
world sing, such as:

"Camptown Races"
"Oh! Susanna!"
"Beautiful Dreamer"
"Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair"
"Old Folks at Home"
"My Old Kentucky Home"

And 200 more that have become deeply rooted in our rich American heritage. 
Thanks to Stephen Foster, whom nobody knew. And for whom nobody cared.

Deep within many a forgotten life is a scrap of hope, a lonely melody trying 
hard to return. Some are in prison. Some in hospitals. Some in nursing 
homes.
And some silently slip into church on Sunday morning, terribly confused and 
afraid. Until someone steps in. And stoops down. And, in love, rebuilds a 
life,
restores a soul, rekindles a flame that sin snuffed out, and renews a song 
that once was there.

Do you care? Enough "to show hospitality to strangers," as Hebrews 13:2 puts 
it? It also says that in doing so, we occasionally "entertain angels without
knowing it."

Angels that don't look anything like angels. Some might look like bums from 
the Bowery, but they may have a song dying in their hearts because nobody 
knows
and nobody cares.

When you next encounter someone who is lost or hungry or hurting---how can 
you be ready to help? Be specific as well as realistic.

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.

A Word With You
Daily Devotional
The Problem with Bible Clubs - #7137

A Bible is pretty versatile. I mean, it can be a file. Did you ever notice 
how much people stick in their Bible? I look at mine sometimes, and I find a
number of things in there I don't want to lose. Unfortunately it does hurt 
the binding a little bit. Sometimes the Bible can be a record book. You see
these Bibles where people put important dates, their family tree, weddings, 
deaths, and the autographs of people whose ministry they want to remember.

A Bible can be an antique. You can go into an antique store and drop quite a 
few bucks getting one of those old Bibles. And a Bible is a great gift. I've
gotten several as a gift. A Bible can be your identification. I used to 
carry mine to school. My kids carried theirs to school; it sort of 
identifies you
as a follower of Christ. At some times in my life the Bible's been a 
textbook. Oh yeah, there are a lot of ways you can use your Bible. There's 
one I hope
you never use.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The 
Problem with Bible Clubs."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Timothy 4:2. "Preach 
the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and 
encourage--with
great patience and careful instruction." This is a call, I think, to Bible 
balance. First of all, Paul is saying, "Use God's Word to help people know 
what's
right; that's correct. To warn them about what they're doing wrong; that's 
rebuke. And to encourage them in what they're doing right. Use this book 
boldly
to change people's lives. That's certainly part of it.

Here's the other part: Do it gently, do it patiently, do it carefully. Don't 
use the Bible as a club! You can use it for a lot of things, but not as a
club to win an argument, or beat a person down, or shame them, or corner 
them. I know it's good to have some Bible clubs where kids meet to study the 
Bible
around the school. I did that in high school. But don't use the Bible as a 
club. Too many people use the words of the Bible but lose the spirit of the
Bible while they're doing it.

Ephesians 4:15 is the perfect balance, "Speaking the truth in love." The 
problem is often that the truth bearers leave out the love, and the lovers 
leave
out the truth. It's important to be sure that you measure everything you 
believe and behave by God's Word. There is no room for, "Well, in my 
opinion..."
Or, "I don't feel like it..." Or, "It doesn't seem right to me." "I just 
read this great Christian book and it says..." No, show me what the Bible 
says.
God has spoken - final word.

It's important to remind each other of what the Bible says about how we're 
living. But it's important to be gentle, non-condemning and patient like God
has been with you. We want to make sure that when we're communicating the 
truth, we're also communicating, "I care about you. That's why I'm doing 
this.
That's why I'm giving you what the Bible says, to correct, or rebuke or 
encourage. I want God's best in your life. You're made for more. You're 
better
than this." Not, "I'm sitting in judgment, and here are my verses."

Hebrews 4:12 says, "The Bible penetrates between soul and spirit." It's a 
sword that does that; it judges. We don't judge, but God's Word judges. So 
let
God's Word do the judging. Share it and then let it do its penetrating work.

Use God's Word to love people with the truth. Don't use it as a club.
Creative Commons License
© Ronald P. Hutchcraft • Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.
"A Word With You" by Ronald P. Hutchcraft is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United 
States License.
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PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Today's Devotional

Alzheimer's

John 13:34 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as
I have loved you, that you also love one another. (NKJV)

Many of us know what a scourge Alzheimer's disease is. While cancer in its
various forms seems to dominate the attention of our aging congregation
right
now, we have also had our share of Alzheimer's and dementia victims. The
despair, heartache, and frustration these bring to loved ones has to be
experienced
first-hand to be believed. I have read many inspiring prayers for the loved
ones of Alzheimer's victims, but this one, written for our Drummond Hill
Presbyterian
Church congregation in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, by our pastor, Rev.
Wally Hong, is especially poignant and says it all, in my opinion. Let it
speak
for itself.

Dear God, my loved one remembers me less.
There, sitting alone in a world so far away;
when our eyes meet, there is no recognition … no hello.
The more I bring past joys to awaken the life that could be,
the more emptiness I find in those beautiful eyes.
My heart aches! My soul is full of anguish!
Where do I get strength and peace?
Be with me, O God! Give me strength to remember
the love of yesterday
when our hearts and souls danced together,
when we glimpsed eternity and laughed.
Give me the sight to see life that is from You,
filled with possibilities of love …
For I refuse to stop loving even in my deepest sadness. Amen.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a – Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy;
love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does
not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in
iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things,
hopes
all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (NKJV)

One of our church ladies died several years ago after a lengthy spell of
Alzheimer's. At her funeral, two of her long-suffering daughters stood
beside
her open casket, beaming at me, and asserting, "Now she knows who she is
again!" That is the language of rejoicing and of love.

Prayer: Merciful Father, we thank You that Jesus assumed our burdens and
suffered for our sins. But some are assuming the burdens and suffering of
their
loved ones who are slowly slipping into the oblivion of Alzheimer's. Uphold
those who suffer, Father, both the afflicted and their loved ones; enable
them
to endure. May those of us who are spared such agony of spirit extend our
love, sympathy, understanding, and active help to those who undergo the
experience.
In Jesus' most precious name, we pray. Amen.

Robert Norminton <
normin@vaxxine.com>
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

PresbyCan Daily
Thought for Today: Don't just keep the faith. Spread it around.

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


Today's Reading:
1 Chronicles 7
;
John 6:22-44

Today's Thoughts: Doing the Works of God

Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of
God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you
believe
in Him whom He sent."
John 6:28-29

The other day I had the pleasure of speaking with a new Christian. It was a
pleasure because of her enthusiasm and zeal for the Lord. Her eyes were
bright
and her smile was wide as she talked about Jesus. I found myself smiling
back at her as she began sharing her testimony. She is reading, studying and
working
hard at knowing the Lord more deeply. Why? Because she loves Him and wants
to serve Him with her life. But as she sincerely poured out her heart, I
realized
how hard she was working at trying to do all the right things. I thought
about how easy it is for us to get focused on the work: trying to please
God,
trying to do deeds for Him and trying to know Him more.

I love what Jesus says in that the work of God is that we believe in Him.
Doing God's work boils down to believing in His Son. It is not about our
efforts
or good deeds. We do not impress God with our works. God wants our hearts
set on Jesus. He wants our lives surrendered to His will. He tells us to
walk
by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) and that without faith it is
impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). But faith means that we give up
control,
we let go and we allow His Holy Spirit to lead us. Everything from that
point on becomes about our belief in Him, not about our works for Him.

I often tell people, new
Christians
and older ones, to just relax. When I sense that their walk with the Lord is
becoming one of frustration and confusion, I encourage them to stop working
so hard at it. We need to learn how to let God be God. We need to put the
responsibility of our lives back on Him. We are trained by the world to
think
and act for ourselves, but the Lord says to cast our cares upon Him. What is
the key for us today? We must believe in Jesus. We must believe so
confidently
in His Word that we make no decisions without it. Ask yourself: Am I trying
to work the works of God? If you are frustrated or disillusioned, you might
be trying too hard instead of resting in Jesus. Ask the Lord to help you let
go and to help you believe in faith that Jesus will do all He wants to do
in your life. Let Him "work the works of God" in your life today as you
believe in Him.

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.

Keeper Lessons
by Meghan Kleppinger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further Reading

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

The Gift of Governments

Another gift of the Holy Spirit which Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 12 is
the gift of governments. It is called the gift of administrations in the New
International Version and just administrations in the New American Standard.
But what is this spiritual gift?

If you look at the Greek, you get the definition of the word: “governments”.
In
1 Corinthians 12:28 is the only time it is used in the whole New Testament.

In Matthew Henry’s Commentary we find the following:

governments, or such as had the disposal of the charitable contributions of
the church, and dealt them out to the poor;

Reading this brought to mind the following Scripture:

Acts 6:1-8 KJV
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there
arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows
were neglected in the daily ministration. 2 Then the twelve called the
multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we
should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3 Wherefore, brethren, look
ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and
wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4 But we will give ourselves
continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 5 And the saying
pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and
of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and
Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6 Whom they set before the
apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. 7 And the
word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in
Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the
faith.
8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among
the people.

The word “ministration” here has a number of meanings. Two of them have to
do with providing money and providing food for the poor. In this Scripture
we see that it means providing food for the widows. Seven were chosen to do
this including Stephen. Since we are all commanded to go make disciples,
These seven must have also ministered to those they fed. This would lead to
the thousands who became Christians. We can see in verse 8 that Stephen had
other gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as the gift of administrations. He
did not just use the one gift we are talking about here but used all the
gifts that were given to him. You also may have more than one gift of the
Holy Spirit and God expects you to use all of them.

Other definitions for the word “ministration” are ministry, elder, deacon,
etc. These have to do with the governing of the local church. That must be
where the King James and other older versions of the Bible get the word
“governments”. The people who fill these positions as well need to be filled
with the Holy Spirit and be truly called to serve. We find Paul writing what
the qualifications are to be for these church leaders:

1 Timothy 3:1-12 NIV
1 Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an
overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer must be above
reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled,
respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not
violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage
his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.
5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take
care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become
conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have
a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and
into the devil’s trap.
8 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging
in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the
deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be
tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as
deacons.
11 In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not
malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children
and his household well.

To fit all these qualifications a person must be filled with the Holy
Spirit. There is hardly any way a natural man can live the way Paul says a
leader of the church should live.

If you have the spiritual gift of governments or administrations, use them
but don’t forget any other gifts you might have.

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

Being For People and the World Rather than Against
Michael Craven

Last week I attempted to outline the daily life and duty of every Christian
rooted in the two “great commandments” of Jesus and the kingdom principle of
restoration. I wrote:

We enter the world each day as ambassadors of Christ and his
kingdom—sensitized to the effects of sin—loving others by seeking their
welfare through the
proper ordering of things and relationships. We look for and respond to
opportunities to bring relief to those who are suffering. We seek the good
of others
and when possible, we create systems and institutions that serve the common
good and promote human flourishing. We work for remedy in the daily
situations
and when necessary, the reformation or abolition of whole systems that
oppress. We disciple people in the Truth, showing them the way that leads to
a life
that thrives through having a right relationship to God, to self, to others,
and the rest of creation.

However, to do this will require many of us to reexamine our attitudes and
conduct toward the world and those outside the church. Too often, our
attitude
toward the surrounding culture and those who make it up is judgmental and
condemning. We thoughtlessly criticize anything that isn’t distinctly
Christian.
When met with opposing ideas, we draw cultural battle lines and those on the
other side are considered the enemy. We vilify and ridicule the
representatives
of “godless culture” and rather than engage with and love the lost, we take
offense and withdraw into our Christian enclaves. Practically speaking, many
Christians live as if they really don’t like the world or anyone in it!

We are often doing precisely the opposite of what Jesus did. He did not come
to condemn the world but to save the lost (see John 3:17). Sinners didn’t
offend Jesus! These were the very people to whom he was drawn and engaged
with—the dirty, the broken, the vulgar, and the immoral. Zacchaeus the tax
collector
was the Bernie Madoff of his day, a traitor cheating his own people (Luke
19). The Samaritan woman at the well was the town “slut” (John 4) and the
woman
the Pharisees were preparing to kill was actually caught in the act of
adultery (John 8). Jesus didn’t condemn these, he engaged them, ate and
drank with
them, defended them against their accusers—he loved them and because he
first loved them, they in turn repented and followed him. Jesus wasn’t
afraid of
getting “dirty” by consorting with sinners.

In contrast, Jesus was offended by the self-righteous: the religious zealots
who sought to keep themselves “unspotted from the world” by having nothing
to do with sinners. The Pharisees criticized and condemned anything and
everyone who didn’t conform to their standards. If we don’t see that we,
too, are
sinners—no better than others—then we are Pharisees judging others while
deceived about our own condition.

Not only are we frequently judgmental, our thinking has become so clouded by
political rancor and the cultural struggle that we refuse to acknowledge any
contribution to what is true, good, and beautiful by non-Christians.

I recall publishing an article several years ago in which I praised Katie
Couric, who, when asked by reporters if she would travel to Iraq, said she
would
not, “because a single mother of two had no business taking such risks in a
chaotic war zone.” I simply shared in the reporter’s praise of Ms. Couric
who
“put the well-being of her two daughters above her career.” I received
reactions from many Christians who expressed anger at me for praising a
“left-wing
liberal feminist” like Katie Couric. This attitude is contemptuous and
self-righteously conveys the notion that only distinctly Christian conduct
is worthy
of praise. This is sheer nonsense lacking in grace; for Christians to
diminish the good done by non-Christians makes us look narrow-minded, petty
and hateful.
This certainly isn’t consistent with the attributes of love that are listed
in 1 Corinthians 13.

The consequence of this posture is devastating to the church and its
mission. As a result, we increasingly find our message and ourselves
unwelcome. In
short, many Christians are not only rejecting Christ’s command to obey God
by loving others; because of these attitudes and conduct, we are
increasingly
unlikeable! Sadly, this is becoming the predominant view of Christians by
those outside the church.

In 2006, researchers at the Barna Group surveyed 16 to 29 year-olds and
discovered that 38 percent claim to have a “bad impression” of Christianity
and
only 16 percent reported having a “good impression.” A full 49 percent
reported having a “bad impression” of “Evangelical Christians” with only
three percent
claiming to have a “positive impression” (Kinnamon & Lyons, UnChristian:
What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity [BakerBooks: Grand
Rapids,
MI, 2007] 24). Only ten years earlier, a similar study revealed that 85
percent of those outside the
faith
held a “favorable” impression of Christianity. For the Christian who spends
any effort trying to engage the lost, you are no doubt well acquainted with
this sentiment.

Fortunately, there is a new movement of Christians rising to counter this
condition (you may be among them); one hopes they will change this
perception.
Gabe Lyons refers to these as “restorers” in his recent book, The Next
Christians: How a New Generation is Restoring the Faith. This growing group
of believers
has taken their impetus from their rediscovery of the gospel of the kingdom.
Rather than withdrawing from the world waiting for evacuation, they take
seriously
Jesus’ command to occupy until he returns. They understand the extraordinary
implications of God’s redemptive kingdom come into the world and so they
work
to infuse the world with God’s love, beauty, grace, and justice. They live,
act, and speak as if they are for people and the world because Christ is.
Where
others take offense and withdraw, they are provoked to engage and remedy.
Where others are prone to judge and condemn, they offer grace and mercy.
Where
others only see the profane, they choose to find the beauty that expresses
the creative image of God. As Christians, we should look for common ground
rather
than focus on differences; we should build bridges that bring us together
rather than walls that keep us apart!

Those compelled by their love for Christ and his world are shattering
negative stereotypes and seeing the restoration of people and places. They
are reaching
a new generation through serious dialogue without moralism and judgment and
drawing them into authentic communities of faith in Christ. People are in
need
of hope, not condemnation. As those who follow Christ, we know where and
from whom this hope—our only hope—can be found. We are living in a
potentially
pivotal moment in history. If we are faithful to Christ and that which
constitutes true Christianity (see Matthew 25:41-46), we can, once again,
become
the people of God animated by love and known for who and what we are for
rather than who and what we are against.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the
Holy Bible, English Standard Version.

© 2011 by S. Michael Craven Permission granted for non-commercial use.
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Today's Author: Pastor Bill

Christian Cyber Ministries participants David & Carol Beal from Cambridge, 
Ohio contributed financially in support of today's cdd. Thank you - PTL! Pb

Scripture: Acts 8:4
"Wherever they were scattered, they told people the Good News" NCV

It's dandelion season. What possible good could it bring? In today's 
devotion by
Janice Kempe we receive a Christian perspective.

Dandelions are everywhere --- seems the more I try to remove them from the 
lawn the more they pop up and scatter all over! But Dandelions have another
side --- a practical Christian application that stands beyond my need to 
have a weed-less green lawn.

No matter how carefully I try to pull one out, I never get the whole thing. 
The root stays deep in the ground, threatening to grow and blossom again. 
But
despite their bad reputation, dandelions are pretty little flowers with 
their yellow strands all tucked neatly into the center. And truly when 
clutched
in a bunch in a child's hand, presented as a gift to mom, they are the most 
beautiful of flowers. And this stalwart of growth in the lawn when picked 
never
receives a harsh word for the picking. Perhaps they grow only to be used and 
enjoyed by children.

Dandelions are ignored or attacked, never nurtured or cared for, and yet 
they always bloom profusely and scatter everywhere. They demand no pampering 
or
special attention to yield their bright blossoms; they pop up in fields, in 
lawns, and between cracks in the sidewalk --- even in the best 
neighborhoods.

Can you imagine trying to grow them in a garden? They'd sneak through the 
boundaries and pop their sunny yellow faces up in the surrounding lawn. They
would never stay put.

Christians should be more like dandelions. Our sunny yellow faces should be 
a reminder that simple faith has deep roots that are impossible to dislodge.
Our vast number would show the world that even though we are not fancy or 
pampered, we are evident everywhere --- even in the best neighborhoods.

I should be as easily accessible and scatter-able as a dandelion --- To jump 
across boundaries that keep me where people expect to find me --- To show
my sunny yellow face in all the spots that need brightening --- the crack in 
the sidewalk, on the lawn or throughout the neighborhood.

Prayer: Father may the wind of YOUR Holy Spirit scatter me everywhere I need 
to be planted. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
Copyright (c) 2014

Pastor Bill Christian Cyber Ministries

All Rights Reserved

Devotions by Christine Caine - Undaunted

Read
John 1:14

Speaking to his disciples, Jesus described his mission. He, the incarnate 
Word of God, became a flesh and blood person, dwelling here among us, 
proving
that we can live authentic lives in this world

True Followers

Many of us struggle with living each day as authentic followers of Christ. 
We don’t understand why we seem to do okay for a week after hearing an 
inspirational
message, but then fall back into old patterns of behavior before we know it. 
We keep trying to fix our behavior, promising wholeheartedly that we won’t
shout at the kids again, be rude to our spouses, react in traffic, lie, 
cheat, steal, gossip, or gamble.

But invariably, we find ourselves unable to sustain our resolve—and we fail 
to control our actions (again!). That’s what happens when we try to live our
Christian lives from the outside in instead of from the inside out. The 
tension between our inner worlds and outer worlds cannot be sustained 
long-term
and will inevitably have a detrimental effect on our lives.

All too often we compartmentalize our lives and divide them into segments. 
We become actors, taking on the role of who we think we’re supposed to 
be––depending
on our audience or our circumstances. For example, at church, we’re supposed 
to be a Christian, so we act like one (some of us could win an Oscar for our
performances). Around our Christian friends we’re supposed to be a 
Christian, so we act like one. At work, we try to act like a Christian 
because we’re
supposed to be one, but there we don’t have to play the role too well 
because our coworkers are not quite as familiar with the Christian “script.” 
When
we go home, we act like our real selves, because we believe that our secret 
is safe with our family. Then the doorbell rings. It’s amazing how quickly
we can shift and play the part of the perfect family even if moments before 
our houses were more like the perfect storm.

This is not how God wants us to live.

He doesn’t want us to simply act like Christians. He wants us to 
authentically be Christians. But the only way for this to occur is by 
allowing him to
work on us from the inside out. God is not satisfied with merely having 
visitation rights every Sunday or Wednesday at a church service or two. God 
wants
always to be at the core of who we are and what we’re becoming.

Point to Ponder

Are you ready to live an authentic Christian life? If you are, forget about 
putting on a show for others, doing all the right things on the outside. 
Give
God permission to begin his work inside you. And don’t worry; he won’t be 
surprised by anything he finds in there.
Devotions by Christine Caine, Copyright © 2012 by Christine Caine and Equip 
& Empower Ministries.
 
NIV Devotions for Men
NIV Men's Devotional Bible

Abraham: The Father of Faith

Genesis 12:1—25:11

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be 
afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (
Genesis 15:1)

You lived before monotheistic religion existed. How did you know there was a 
God?

I’ve always believed in God, even when others didn’t. I remember getting up 
early as a young boy and watching the morning sun light up the mountains as
if they were on fire. It stirred something inside me, and I remember 
thinking, “There must be something that made all this beauty.” Or I’d see 
the moonlight
dancing on the ripples in the Euphrates River at night, and local people 
would say it was a moon god, but that didn’t quite sit right with me. So it 
didn’t
surprise me when the Lord showed up on my doorstep one day. Looking back on 
it, I think he’d been calling to my heart for a long time.

One of your defining moments was when God made a covenant with you. What do 
you remember about that moment?

Actually, I remember my fear more than anything else. Looking back, I wish I’d 
had more faith. But the Lord had promised so many things that seemed, in
my mind, impossible. Most of my life I’ve been afraid. Afraid that things 
were too good to be true. Afraid that my land or my wife or my life would be
snatched by desert raiders or evil foreign leaders. I’m ashamed to admit 
this now, but I had trouble believing that the covenant promises would come 
true.

So what changed?

It all changed that night. I brought the cow, goat, ram and birds and cut 
each in half as God directed. Traditionally, I would have walked between the
two sections as a pledge to keep my promise. But I fell into a deep sleep 
and saw a vision of a blazing torch passing between the animal pieces. It 
was
God taking the covenant walk, telling me that he would never break his 
promises! My heart leaps with joy whenever I remember that vision.

Another defining moment of your life had to be the near sacrifice of Isaac. 
How did you know that God was going to come through when he told you to kill
your son?

I can’t begin to put into words the anguish I felt on that long, three-day 
journey. And tying Isaac to the altar was more difficult than you could ever
imagine. But I had courage because God had already proven to me that he was 
a God of life. He had helped my wife Sarah—who had never been able to have
children—to have a son. I knew he was a miracle-working, life-creating God. 
The only way I was able to fathom the thought of driving a knife into my son
was that I knew Yahweh was fully capable of bringing life back into being.

Back to the Future
• What tests of faith are you facing right now?
• In what ways has God been faithful to his promises to you in the past?
• How can you develop a greater trust in God and his promises?

Read Abraham’s Story

For the full story of Abraham, read
Genesis 12:1—25:
11.
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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Experiencing LIFE Today
Hippies
Those who dance are considered insane by those who can’t hear the music. — 
George Carlin

In the early 70’s, my parents were leading a church in Wisconsin. This 
church served 300 hard-working, salt-of-the-earth Midwesterners. But there 
was a
family whose older children didn’t fit into the suit, tie, and 
Bible-carrying culture of Sunday mornings. So they started a Bible study at 
their house
and before they knew it, 200 hippies were gathering in their home. Yeah. 
Peace signs, bell bottoms, crocheted halter tops, the
whole works.

Soon enough, the hippies asked, “When do we get to come to your church?”

And with one question, and for one Sunday, attendance at our church nearly 
doubled. But it was a major culture clash as the tribal rules of our church
had a head-on collision with those from the outside. The church “won.” The 
next Sunday only 20 hippies came. The third Sunday, only one showed up. Yup,
just one courageous soul came barefoot in holey jeans, and sat cross-legged 
on the floor right in front of the platform, willing to break our isolating
tribal rules.

He wouldn’t give in. That young man stayed and attended membership class 
with those suit-clad members who looked at him a bit strangely and gave him 
the
cold shoulder. At the end of the class, as part of his membership 
requirements, he stood to share his story:

“I didn’t know Jesus until two months ago. I’ve got so much to learn and one 
of the things I’ve learned is that I’m supposed to hang out with you people…
I’ve read the Bible. I’ve got to love you so I’m gonna choose to love you 
even though you have shown no love to me.”

Ouch.

Then he asked, “Can I talk with someone about how we can do this better than 
we’ve been doing it?” An older man stood up and invited the hippie to lunch.
Together they came up with a plan to build relationships between the two 
cultures. Tribal rules faded. Divisions erased. Invitations extended. 
Isolation
broken… And several pairs of bare feet graced the doors of our church once 
again.

All because someone chose to show love where no love had been. All because 
someone chose to leave behind the tribal rules so the tribe could grow and 
be
free and love as they all learned to dance in grace together.

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith… clothed… with 
Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is 
there
male and female, for you are all one...” (Galatians 3:26-28).

When we let the tribal rules fall, a diverse Kingdom reigns.

Father of all nations, the better choice is always You. Let me approach You 
as a child approaches a father, barefoot and ready to dance. I might not 
know
the way, but I know Your love. I’m carefully wrapping my arms around Your 
waist, putting both my bare feet on top of Yours, and waiting for the dance 
to
begin – let Your steps be mine. Amen.

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

The Healer Knows Our Hurts

February 15, 1921. New York City. The operating room of the Kane Summit 
Hospital. A doctor is performing an appendectomy.

In many ways the events leading to the surgery are uneventful. The patient 
has complained of severe abdominal pain. The diagnosis is clear: an inflamed
appendix. Dr. Evan O'Neill Kane is performing the surgery. In his 
distinguished thirty-seven-year medical career, he has performed nearly four 
thousand
appendectomies, so this surgery will be uneventful in all ways except two.

The first novelty of this operation? The use of local anesthesia in major 
surgery. Dr. Kane is a crusader against the hazards of general anesthesia. 
He
contends that a local application is far safer. Many of his colleagues agree 
with him in principle, but in order for them to agree in practice, they will
have to see the theory applied.

Dr. Kane searches for a volunteer, a patient who is willing to undergo 
surgery while under local anesthesia. A volunteer is not easily found. Many 
are
squeamish at the thought of being awake during their own surgery. Others are 
fearful that the anesthesia might wear off too soon.

Eventually, however, Dr. Kane finds a candidate. On Tuesday morning, 
February 15, the historic operation occurs.

The patient is prepped and wheeled into the operating room. A local 
anesthetic is applied. As he has done thousands of times, Dr. Kane dissects 
the superficial
tissues and locates the appendix. He skillfully excises it and concludes the 
surgery. During the procedure, the patient complains of only minor 
discomfort.

The volunteer is taken into post-op, then placed in a hospital ward. He 
recovers quickly and is dismissed two days later. Dr. Kane had proven his 
theory.
Thanks to the willingness of a brave volunteer, Kane demonstrated that local 
anesthesia was a viable, and even preferable, alternative.

But I said there were two facts that made the surgery unique. I've told you 
the first: the use of local anesthesia. The second is the patient. The 
courageous
candidate for surgery by Dr. Kane was Dr. Kane. To prove his point, Dr. Kane 
operated on himself!

However, the story of the doctor who became his own patient is mild compared 
to the story of the God who became human. But Jesus did. So that you and I
would believe that the Healer knows our hurts, he voluntarily became one of 
us. He placed himself in our position. He suffered our pains and felt our 
fears.

Rejection? He felt it. Temptation? He knew it. Loneliness? He experienced 
it. Death? He tasted it. And stress? He could write a best-selling book 
about
it.

Why did he do it? One reason. So that when you hurt, you will go to him – 
your Father and your Physician – and let him heal.
This excerpt is taken from
In the Eye of the Storm.
Max Lucado takes you through what he calls "the second most stressful day in 
the life of our Savior," the day of the storm on the sea of Galilee. It's
the only day other than the crucifixion that is recorded in all four 
Gospels. It shows Jesus' range from joy to sorrow, and how he can and does 
relate
to your bad days too.
Copyright 2014 Max Lucado. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List

Today's Quote:

If you had gone to Buddha and asked him, "Are you the son of Bramah?" he 
would have said, "My son, you are still in the vale of illusion." If you had 
gone
to Socrates and asked, "Are you the son of Zeus?" he would have laughed at 
you. If you had gone to Mohammad and asked, "Are you the son of Allah?" he 
would
first have rent his clothes and then cut your head off. If you had asked 
Confucius, "Are you Heaven?" I think he would have probably replied, 
"Remarks
which are not in accordance with nature are in bad taste." The idea of a 
great moral teacher saying what Christ said is out of the question. In my 
opinion,
the only person who can say that sort of thing is either God or a complete 
lunatic suffering from that form of delusion which undermines the whole mind
of man.

C S Lewis

Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs!

(Jonathan Edwards)

Where will all of our worldly enjoyments be, when we are laid in the silent 
grave?

Resolved, to live as I shall wish I had done, when I come to die.

Resolved, to live as I shall wish I had done, ten thousand ages hence.

Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs!

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:18

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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Care Instructions for a Life Worth Living

Do I Really Believe, or Believe What I Am Supposed to Believe?

There are the great beliefs, beliefs that people have devoted their lives to 
studying, beliefs that they have argued about and exulted in and sacrificed
over and died for:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried. . . .

Sometimes people can rattle off words like that without ever asking 
themselves if they really believe them.

Faith is not simply holding beliefs. Many people, when they consider faith, 
think I believe that God exists, or Scripture is accurate, or Love is the 
greatest
virtue. But at its core, faith is not simply the belief in a statement; it 
puts trust in a person. We all think we want certainty. But we don’t. What 
we
really want is trust, wisely placed. Trust is better than certainty because 
it honors the freedom of persons and makes possible growth and intimacy that
certainty alone could never produce. There can be no intimacy without trust.

The disciples looked at Jesus, and they thought, I like his life. I wish I 
could live like that. When they tried doing the things that Jesus 
instructed,
they found that his teachings actually made sense when they acted on them. 
Forgiving worked better than vengeance. Generosity worked better than 
hoarding.
They began to believe these truths for themselves. The growth of the 
disciples looked something like this: First they had faith in Jesus; then 
they began
to have the faith of Jesus. Their mental maps began to look like Jesus’ 
mental map. Finally, after his crucifixion and resurrection and the coming 
of the
Holy Spirit, his disciples realized that Jesus is the Savior of the world — 
that he really is the revelation of God himself — and therefore they trusted
him with their eternal destinies as well.

We often try to get people to trust Jesus for eternity — to get them into 
heaven — without their first learning to trust him for their daily lives. As
a matter of psychological reality, this just does not work. It produces 
people who say they trust Jesus and who might even think they trust Jesus, 
but
what they do shows that they do not share his ideas about the way things 
really are and the way life really works. Therefore they are not able to 
live
the way that Jesus would live in their place. It is hard to live as Jesus 
would live if we do not share at the core level his convictions about the 
way
things really are.

Elton Trueblood wrote these words, and I think they are profoundly true: 
“The deepest conviction of the Christian is that Christ was not wrong.” 
Faith
involves certain beliefs. Faith involves an attitude of hope and confidence. 
But at its core, faith is trusting a person.

© 2014 by Zondervan. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Visit
JohnOrtberg.com
for more about John Ortberg's work and ministry.

Would we really rather have things our way?
(Frank Hall)

"Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; 
wait, I say, on the LORD!" Psalm 27:14

Will we ever learn this? If we would live in this world for the honor and 
glory of Christ, we must understand that it is our glorious privilege and 
responsibility
to wait on our God. If we would honor the Lord Jesus we must wait on Him 
faithfully . . .
believing His word,
trusting His promises,
resting in His finished work as our Savior,
hiding beneath His precious blood,
depending on Him for righteousness, salvation, and acceptance with our God.

We must wait on Him patiently . . .
without murmuring,
without complaint,
without dissatisfaction,
without discontent.
God does not always work immediately, but He always works. He never performs 
His works on our carnal schedule, but according to His all wise eternal 
purpose
of grace. Let us be patient. God knows what's best for His glory and our 
immortal souls. He knows when, where, and how to work deliverance for us, 
far
better than we do.

We must wait submissively. We must submit our vain wills to His sovereign, 
almighty, perfect will. We must wait on Him with a spirit of humility and 
submission--as
children waiting on their father to help them, feed them, teach them, and 
provide for them. His name is Jehovah-Jireh (The Lord Will Provide). Our God
will not forget us. It is our responsibility to submit ourselves to Him, His 
will, and His ways.

We must wait on Him gladly. We quickly forget that not only is it our duty 
to wait on him, but our privilege to wait on His Majesty. Would we really 
rather
have things our way? Has not our way proved to be abject misery and shame, 
countless times before? Would we rather have our foolish way--than His who 
is
Love, Mercy, and Wisdom? Let us, as the dear children of God, wait on Him 
cheerfully.

We must wait on Him expectantly.
He will do all that He has promised.
He will save us.
He will remember us.
He will destroy our enemies.
He will bring us to Himself.
He will dispel the darkness.
He will accomplish His purpose for us and in us.
Let us wait on Him who cannot fail, with earnest expectation and lively 
hope.

We must wait on Him prayerfully. We must have our eyes perpetually fixed 
upon Him. Let us give ourselves to constant prayer, so that day by day, hour 
by
hour, and moment by moment--we are looking to Him for fresh supplies of 
mercy and grace to sustain us, strengthen us, and keep us to the end.

We must wait on Him with persistence and perseverance. We must be resolute 
and determined to wait on Him forever if needs be. In His time, on His 
terms,
when the time is best, right, and perfect--He will come and He will deliver 
us from all our sorrows, all our troubles, and all our fears.

Children of God--our Savior will never leave us to ourselves!
He is with us always!
He loved us!
He chose us!
He suffered, bled, and died for us!
He redeemed us with His own precious blood!
He called us by His Spirit and gave us life from the dead!
He has staked His glory as God, upon our everlasting salvation!

He has promised to do us good, and to withhold no good thing from us! How 
can we not faithfully, joyfully, and patiently wait on such a God as this?

"Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; 
wait, I say, on the LORD!"
~ ~ ~ ~
We have published John Newton's challenging letter, "
What a Christian ought to be".
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Feel free to forward these gems to others who may be encouraged or profited 
by them!
Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)

The Gift of Discerning of Spirits

We now look at another gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift of discerning of 
spirits. Below are two versions of the Bible which shed some light on what 
this gift is:

1 Corinthians 12:10 (NKJV)
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another 
discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the 
interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:10 (GNB)
The Spirit gives one person the power to work miracles; to another, the gift 
of speaking God’s message; and to yet another, the ability to tell the 
difference between gifts that come from the Spirit and those that do not. To 
one person he gives the ability to speak in strange tongues, and to another 
he gives the ability to explain what is said.

Here is what Matthew Henry says about the gift:

To another the discerning of Spirits, power to distinguish between true and 
false prophets, or to discern the real and internal qualifications of any 
person for an office, or to discover the inward workings of the mind by the 
Holy Ghost, as Peter did those of Ananias, Acts 5:3.

This gift of discerning of spirits is one of the gifts that is needed most 
today with all the false gifts that can be found. We see above in the 
different texts that this gift could be to distinguish between true and 
false gifts, true and false prophets and true and false Christians. It can 
also be a gift to warn you what to stay away from. Today there are so many 
games, TV shows, movies, etc. that are evil but are wrapped in beautiful 
packaging. A lot of people don’t see the harm behind some of these things 
but there is evil behind them.

If you have this gift, and God may give it to you for a certain time and 
purpose, you may have a physical sensation or it may just be a feeling. You 
might just have a sense that this needs to be left alone.

No matter what the situation, if you feel the Lord giving you a sense that 
what you are seeing is a false anything or evil, follow the lead of the Holy 
Spirit and let it be known. This is the gift of discerning of spirits.

by Dean W. Masters
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The Gift of Prophecy and Prophets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Peter 1:20-2:2 (NASB95)
20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter 
of one’s own interpretation,
21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men 
moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Chapter 2
The Rise of False Prophets
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there 
will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce 
destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing 
swift destruction upon themselves.
2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of 
the truth will be maligned;

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

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

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List

To join the Masters List go to:

http://emissives.com/mailman/listinfo/masterslist_emissives.com

If you would like to receive The Sunday News which I write,
Or if you would like to receive The Sunday News and one devotional that I 
forward each day
Or if you would like to receive The Sunday News plus several devotions I 
forward each day please write to me and let me know which you would like.
My address is:

dwmasters15@gmail.com
Unedited redistribution approved 
The Journey to Obedience

Genesis 12:1–9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Authority and Humility
By Skip Heitzig

Here’s a sad fact: Jesus Christ died on a cross 2,000 years ago for our
salvation
and a huge part of the world still hasn’t heard that news.

Jesus spoke of those who hide their light under a bushel: “Let your light so 
shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father
in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). And Peter said, “Always be ready to give a 
defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with 
meekness
and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

The number one requirement for effectively sharing our hope is to speak out 
with authority—and the Word of God is our authority.

A journalist once explained that Billy Graham was so effective in 
proclaiming the gospel because he “preaches what the Bible says. He has a 
note of authority
in his message.”

That ring of authority is what the prophets had. The phrase “thus saith the 
Lord” appears 415 times in the Old Testament. After Jesus preached the 
Sermon
on the Mount, the Scripture tells us, “The people were astonished at His 
teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the 
scribes”
(Matthew 7:28-29).

The followers of Christ had that same authority: “They spoke the word of God 
with boldness” (Acts 4:31). When Stephen stood up before the council, “they
were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke” (Acts 
6:10). All of them spoke with boldness, with clarity, with authority.

Authority doesn’t mean arrogance. It means confidence, knowing that the 
message you share is God’s truth. A confident spokesman believes that “the 
word
of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, 
piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, 
and is
a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

The second prerequisite for effectively sharing the hope within you is to 
speak out with humility. Daniel was careful to glorify God when he appeared 
before
Nebuchadnezzar: “There is a God in heaven who reveals secrets… this secret 
has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living” 
(Daniel
2:28, 30). He had humility.

Humility will make a hard message softer, and it will make you believable. 
The old saying “You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” 
applies
here. The blend of authority and humility equals integrity, which will help 
your message stick with the hearer.

On a practical level, having humility means listening as well as speaking 
out God’s truth. Find out their questions and their concerns. It doesn’t 
help
a thirsty person to open a fire hose on them! Give them the truth in 
increments. And don’t point to yourself, point to Him!

The results must always be left to God. God’s word, empowered by His Holy 
Spirit, will bring about the result that God desires. It’s all about Him!

Finally, if you have truth, never be afraid to tell it to people. Paul said, 
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God
to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). Can you echo that?

Copyright © 2014 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.
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Today's Daily Encounter

Hot Potato

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."1

A teenager asked me the question: "Do you think
homosexuality should be legalized?"

My opinion wasn’t and still isn’t important. I shared
what I believed God had to say, and that is that
homosexuality is an unnatural condition.2 Lest we are
tempted to be judgmental, we need to realize that God’s
Word also lists it with other sins which are all
destructive to human personality, and as such, are
opposed by God. True, God forgives all who confess
their sins, but indicates that those who willfully
practice sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, male
prostitution, homosexuality, stealing, greed,
drunkenness, slandering, and swindling will not inherit
the kingdom of God.3 If God is opposed to all of these
damaging behaviors, can we justly legalize any one of
them? Many heterosexuals are “driven" to sex outside of
marriage but this is not God’s plan and is also sin.
Others are “driven" to acts of pedophilia; dare we
justify this too because “they can’t help it"?

Actually, there are often deep psychological causes
behind many external "acts of sin." The causes often
have their roots in the past and need to be faced and
resolved if a person is to find wholeness--both
emotional and spiritual.

If we justify and legalize any act of sin, we harm the
person involved much more than we ever help him/her. It
gives an excuse not to face one’s issues and resolve
their problem.

As Christians we are to accept and love the sinner and
not judge or condemn him or her (because we are all
sinners and are probably all guilty of at least greed,
gossip, or slandering which are listed with the sin of
homosexuality). But this doesn't mean that we accept or
approve of sinful behavior. Very often it has been a
lack of love that has driven people into acts of
sin--especially sexual sins. Only love, Christ's
unconditional love through us, will ever draw these
people out again.*

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to be honest about
my own sins and never be the ‘first one to cast a
stone’ at other sinners. Also, help me to love all
sinners even though I don't approve of their behavior.
Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully in Jesus's name."

*For further information and help regarding
homosexuality be sure to read Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint
article, “When a Dog Says ‘Moo’" at
http://tinyurl.com/yedn67.

1. Romans 6:23 (NIV).
2. Romans 1:27.
3. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

<Smile)))><

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

* * * * *
Copyright (c) 2013 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2012
ACTS International.

--
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
1 Thought for today 
 Posted by: "Frank Coleman" 
BE NOT OF THE WORLD

“The invasion of the Church by the world is a menace to the extension of 
Christ's Kingdom. In all ages conformity to the world by Christians has 
resulted in lack of spiritual life and a consequent lack of spiritual 
vision and enterprise. A secularized or self-centered Church can never 
evangelize the world.”
- John R. Mott (1865-1955), The Evangelization of the World in this 
Generation, New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 
1905, p. 44

The Day I Rolled Down the Window
by John UpChurch, Senior Editor, BibleStudyTools.com

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

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

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

I confess. I didn’t exactly feel neighborly.

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

Gas mileage. Seriously.

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Further Reading

1 John 1:1

James 2:1

Check out fantastic resources crosswalk.com
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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A MATTER OF FAITH

GIVE UP YOUR INDEPENDENCE TODAY

“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts” Psalm 
119:45 (NIV).

I was walking my dog recently when I passed a local day care center where 
children were playing outside. As I watched them, I recalled when my two 
sons
were still small.

My children are now grown. One is married and has blessed me with two 
grandchildren. I have heard that grandchildren are God’s way of rewarding 
parents
for not killing their teenagers. Makes sense to me.

Making sense of life can sometimes be difficult. I recently called a friend 
who, along with her husband, has been there for me when I needed someone. I
had phoned her because something was bothering me that morning. It turned 
out that she, as well as I, needed uplifting.

Our conversation turned to our adult children. Although she didn’t reveal 
the nature of the problems that her children were facing at the time, she 
felt
burdened by their trouble.

As parents, many of us can relate. We sometimes see our grown children 
making decisions that we feel are not the right choices for them or at least 
not
at the right time in their lives.

As my friend said about her children’s choices, “Sometimes I just want to 
smack their backsides.”

I had to laugh because you just can’t spank a child who towers over 
you--even if you would like to get his attention. Grown children usually don’t 
want
you telling them what to do. I have to bite my tongue sometimes when I see 
through eyes of experience what they cannot. I know my parents felt the same
way.

If one of my sons is troubled, he will sometimes seek my advice. That doesn’t 
always mean that either one will follow my recommendations.

As my friend and I discussed our children, we both realized our relationship 
with our heavenly Father is the same. We sometimes ignore His warnings and
get into trouble. Then we go running back to Him when we recognize we needed 
Him all along.

I wonder if He ever wants to smack our backsides when we don’t listen. 
Although I am sure God gets as frustrated with us as we do with our own 
children,
I have a feeling He would lift us up on His lap and give us a great big hug. 
God always gives us another chance when we fail. He allows us the freedom
to make mistakes, even when He has warned us about the consequences of our 
choices. But He forgives us and He still loves us—even when we disappoint 
Him.

Just as our grown children still need us, we need our heavenly Father. But 
we shouldn’t wait until we get into trouble to go running to Him. Seek His 
guidance
daily. By reading His Word and turning to Him in prayer, we’re admitting our 
dependence on Him. Can you release your independence to Him? It’s not giving
up. It’s giving in to the One who has your best interests at heart.

Check out the author’s blog at
- Inspirational Thoughts for Daily Living.
- Inspirational Thoughts for Daily Living
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2014 Isn’t God’s Handiwork Just Amazing? “It was 
my hand that laid the foundations of the earth; the palm of my right hand 
spread
out ...
View on www.carolaround.com


Blowing up the Fourth of July
by John UpChurch, Senior Editor, BibleStudyTools.com

I nearly blew up Fourth of July. Well, not the holiday, just the block party 
we had when I was a kid. For a couple years when I was young, the residents
of our neighborhood would congregate at an open lot on the corner. Many of 
the families would bring bags and boxes of giant bottle rockets, roman 
candles,
sparklers, fountains, and other color-shooting fare. They’d dump them on a 
ratty blanket and sit in the grass. Most of them took turns launching the 
flaming
orbs into the air, littering the ground with the paper and cardboard of 
spent fireworks, and filling the night with acrid smoke.

It was glorious, and I wanted to make a huge splash (cue the dramatic 
music).

Before descending upon the second—and last—of our block parties, I scanned 
the aisles of the fireworks tent not far from our house. Just shooting 
flaming
balls or seeing a pretty sparkly pop in the sky wasn’t enough. I wanted to 
go big. There’d be nothing mundane for my moment of greatness this year.

And that’s when I found the perfect Chinese-made, powder-stuffed wonder. I 
have no idea what it was called, but it was a green plastic tube longer than
my hand with fins sticking out from either end. The packaging promised 
showers of sparks as it rose into the sky, a loud report (code for 
explosion), and
an unforgettable display of color. Some might say spending three bucks on 
one moment of awesome is a bit excessive. I just saw it as a small price to 
pay
for a green wonder.

When we arrived at the party, I plopped that bad boy on the blanket and 
waited. The dozen or so puny pops and whistles made me all the more eager to 
get
to my pièce de résistance. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the lightshow, but 
they didn’t know what real excitement awaited them.

Finally, my time came, my moment of triumph. Although I was too young to do 
the lighting (so said my parents), I marched with my firework contraption to
the middle of the road and placed it exactly in the center. This green 
wonder needed the perfect launching pad, after all.

I hurried away when the host of the party lit the fuse. To this day, I have 
no idea what happened exactly. I followed the instructions on the wrapper,
and yet the green wonder’s shower of sparks weren’t enough to get it off the 
ground. Instead, it limped across the road with a pathetic whimper and shot
toward the blanket full of fireworks.

Neighbors scattered. People screamed. God had mercy. At least, that’s the 
best way I can explain how a shower of sparks and flame didn’t set off any 
of
the other fireworks or burn anyone.

Intersecting
Faith
& Life: Too often, I’m just like I was back then on that Fourth of July: I 
want my service, my gift, my moment to be more awesome than anyone else’s.
I compare what I’m doing with what you’re doing or he’s doing or she’s doing 
to see how I stack up. That’s exactly the point where things go boom.

But freedom in Christ begins with a humbling. We’re meant to keep our eyes 
on Him, so much so that we aren’t able to compare ourselves with others. One
person may preach the gospel to an entire nation, and another may work with 
gospel-saturated hands in a tiny community. One may write books that sell 
millions
of copies, and another may have a blog that ten people read.

We don’t need green wonders to make a big splash. We need surrender to the 
One who made us. That’s what sets us free.

For Further Reading

Romans 9

1 Corinthians 3


PresbyCan Daily Devotional
Friday, July 4, 2014

Today's Devotional
Real Freedom

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

The Fourth of July is celebrated in the United States to commemorate the 
Declaration of Independence, which was adopted by the Continental Congress 
on
July 4, 1776. On July 4th, flags of red, white, and blue known as "Old 
Glory" or "the Stars and Stripes" are proudly flown throughout the country.

One such locale was at the Arakelian home. The flag was always seen flying 
proudly, mounted on the large tree in the front lawn for all to see. It was
placed there to demonstrate our love and devotion to our country. At my 
brother's residence, the flag can be seen displayed on a designated 
flagpole, proudly
viewed with a spotlight shining on the stars and stripes as it flies in the 
wind, every day of the year.

When I think of July 4th, I think of freedom. We should never take our 
freedom for granted. It is a fact that those of us who live in the United 
States,
Canada, and other democratic countries can voice our opinions freely and 
vote for the people of our choice. These are very good reasons why we should 
never
take our freedom for granted.

The concept of spiritual freedom was explained by Jesus:

John 8:31b-32 – If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (NIV)

The believer in Jesus is released from the stronghold of sin. Sin enslaves; 
Christ sets free:

Romans 8:2 – For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me 
free from the law of sin and death. (NKJV)

Romans 6:22 – But now you are free from the power of sin and have become 
slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in 
eternal
life. (NLT)

As a result, we can have real freedom — freedom in Christ to live a life 
that glorifies Him. We can display it every day of the year, so that His 
banner
of love, truth, and peace can be seen by all.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to live our lives in a way that glorifies 
You. Give us the strength to be a blessing in someone else's life today, and
grant us the opportunity to lead others into the freedom that can be found 
in knowing and believing in Christ — the ultimate freedom-giver. In Jesus' 
name,
we pray. Amen.

Parise Arakelian 
parakelian@roadrunner.com
Arcadia, California, USA
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The Gift of Miracles

We now look at the gift of miracles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Challenge Pulpit Series
Demonstration of the Spirit and of Power
by David Wilkerson

May 5, 2014

As I read Paul's letters to the Corinthian church, I stop
and ponder these words: "My preaching was not with enticing
words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit
and of power" (1 Corinthians 2:4, my italics).

When I was a young minister, I sought the Lord for clear
manifestations of his Spirit. I prayed, "Oh, God, fill me
with the power of your Spirit and give me a convicting
message. Demonstrate your power. Shake the house as you did
at Pentecost, so that people run to the altar and fall in
reverence before you."

Yet, as I read Paul's letters to the Corinthians, I find no
such experiences. There was no one being "slain in the
Spirit," no mention of houses being shaken. Instead, we find
Paul preaching about everyday concerns, such as carnality,
strife, marriage, divorce, proper dress, giving, the care of
widows, maintaining order in church services, etc.

By Paul's own admission, he had no charisma. His voice
wasn't commanding and he confessed to trembling during his
preaching: "I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in
much trembling" (1 Corinthians 2:3). So, where was the
demonstration of the Spirit and of power in Paul's life?

Paul declared, in essence, "My life is a demonstration of
what the Lord can do. He can take a person without charisma,
without a commanding voice, indeed, the vilest of sinners,
and do something powerful with him." This was not pride
speaking. Paul simply knew who he was in Christ. He knew his
battles and struggles weren't over, yet he also knew his
life was a picture of what God can do with anyone who yields
to him.

He explained, "I didn't come to you with a strategy or the
methods of men. I came to you with the mind of God, and I
spoke a simple, direct message that went straight to your
heart. When I taught on marriage, it moved you. When I spoke
about giving, your hearts were stirred because you knew my
words came from the Lord."

Look around at society. People are sin-sick, stressed out,
despairing, with many at their absolute limit, desperate for
answers. They don't want to hear philosophical arguments or
advice from yet another self-help book. The only way this
world will be touched is by standing face to face with a
life that demonstrates Holy Ghost power.

Paul tells us: "We are made a spectacle unto the world, and
to angels, and to men" (1 Corinthians 4:9).

The Greek word for "spectacle" in this verse means
"theater." The translation is, "God is going to turn your
life into a theater. He has put you on a stage, and the
audience is the entire world." Here is the role he has
scripted for us: "We are fools for Christ's sake" (4:10). In
the world's eyes, who but a fool would follow the difficult
ways Paul lays out? For in the preceding verse, Paul
explains: "I think that God hath set forth us the apostles
last, as it were appointed to death" (4:9).

Paul speaks of great trials, afflictions, persecution, even
death - hardships that a select number in Christ's body are
called to endure. He says, "You've heard my testimony. You
know I have endured infirmities, afflictions, persecutions.
I have been made a spectacle before the whole world,
including angels, principalities and powers. All eyes are on
me, to witness the battle and the outcome. Now God is
appointing other believers to this same ministry."

All who are godly will suffer some persecution for the
Lord's sake. But some, like Paul, are called to endure many
sufferings and infirmities for the cause of Christ - to "go
onstage" to endure tremendous battles and hardships. For
them, it becomes like a boxing match, and they're cast down
many times by buffetings and trials. "We were troubled on
every side; without were fightings, within were fears" (2
Corinthians 7:5).

Some believers face one agonizing crisis after another.
Consider Job, who was despised by his friends because of his
suffering. They told Job, "You've clearly angered the Lord.
Obviously, there's some hidden sin in your life." God isn't
ashamed to put these servants onstage before hell, angels
and all the world because he trusts them. They have
patiently endured their trials in secret, holding onto faith
through fires, floods and storms.

Satan still accuses this kind of saint today, just as he did
with Job, challenging God, "Take down the wall and let me at
them. They'll quit." God does often take down his hedge of
protection for a season, and angels watch in amazement as
they behold the scenes that unfold before them. Fiery darts
are shot, followed by horrible lies, overwhelming
temptations, awful accusations, physical afflictions. Doubt
moves in, and God's child is about to give up.

Then suddenly, the spectacle stops. Now the embattled
servant moves to center stage, attracting the attention of
all, and he cries out, "Though he slay me, I will trust my
God. Come what may, live or die, I am the Lord's."

We have been handed a script for our part in the play.

Paul spells out our role to all who are onstage: "Everyone
else onstage will be strong, but you will be the weak one.
All others will be honorable, but you'll be despised. You
will experience hunger, thirst, nakedness, and you'll be
buffeted, pounded in the face. Yet you will bless others
while they revile you. You'll endure persecution and be
slandered. You will be made as the filth of the world, the
offscouring and dregs of all things" (see 1 Corinthians
4:10-13).

Many believers have read the script that Scripture lays out,
and they long to experience this true demonstration of Holy
Ghost power. So they take a stand like Paul's, saying, "I've
had enough of lethargy. I'm going all the way, to enter the
fullness of the power of Christ, who is in me."

That's when the curtain opens. You're standing on the stage,
and suddenly your life is a spectacle to all. How do you
react when the hardships Paul describes come to pass in your
role? As you face afflictions, buffetings, trials, is the
love of Christ exemplified in you? Or do you turn away in
anxiousness and fear?

Paul assured the Corinthians, "I don't write this to
frighten you" (see 1 Corinthians 4:14). The apostle knew
that once we set foot onstage, the Holy Spirit is with us
and will not abandon us. Instead, he comes upon us with
power such as we've never known. In our role of weakness,
the Lord gives us strength and, with God's hand upon us and
Christ's presence in us, we are able to endure for the prize
set before us.

Of course, some believers have read the script and rejected
it. They've turned away from the stage, saying, "This isn't
the role I wanted." Such believers seek a comfortable
lifestyle. And if you're living "at ease in Zion," you don't
need Holy Ghost power. That's why the world yawns at every
Christian who lives in such ease. They won't listen to
someone whose words are empty, not backed by spiritual
authority. As Paul states, "The kingdom of God is not in
word, but in power" (1 Corinthians 4:20).

Are you onstage now, your life a great spectacle? Are your
weaknesses showing? Are you being buffeted? Do you sometimes
feel like walking offstage, saying, "I can't take any more
of this. I feel like quitting"? Even David felt such things
during his life, crying, "Oh, I wish I had wings like a
bird, so I could fly off to some quiet place."

At such times, God is making you a demonstration of his Holy
Spirit and power. Your life is being watched - your family
is watching you, your neighbors are watching you, everyone
at your job is watching you - and they're all wondering,
"How will it end? Will he make it?" "Seeing we also are
compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us
lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily
beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set
before us" (Hebrews 12:1).

Here is the best news of all: we know the director of this
spectacle. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of
our faith" (12:2). He has taught us how to play our role, by
his own dramatic example at center stage: "Who for the joy
that was set before him endured the cross, despising the
shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of
God" (12:2).

Christ knows that our role in this spectacle is not easy.
But he has gone before us on the path, and we are to look to
his example to draw encouragement: "Consider him that
endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest
ye be wearied and faint in your minds" (12:3).

Dear saint, each time you pick up your Bible, you hold in
your hands the script that God has written for your life.
And he provides much-needed intermissions from the drama -
offstage and behind the curtain, when you're alone with the
director in prayer. In those times, he puts his arm around
you and whispers, "You're doing fine."

This may surprise you. You might think, "What do you mean,
'fine'? I want to quit!" But the director assures you, "You
haven't read the whole script, as I told you to do. It's all
in there. Right now, in the midst of your suffering, I'm
doing a great work in you. I am making you a demonstration
of my Holy Spirit and of my power. Yes, it's going to be
difficult, and there will be more buffeting. But you're
going to make it.

"Now, go back onstage, and I will breathe life into you. I
am always with you. And when the final curtain falls - when
it's all over - you'll come to my house for a great feast.
Everyone who has been in this spectacle since the very
beginning - from the Cross down through history - is going
to have a celebration."

Beloved, that is why we endure: for the indescribable joy
set before us!
Copyright (c) 2013 - World Challenge, Inc.
P.O. Box 260, Lindale, Texas 75771, USA

This data file/publication is the sole property of World Challenge,
Inc. It may be printed in its entirety for the reader's personal use
or to pass on to family and friends. It may not be altered or
edited in any way, and all reproductions of this data
file/publication MUST contain this copyright notice:

Copyright (c) 2013 - World Challenge, Inc.
P.O. Box 260, Lindale, Texas 75771, USA
http://www.worldchallenge.org
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List


Devotions by Christine Caine - Undaunted

Read
Exodus 4:10–13

God called Moses to rescue his people from slavery in Egypt. But Moses felt 
his lack of speaking skills disqualified him from pursuing God’s plan. God
saw it another way.

Called to Rescue

There is only one rescuer with the power to free us from the darkest prison. 
That rescuer is the God who loves us so much he left everything to come for
us, to free us. He is the one who made us, each of us, for a unique purpose 
and a magnificent destiny. His plans are for good, not for evil. His ways 
are
straight and merciful. He came to give me a hope and a future—and to give 
you one too. His promises are true. His love is full of forgiveness and 
peace,
joy and kindness, grace. He is the true rescuer. He saves us from any 
prison, whether physical or emotional or spiritual, the ones we’re forced 
into and
the ones we fall into on our own. He chooses us. He loves us without 
condition, unrelentingly, forever. He loves us broken, and He loves making 
us whole
again. And He asks those of us who love him to love others the same way. To 
choose them. To be agents of his hope, his forgiveness, his grace. He asks
us to join him in rescuing others.

So why don’t we?

There are reasons why when we hear God’s call, when we feel that gentle 
urging of God’s Spirit for us to make a bold step, take a risk, serve 
others, save
a life, commit—we so often hold back.

It may be because we don’t feel qualified.

We think we lack the courage, the strength, the wisdom, the money, the 
experience, the education, the organization, the backing.

We feel like Moses when, from out of the burning bush, God called him to 
speak for him before Pharaoh. And Moses answered, “Pardon your servant, 
Lord.
I have never been eloquent. . . . I am slow of speech and tongue. . . . 
Please send someone else” (
Exodus 4:10–13).

Not me, God. I’m afraid. Weak. Poor. Stupid. Unqualified. Daunted.

Not long ago, that is exactly how I would have responded.

But it has never been my desire to be daunted, to be afraid, to be unable to 
respond to God’s call. Is it yours? I doubt it. Just as God gave Moses 
exactly
what he needed to accomplish great things, he will equip us in the same way. 
If he calls us to slay giants, he will make us into giant slayers.

God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.

Point to Ponder

Life tries to daunt us, to render us incapable of following the bold and 
valiant plan God has for us. Are you ready to move past that? Are you ready 
to
become undaunted?

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.

Breakthroughs in Dallas-Fort Worth
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Breakthroughs in Dallas-Fort Worth
Apr 30, 2014 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

Luke 24:26 "Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter 
His glory?"

One of the things we so often forget is that before there is glory, there is 
often suffering. We know that, like Christ, many of His servants are 
suffering
for their faith in places like North Korea and Saudi Arabia. In many cases 
throughout Church history, the suffering of the saints has led to repentance
and the extension of His Kingdom. You have heard it said that the blood of 
the martyrs is the seed of the Church. This is widespread today and so true
in our fallen world!

Pray that the unreached will be reached in lands where the saints are 
suffering, and that God will be glorified.

Today's People Group

Kika, a Nagaland church planter, works with Bhutanese and Nepali, but he’s 
not working in South Asia. Kika is a student at Southwestern Seminary in 
Fort
Worth, Texas reaching Bhutanese and Nepali refugees in Dallas. Dallas/Fort 
Worth (DFW) is the number one destination of refugees coming to the U.S.

Renod, a Lebanese believer, was persecuted for his faith in his home 
country. He immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager with a hatred for Muslims 
due to
his suffering. Now, Renod has a great love for Muslims and offers free 
workshops on how to reach Muslims for Christ. This is vital considering DFW 
has
the second fastest growing Muslim population of any U.S. area.

Dadu, a Malayalam speaker and church planter in northern India, first took 
the Perspectives course in 2012. He is now coordinating the first 
Perspectives
class at his home church in Richardson, TX, a city rich in diversity of 
unreached peoples. In the Fall of 2013 three Perspective classes enrolled 
more
than 400 students, and eight classes are planned for Spring 2014.

God is on the move in DFW! A Christ-ward movement is unfolding. Kika, Renod, 
and Dadu are among a growing number of harvest workers from foreign 
countries
that God is raising up. DFW is quickly becoming an area of diaspora mission 
activity. There is much training in discipleship which is occurring in 
response
to the over 239 languages spoken, representing many unreached peoples.

Pray for the growing diaspora (worldwide) mission movement taking shape in 
DFW. Pray that representatives from every unreached people group would come
to the United States, encounter Christ, and then return to their homeland to 
preach the gospel and fulfill the great commission.

Learn more at
Joshua Project
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Hannah

Her name means: "Graciousness" or "Favor"

Her character: Provoked by another woman's malice, she refused to respond in 
kind. Instead, she poured out her hurt and sorrow to God, allowing him to
vindicate her.
Her sorrow: To be taunted and misunderstood.
Her joy: To proclaim God's power and goodness, his habit of raising the 
lowly and humbling the proud.
Key Scriptures:
1 Samuel 1:1-2:11
;
2:19-21

Her Story

It was only fifteen miles, but every year the journey from Ramah, to worship 
at the tabernacle in Shiloh, seemed longer. At home, Hannah found ways to
avoid her husband's second wife, but once in Shiloh there was no escaping 
her taunts. Hannah felt like a leaky tent in a driving rain, unable to 
defend
herself against the harsh weather of the other woman's heart.

Even Elkanah's arm around her provided no shelter. "Hannah, why are you 
weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to 
you than
ten sons? Yes, she has given me children, but it's you I love. Ignore her 
taunts."

How could Hannah make him understand that even the best of men could not 
erase a woman's longing for children? His attempt to comfort her only 
sharpened
the pain, heightening her sense of isolation.

Once inside the tabernacle Hannah stood for a long time, weeping and 
praying. Her lips moved without making a sound as her heart poured out its 
grief to
God: "O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and 
remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will 
give
him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used 
on his head."

The priest Eli was used to people coming to Shiloh to celebrate the feasts, 
eating and drinking more than they should. Watching Hannah from his chair by
the doorpost of the temple, he wondered why her shoulders were shaking, her 
lips moving without making a sound. She must be drunk, he concluded. So he
interrupted her silent prayer with a rebuke: "How long will you keep on 
getting drunk? Get rid of your wine."

"Not so, my lord," Hannah defended herself. "I am a woman who is deeply 
troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul 
to the
Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here 
out of my great anguish and grief."

Satisfied by her explanation, Eli blessed her, saying, "May the God of 
Israel grant your request."

Early the next morning, Hannah and Elkanah returned to their home in Ramah, 
where Hannah at last conceived. Soon she held against her shoulder the tiny
child she had yearned for, the son she had dedicated to God. After Samuel 
was weaned, she took him to Eli at Shiloh. Like Jochebed placing the child 
Moses
into the waters of the Nile as though into God's own hands, she surrendered 
her child to the priest's care. Eventually Hannah's boy became a prophet and
Israel's last judge. His hands anointed both Saul and David as Israel's 
first kings.

Like Sarah and Rachel, Hannah grieved over the children she couldn't have. 
But unlike them, she took her anguish directly to God. Misunderstood by both
her husband and her priest, she could easily have turned her sorrow on 
herself or others, becoming bitter, hopeless, or vindictive. But instead of 
merely
pitying herself or responding in kind, she poured out her soul to God. And 
God graciously answered her prayer.

Each year Hannah went up to Shiloh and presented Samuel with a little robe 
she had sewn. And each year, the priest Eli blessed her husband, Elkanah, 
saying,
"May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one 
she prayed for and gave to the Lord." And so Hannah became the mother of 
three
more sons and two daughters. Hannah's great prayer, echoed more than a 
thousand years later by Mary, the mother of Jesus (
Luke 1:46-55),
expresses her praise: "My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is 
lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your 
deliverance….
The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the 
poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap" (
1 Samuel 2:1,
7-8).

Her Promise

When God met Hannah at the temple in Shiloh, he not only answered her prayer 
for a child, he answered her prayer for comfort in her misery. He gave her
consolation in her disappointment and strength to face her situation. 
Scripture does not say that she went away sure she would bear a child, but 
it does
make it clear that she went away comforted: "Her face was no longer 
downcast" (
1 Samuel 1:18).
What even the love and care of her husband Elkanah could not provide, God 
could provide.

God is willing to meet us just as he met Hannah. Whatever our distress, 
whatever hard situations we face, he is willing—more than that, he is 
eager—to
meet our needs and give us his grace and comfort. No other person—not our 
husband, not our closest friends, not our parents, not our children—can 
render
the relief, support, and encouragement that our God has waiting for us.

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

Ron Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You

A Word With You
Daily Devotional

Volcano Scars - #7123

I grew up in Illinois. It's hard to find high mountains there. I think the 
highest in the state was like 2,000 feet. So, man, when I go west, "Whew!" 
impressed
by the mountains. And as my friend from the Rockies pointed out, what we 
called mountains were nothing more than glorified hills.

See, Colorado has what they call the Fourteeners - mountain peaks over 
14,000 feet. And Ecuador, in the city of Quito, they have Antisana. It's 
18,000
feet tall! And the tallest mountain I've ever seen! But Antisana used to be 
28,000 feet high. (So much for Colorado's "Fourteeners"). It was a volcano
and it blew its top one day. And although the eruption only lasted a short 
time, the damage has been forever.

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

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Proverbs 12:18. It says, 
"Reckless words pierce like a sword." Wow! That is the awesome power of our
angry, irresponsible, thoughtless words. Proverbs 18:21 says, "The tongue 
has the power of life and death." Now, we can say things that make a person 
feel
more alive or more dead inside. You've had that happen to you, right? When 
we're angry, I think we're like that volcano. We erupt, we spew out our 
lava,
and we often blow away a piece of the other person...if not ourselves. And 
every one of us carries around parts of us that have been mortally wounded 
by
something someone said to us in anger. We know how it hurts. We know the 
lasting damage it can do. They may have forgotten it; we never have. Those 
are
volcano scars.

So why do we do this to other people, and why especially do we do it to the 
people we love the most. The Bible pays a high tribute to a person who's 
under
control. Proverbs 16:32, "Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who 
controls his temper than one who conquers a city." Wow! I mean, that's real 
manhood.
He can control his temper; more powerful than conquering a city.

If you're tired of erupting and tired of leaving volcano scars, maybe it's 
time to follow the steps to becoming an extinct volcano. Number one, confess
your anger. Confess your reckless words as the sin that they are. Bring that 
to Jesus' cross and treat it as some of the ugly sin that killed our Savior.
And confess it as well to the victims of your anger.

Number two, don't let the lava build up. Deal with issues right away. Number 
three, make yourself listen; make yourself ask questions before you speak.
James 1:19 says, "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger." If 
you listen, if you hear the whole thing, if you understand it, you'll be 
slower
to anger. Number four, don't say anything at all until you're under control. 
And the fifth step to becoming an extinct volcano is to make Jesus Christ
the Lord of the raging animal inside you.

The uncontrollable parts of us are constant reminders that we need a Savior. 
You give it to Him for this new day. If volcanoes could think, maybe they'd
think twice about blowing their top. The volcano might reason, "You know, 
maybe I'll feel better for a while, but is it worth blowing away a part of 
myself?"
And in our relationships is it worth blowing away a part of another person I 
love?

If you think about it, we know it's not worth it. "The tongue (remember) has 
the power of life, it has the power of death." And it says, "reckless words
pierce like a sword." Haven't we left enough volcano scars?
Contact Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.

Creative Commons License
© Ronald P. Hutchcraft • Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.
"A Word With You" by Ronald P. Hutchcraft is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 


PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Today's Devotional

The Yuck

Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything through him who gives me strength. 
(NIV)

Every day, I have a job to do that I really don't enjoy. Every day, the 
horse corral needs cleaning. Every day—winter, spring, summer, and 
fall—there are
always piles and piles of horse yuck to be shovelled up and shovelled out. 
Yuck, yuck, yuck. And some days, as I begin the job and survey the piles, I
am simply overwhelmed by the sheer number of them. On one such day, as I 
heaved a sigh and was considering the idea of simply turning around and 
heading
back to the house, it occurred to me how aspects of life are a lot like this 
job of corral cleaning.

Day by day, yuck enters our lives; it cannot help but do so. Why? Because we 
live in a fallen world. Thus, we are always going to have problems and 
troubles
of one sort or another, be they overwhelmingly large or irritatingly small. 
After all, Jesus said:

Matthew 6:34 – Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will 
worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NIV)

Yes, each day does have enough trouble or yuck of its own. None of us, I'm 
sure, has any doubt concerning this truth. The bigger issue, however, is 
dealing
in victory with it, day in and day out. How do we not let it get the best of 
us and rob us of our joy or overwhelm us with its sheer regularity?

I believe that the answer is really quite simple: one pile at a time, one 
prayer at a time, one moment at a time. For as today's Scripture reminds us,
we can do everything through Him who gives us strength, which includes 
dealing with the yuck of the mundane, day in and day out.

So today, as you see those piles of yuck before you, remember: one pile at a 
time, one prayer at a time, one moment at a time in His strength will allow
you to deal victoriously with each situation as it arises, and in the end, 
to leave the corral of your life clean and tidy behind you.

Prayer: Father God, thank You that You have provided a way for us in Christ 
Jesus to deal victoriously and even joyously with the daily yuck of the 
mundane,
one pile at a time, one prayer at a time, one moment at a time, in His 
strength. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

Lynne Phipps
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The Power of the Cross

Throughout the Old Testament we see the Cross foreshadowed and foretold. But 
no message about the Cross is more poignant than the words of Jesus Himself.
During His last Passover meal with His disciples, Jesus said, "I have 
eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" (Luke 22:15).

Jesus was eager to eat that last Passover meal with them because He knew 
that the Cross would fulfill and complete the Passover. The Passover 
foreshadowed
the Cross through its sacrificing of animal blood. Once the blood of Christ 
was shed, the Passover had finally found its true fulfillment.

In the first Passover, people placed the shed blood of animals on their 
doorposts, so that the angel of death would pass by their homes and their 
firstborns
would live. In the final Passover, the angel of death will pass over and 
cannot touch any of those who are washed by the blood of the Lamb of God.

In the first Passover, people had to purchase their own animal sacrifices, 
whether they could afford it or not. But in the last Passover, Jesus paid 
the
price in full.

The Cross established Christ's memorial in the form of Communion. As Jesus 
celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples, He also began Communion, the
First Supper. Communion reminds us of the enormity of our sin, and the 
generosity of God's grace. Communion reminds us of the price that Jesus paid 
for
the forgiveness of sins.

Whenever we receive Communion, we must do so in humility and brokenness 
before God. We must rejoice and be grateful and thankful for our
salvation.

This Cross that fulfilled Passover and began Communion has power in our 
daily lives. When we live under the Cross of Christ, we can say to whatever 
guilt
or shame plaguing us: "Jesus nailed it all to the Cross." When Satan accuses 
us and reminds us of past sins, we can say, "Jesus nailed it all to the 
Cross."
When we are tempted to think of ourselves as failures, we can remind 
ourselves that Jesus made us victors when he nailed it to the Cross.

Only in the Cross of Christ will we receive power when we are powerless. We 
will find strength when we are weak. We will experience hope when our 
situation
is hopeless. Only in the Cross is there peace for our troubled hearts.

****

The circumstances of life do not have to get you down. Learn how you can 
turn negative situations into ones of hope and promise in our free resource 
this
month—"When Life Gets You Down, Look Up!"
Download it today.

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

The Betrayer

Max Lucado

“Judas had planned to give them a signal, saying, ‘The man I kiss is Jesus. 
Arrest him.’ At once Judas went to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Teacher!’ and
kissed him.”
Matthew 26:48–49
NCV

When betrayal comes, what do you do? Get out? Get angry? Get even? You have 
to deal with it some way. Let’s see how Jesus dealt with it.

Begin by noticing how Jesus saw Judas. “Jesus answered, ‘Friend, do what you 
came to do’” (
Matthew 26:50
NCV).

Of all the names I would have chosen for Judas, it would not have been 
“friend.”

What Judas did to Jesus was grossly unfair. There is no indication that 
Jesus ever mistreated Judas. When, during the Last Supper, Jesus told the 
disciples
that his betrayer sat at the table, they didn’t turn to one another and 
whisper, “It’s Judas. Jesus told us he would do this.” He had known it, but 
he
treated the betrayer as if he were faithful.

It’s even more unfair when you consider that the religious leaders didn’t 
seek him; Judas sought them. “What will you pay me for giving Jesus to you?”
he asked (
Matthew 26:15
NCV). The betrayal would have been more palatable had Judas been 
propositioned by the leaders, but he wasn’t. He propositioned them.

And Judas’ method . . . why did it have to be a kiss?

And why did he have to call him “Teacher”? That’s a title of respect.

The incongruity of his words, deeds, and actions—I wouldn’t have called 
Judas “friend.” But that is exactly what Jesus called him.

Why? Jesus could see something we can’t. He knew Judas had been seduced by a 
powerful foe. He was aware of the wiles of Satan’s whispers. He knew how 
hard
it was for Judas to do what was right.

He didn’t justify or minimize what Judas did. Nor did he release Judas from 
his choice. But he did look eye to eye with his betrayer and try to 
understand.

As long as you hate your enemy, a jail door is closed and a prisoner is 
taken. But when you try to understand and release your foe from your hatred, 
then
the prisoner is released and that prisoner is you.

[The above first appeared in
And the Angels Were Silent
by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson)]
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Welcome to the Nugget

April 26, 2014

The Prosperity Doctrine Exposed, Part 1: Introduction
By Answers2Prayer
(This 4-part study is Study #4 from the series, Studies From the Book of 
Job. You can access the other studies by clicking
here.)

Ever popular in our day and age is what has become known as "The Prosperity 
Doctrine."

If you ask a Christian just what this Prosperity Doctrine is, the response 
is generally insinuates the idea that God wants all believers to be 
prosperous.
The general teaching is that when believers give their money, they are 
enacting a spiritual principle that they believe guarantees them that their 
offering
will be multiplied and returned to them and will make them rich. Included in 
this doctrine is the idea that God rewards our good behavior, and 
conversely,
He punishes our bad behavior. Thus, we are essentially manipulating the hand 
of God. If we want something bad enough, all we have to do is be faithful
in our giving and believe hard enough, and God will come through for us in 
the way we want Him to.

A sound doctrine, right? Didn't Jesus tell us He came to give us abundantly 
life?

Yes, He did: "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 NKJV)

Aren't we told that our blessings would be heaped up, pressed down, and 
running over?

Absolutely! "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed 
down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For 
with
the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6:38, NIV2)

But does "abundant life" mean we will be rich and without want? Do the 
words, "For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" and "Give 
and
it will be given to you" mean that when we give money, we will get money in 
return?

Of course they can mean just that, but these texts do not limit God to 
returning our gifts with monetary blessings. An "abundant life" doesn't 
necessarily
mean one that is full of riches or absent of material want. It simply means 
a life that is full of God, a life rich in faith, a life fully committed to
Him. And anyone who has truly experienced such an abundant life will agree 
that it is far superior to having riches on earth!

Tragically, the prosperity doctrine reduces the Savior of the world to a 
means to an end, and not the end in and of Himself. But Jesus is the end. 
When
He died on the cross, there was nothing more that needed to be done, period!

This teaching, in general, often results in frustrated Christians. When God 
doesn't come through for us the way we want him too, faith crumbles and 
people
are left wondering if God even exists, or if He does, why He doesn't care 
about them. When we buy into this prosperity doctrine, we have basically 
reduced
the creature of this universe into one big cosmic Santa Claus.

Many people come to this ministry totally disheartened with God. When you 
probe into the reason for this disillusionment, you usually find one of 
three
things: God hasn't answered their prayers, God hasn't kept His promise of 
provision or protection, and God doesn't care about them because they have 
committed--or
continue to commit--too many sins. Whether they are aware of it or not, they 
have bought into the prosperity doctrine and trust has been broken.

Is the prosperity doctrine a new doctrine?

Not at all. Though modern charismatic teachers are purported as being the 
ones to push this doctrine in our day and age, I would not be the first to 
point
out that the roots of this doctrine can be seen throughout the history of 
Christianity, and even in Biblical times. In fact, if any of you have 
recently
read the book of Job, then the description of the prosperity doctrine sounds 
pretty familiar! Job and his three friends believed in the prosperity 
doctrine,
and this is why Job is accused of sin just because he is going through 
troubled times. This is also why Job is so puzzled. He feels he's being 
punished,
yet he doesn't feel he has sinned!

This doctrine was, in fact, so widely accepted in Job's day that it wasn't 
even considered to be a "controversial" doctrine. Rather we can understand 
by
reading through the book of Job that this was the only accepted doctrine. 
Job is being punished by God, and whether rightfully so, as his friends 
purported,
or wrongfully so, as Job claimed, the punishment was cruel and severe!

The next three parts of The Prosperity Doctrine Exposed will take a close 
look at the Truth that the book of Job has to teach us about prosperity. We 
will
see how the prosperity doctrine had completely infiltrated the mentality of 
Job's day, we will come to understand the potential dangers of this 
mentality,
and finally, will we uncover the Truth about prosperity.

Please join us next Saturday for The Prosperity Doctrine Exposed, Part 2: 
The Mentality of Job's Day Challenged.

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

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

In the Garden

Max Lucado

“Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His 
disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And He took Peter, James, and John with 
Him,
and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed.”
Mark 14:32–34

Go with me for a moment to witness what was perhaps the foggiest night in 
history. The scene is very simple; you’ll recognize it quickly. A grove of 
twisted
olive trees. Ground cluttered with large rocks. A low stone fence. A dark, 
dark night.

Now, look into the picture. Look closely through the shadowy foliage. See 
that solitary figure? Flat on the ground. Face stained with dirt and tears. 
Fists
pounding the hard earth. Eyes wide with a stupor of fear. Hair matted with 
salty sweat. Is that blood on his forehead?

That’s Jesus. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Maybe you’ve seen the classic portrait of Christ in the garden. Kneeling 
beside a big rock. Snow-white robe. Hands peacefully folded in prayer. A 
look
of serenity on his face. A halo over his head.

The painter didn’t use the Gospel of Mark as a pattern. When Mark wrote 
about that painful night, he used phrases such as these: “Horror and dismay 
came
over him,” “My heart is ready to break with grief,” and “He went a little 
forward and threw himself on the ground.”

Mark used black paint to describe this scene. We see an agonizing, 
straining, and struggling Jesus. We see a “man of sorrows” (
Isaiah 53:3
NASB). We see a man struggling with fear, wrestling with commitments, and 
yearning for relief.

We see Jesus in the fog of a broken heart.

The next time the fog finds you, remember Jesus in the garden. The next time 
you think that no one understands or cares, reread the fourteenth chapter
of Mark and pay a visit to Gethsemane. And the next time you wonder if God 
really perceives the pain that prevails on this dusty planet, listen to him
pleading among the twisted trees.

The next time you are called to suffer, pay attention.

It may be the closest you’ll ever get to God. Watch closely. It could very 
well be that the hand that extends itself to lead you out of the fog is a 
pierced
one.

[The above first appeared in
No Wonder They Call Him the Savior
by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson)]


C.S. Lewis Daily

Today's Reading

On hell

There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity 
than this, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture 
and,
specially, of Our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom; 
and it has the support of reason. If a game is played, it must be possible
to lose it. If the happiness of a creature lies in self-surrender, no one 
can make that surrender but himself (though many can help him to make it) 
and
he may refuse. I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully “All will 
be saved.” But my reason retorts, “Without their will, or with it?” If I say
“Without their will” I at once perceive a contra- diction; how can the 
supreme voluntary act of self-surrender be involuntary? If I say “With their 
will,”
my reason replies “How if they will not give in?”. . .

The doors of Hell are locked on the inside. I do not mean that the ghosts 
may not wish to come out of Hell, in the vague fashion wherein an envious 
man
“wishes” to be happy: but they certainly do not will even the first 
preliminary stages of that self-abandonment through which alone the soul can 
reach
any good. They enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded, and 
are therefore self-enslaved: just as the blessed, forever submitting to 
obedience,
become through all eternity more and more free.

From
The Problem of Pain
Compiled in
Words to Live By

The Problem of Pain. Copyright © 1940, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright 
restored © 1996 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.
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Ruth

Her name means: "Friendship"

Her character: Generous, loyal, and loving, she is strong and serene, able 
to take unusual risks, dealing actively with life circumstances.
Her sorrow: To have lost her husband, homeland, and family.
Her joy: To discover firsthand the generous, loyal, and loving nature of 
God, as he provided her with a husband, a son, and a home to call her own.
Key Scriptures:
Ruth 2-4
;
Matthew 1:5

Her Story

It was harvest time in Israel when Boaz first laid eyes on the young woman. 
The sun had painted the fields a tawny gold as workers swung their sickles
in even rhythms through the standing grain. According to Israel's law and 
custom, the poor had the right to gather whatever the harvesters missed.

Ruth toiled quickly and efficiently, he noticed, stuffing grain into a 
coarse sack slung across her shoulder. Strands of black hair escaped her 
head covering,
softly framing olive-colored skin, still smooth despite the sun. She rested, 
but only for a moment, her eyes wary for any sign of trouble from the men
working the fields. Gleaning was rough work and dangerous, especially for an 
attractive young foreigner, alone and unprotected.

Everyone in Bethlehem had been talking about Boaz's relative, Naomi, and her 
unexpected return. Ruth, he knew, had come with her. He had heard of their
shared tragedy and the extraordinary loyalty the young woman had displayed 
toward her mother-in-law, even promising to renounce Moab's idols for 
Israel's
God. A man could wish for such a friend as Ruth had been to Naomi.

Determined to repay her kindness in some way, Boaz called to her, "My 
daughter, listen to me. Don't go and glean in another field and don't go 
away from
here. Stay here with my servant girls. Watch the field where the men are 
harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to 
touch
you." The young woman smiled her agreement.

Later he spoke to Ruth again, this time offering bread and roasted grain for 
her dinner. When she finished eating, Boaz instructed his men to pull out
some stalks of grain and strew them in her path. It was good to see her 
leaving that night with a bulging harvest sack.

Day after day, he watched her, aware that the wheat and barley harvest would 
soon be drawing to a close. One evening, Boaz and the other men were 
winnowing
barley on the threshing floor. After he had finished eating and drinking, he 
lay down under the stars at the far end of the grain pile. With so many men
to guard the harvest, robbers wouldn't dare approach. But in the middle of 
the night he woke with a start, realizing that someone had dared. To his 
surprise,
he discovered the intruder was neither a robber nor a man, but a woman who 
lay at his feet.

She, too, was awake. "I am your servant, Ruth," she whispered. "Spread the 
corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer."

He could hardly believe her words. The young woman had taken a remarkable 
risk, appearing at night and lying down so close to him. Quickly, he covered
her, saying, "The Lord bless you. This kindness is greater than that which 
you showed Naomi: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or 
poor.
And now, my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask." So 
Ruth lay at his feet until morning, rising before the early light could 
reveal
her presence to others.

But Boaz knew there was one obstacle that could yet spoil things. Naomi had 
a closer relative than Boaz, a man who could play the role of 
kinsman-redeemer,
marrying Ruth and restoring her dead husband's name. This man was entitled 
to purchase a field belonging to Naomi. If he purchased the field, by law he
had to marry Ruth as well. That would destroy Boaz's hope of making Ruth his 
wife.

Boaz wasted no time putting the case before the man, who seemed interested 
enough in the land. But as soon as the man discovered that marriage was part
of the bargain, he relinquished his rights to the land to Boaz.

So the two were married and the older man welcomed the young woman into his 
home. And God blessed them with a son, whom they named Obed.

Pulling Ruth close to him, Boaz watched one day as Naomi held her grandson 
to her breast. Surrounded by the other women of Bethlehem, she looked young
again, more like the woman he remembered when her husband, Elimelech, had 
been alive. He watched as the women talked with Naomi regarding the child: 
"Praise
be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. 
May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain 
you
in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better 
to you than seven sons, has given him birth."

Yes, Boaz thought, his Ruth was better to Naomi than seven sons. And he was 
grateful for the friendship between the two women. Had Ruth and Naomi gone
their separate ways, his life would have been so much the poorer.

The good-hearted Boaz felt strong and young again. But even he couldn't have 
realized how greatly God had blessed him in the person of Ruth. For their
son, Obed, became the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of David. In 
addition to being King David's great-grandparents, both Boaz and Ruth are
mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus of Nazareth, who is, after all, our own 
great Kinsman-Redeemer, uniting us to himself, healing our sorrows, and 
giving
us, as well, a future full of hope.

Her Promise

All that Ruth did was done for love of her mother-in-law, and for love of 
Naomi's God. She made a promise on the road to Bethlehem that she was 
determined
to keep. Though it was a promise made by one woman to another, it is often 
quoted in wedding ceremonies as an eloquent expression of love and loyalty 
between
spouses.

Ruth had no way of knowing that her way of blessing Naomi would eventually 
become a blessing in her own life. That's just the divine irony of our God,
who delights so much in seeing us love and bless others that he turns that 
love and blessing back on us in double measure.

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

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

A Norvell Note

Vol. 17 No. 15 April 21, 2014

And Then...

The longer I live the more convinced I am that we live a significant portion 
of our live in the �And Then�� phase. It began with the first disciples.

They met Jesus.

And then�He invited them to follow Him.

And then�they put their trust in this man Jesus.

And then�they left everything to follow Him.

And then�they watched Him touch people, heal people, transform people, stand 
firm against opposition, and reveal His true identity as the Son of God.

And then�He was arrested.

And then�He died on a cross.

And then�they were confused.

And then�they went their separate ways.

And then�they mourned and grieved and tried to makes sense of it all.

And then�they heard that the tomb was empty.

And then�they came together.

And then�they saw Him alive again.

And then�He breathed into them the Spirit of the Living God.

And then�they waited.

And then�they gathered.

And then�Peter preached.

And then�thousands of people responded.

And then�the news of what they were doing began to spread.

And then�the powers and rulers of the world tried to stop them.

And then�they continued to preach and teach the good news of Jesus.

And then�the powers and rulers of the world became more agitated and 
threatened them.

And then�they did not stop.

And then�the preached and taught with more courage, a stronger resolve, and 
greater boldness.

And then�the message of Jesus was proclaimed all over the world.

And then�the Kingdom increased.

And then�more and more and more have come to know Jesus as the story 
continues to be shared throughout the generations.

And then�it is our turn.

We come into the world like everyone else. Beyond our family and circle of 
friends there is little fanfare and the news of our arrival escapes the 
notice
of most of the world. Our journey begins.

And then�we meet Jesus.

And then�He invites us to follow Him.

And then�we choose to follow Him.

And then�we grow and mature.

And then�we consider making decisions and choices that will determine how we 
live the rest of our lives.

And then�life comes at us with full force.

And then�we pray for strength.

And then�strength and power come to us through His promised Holy Spirit.

And then�we face more trials and troubles and struggles and the forces of 
evil.

And then�we lose a loved one.

And then�we hear of another marriage that has fallen apart.

And then�our own marriage and family experiences difficult times.

And then�we hear of another minister who has had a moral failure.

And then�we hear of another son who has wandered off into the far country.

And then�we hear of another daughter who has chosen a path that could lead 
her to regret or destruction.

And then�we hear of another church that has been rocked by selfishness, 
division and unrest.

And then�we turn to God in prayer.

And then�we pray more.

And then�we wait for Him to act.

And then�we overcome.

And then�we share our stories of how God has sustained us and strengthened 
us.

And then�we give testimony of God�s amazing power that has always been at 
work in us.

And then�others are encouraged and strengthened by the story of our walk 
with the Lord.

And then�they meet Jesus.

And then�God continues to be glorified.

Tom

A Norvell Note � Copyright 2014. Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.

Persevering through Pressure
by Charles R. Swindoll

Hebrews 6:18

Doubts often steal into our lives like termites into a house. These 
termite-like thoughts eat away at our faith. Usually, we can hold up pretty 
well under
this attack. But occasionally, when a strong gale comes along---a sudden, 
intense blast---we discover we cannot cope. Our house begins to lean. For 
some
people it completely collapses. It is during these stormy times, during the 
dark days and nights of tragedy and calamity, that we begin to feel the 
destructive
effects of our doubts---running like stress fractures through the structure 
of our lives.

For me, there are three times when the intensity of doubt reaches maximum 
proportions.

One such time is when things I believe should never happen, occur. There are 
times when my loving, gracious, merciful, kind, good, sovereign God 
surprises
me by saying yes to something I was convinced He would say no to. When bad 
things happen to good people.

I once received a letter from a woman who heard a talk I had given entitled 
"Riding Out the Storm." Little did she know how meaningful it would be to 
her.
Just as she was entering into the truth of that message, she arrived at home 
to discover that her young, recently married daughter had been brutally 
murdered.

Why did God say yes to that? Why did that bad thing happen to that good 
person? The effect of such termites within our soul is great. They eat away 
at
us, and doubt wins a hearing.

Doubts also increase when things I believe should happen, never occur (the 
other side of the coin). When I expected God to say yes but He said no. 
Numerous
parents of young men and women have said good-bye and sent their children 
away to war, convinced God would bring them home again. But sometimes He 
says
no.

Joni Eareckson Tada (and a thousand like her) trust confidently for awhile 
that the paralysis will go away---that God will say, "Yes, I'll get you 
through
this. I'll teach you some deep lessons, and then I will use you with full 
health in days to come as I heal you completely." But God ultimately says 
no.
When we expect Him to say yes and He says no, doubts multiply.

The third situation in which doubts grow takes place when things that I 
believe should happen now, occur much, much later. Of all the doubts which 
creep
into our soul perhaps few are more devastating than those that happen when 
we are told by God, in effect. "Wait, wait, wait, wait . . . wait . . . 
wait!"
All of us have wrestled greatly with His timing.

These "pressure points" provide a perfect introduction to the verses in 
Hebrews 6. This is that great chapter that begins with a strong warning, 
continues
with words of affirmation, and closes with words of reassurance and ringing 
confidence. It addresses the Christian hanging on by his fingernails as he
feels himself sliding down the hill. It shouts: "Persevere! Hang tough! Be 
strong! Don't quit!" Even when God says no, and you expected yes. Even when
He says yes, and you anticipated no. And especially when He says to wait, 
and you expected it now.

If you're in that painful space right now, my word for you is: persevere! 
Hope in God---this is not the end.

Excerpted from Avoiding Stress Fractures, Copyright © 1990, 1995 by Charles 
R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Gift of Healing

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

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

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

Jesus said the following right before He ascended up to heaven:

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Dean W. Masters

Owner of the Master's List

Bread and Stones
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Culture Editor

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this 
world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. –
John 16:33

I have always had trouble with the following verses in Matthew 7,

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door 
will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; 
and
to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Which of you, if his son asks 
for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a
snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to 
your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to 
those
who ask him!”-
Matthew 7:7-11

I first heard this verse when I was a little kid, and like most children, I 
tried to take full advantage of it. I prayed for toys, for snow days in 
winter,
or that I’d get to watch an extra hour of TV that day. As you might expect, 
these prayers didn’t always get positive results. As I got older, my prayers
became a little more mature, only they still didn’t always get answered. 
These weren't selfish prayers either.

I would pray that my friend’s dad would find a job, or that sick members of 
our congregation would be healed. So why did my prayers go unanswered? Some
groups would say that if you just have enough
faith
God will make your life perfect, and nothing bad will ever happen to you 
again. Well, if you look at the lives of the apostles, you’ll see that 
philosophy
doesn’t hold water. They were Jesus' first disciples, and they spent their 
lives in prison, beaten by mobs, or facing execution under the Roman Empire.

So what does this mean for us? I think it means we live in a world full of 
Sin, and bad things are going to happen. It means that sometimes when God 
answers
our prayers, what is needed turns out to be much different than what we 
wanted. Maybe you prayed that someone would find a job, but instead God asks 
you
to be a friend in a tough time. Maybe you asked for an opportunity to serve 
abroad, but instead God tells you to serve the people next door. Sometimes
we pray for healing, but what God gives us is a shoulder to cry on.

Life will always be hard. At times, we will be tempted to believe that God 
either doesn’t exist or doesn’t care. But though our ability to understand 
God’s
purposes is limited, we can take comfort in the knowledge that his love is 
limitless. God never abandon us, he is there for us in our times of joy and
to help us in our times of pain, if we only let him.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Are there unanswered prayers weighing on your 
heart? Take a moment to reflect on Christ and know that he loves you.

Further Reading

Psalm 23

12 Ways Christians Can be Less Mean

Ron Edmondson

I wrote a post recently encouraging Christians to be less mean—especially 
online. It was called “
When Did Christians Become So Mean?


It seems to me, we’ve lost some of our civility when it comes to what we 
post on social media. We are quick to blast a company that we feel has 
wronged us. We criticize people — right on their Facebook page. We load the 
comments of a blog post with crushing blows.

Surely you’ve seen it. The web has made it much easier to be a critic.

But, it’s also in public. I’ve seen Christians I know act like jerks in a 
restaurant or grocery store. I consistently hear of bosses who serve smiling 
on Sunday but are mean to employees during the week.

It all has to hurt our witness as Christians.

The post got a little attention.

Actually, some people, proved the need for the post by the way they 
responded.
Smile

Still others asked for some suggestions of how we could improve—some even 
wanted examples.

I decided not to share specific examples. In my opinion, that would be mean. 
So, you’re meanness will remain anonymous in this post. If you are mean, 
most likely others already know your name.

I did decide to share some ways we can be “less mean” online.

Here are a dozen suggestions:

Consider others better than yourself. (
Philippians 2:3)

Forgive one another. (
Ephesians 4:32)

Love one another. (
John 13:34)

Be kind and compassionate to one another. (
Ephesians 4:32)

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. 
(
James 1:19)

Treat others as you would want to be treated. (
Luke 6:31)

Have the mind of Christ. (
Philippians 2:5)

Remember kindness leads to repentance. (
Romans 2:4)

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. (
Psalm 34:13)

Honor everyone. (
1 Peter 2:17)

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and 
helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. 
(
Ephesians 4:29)

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing 
honor. (
Romans 12:10)

Just a few of those should improve the quality of our online involvement.

And, finally, a bonus one:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, 
kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if 
one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has 
forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, 
which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (
Colossians 3:12–14)

Those are some of my suggestions.

Got any others?
Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at:
http://www.ronedmondson.com/about

Jesus Purges the Temple

Max Lucado

“And He said to them, ‘It is written, “My house shall be called a house of 
prayer,” but you have made it a “den of thieves.”’”
Matthew 21:13

It was Passover week. The Passover was the highlight of the Jewish calendar. 
People came from all regions and many countries to be present for the 
celebration.
Upon arriving, they were obligated to meet two requirements.

First, an animal sacrifice, usually a dove. The dove had to be perfect, 
without blemish. If you brought a sacrifice from your own source, it would 
be considered
insufficient by the authorities in the temple. So, under the guise of 
keeping the sacrifice pure, the sellers sold doves—at their price.

Second, the people had to pay a yearly temple tax. During Passover, the tax 
had to be rendered in local currency. Knowing many foreigners would be in 
Jerusalem
to pay the tax, money changers conveniently set up tables and offered to 
exchange the foreign money for local—for a modest fee, of course.

It’s not difficult to see what angered Jesus. Pilgrims journeyed days to see 
God, to witness the holy, to worship his Majesty. But before they were taken
into the presence of God, they were taken to the cleaners.

Want to anger God? Get in the way of people who want to see him. Exploit 
people in the name of God.

In Christ stormed. Doves flapped and tables flew. People scampered and 
traders scattered.

This was not an impulsive show or temper tantrum. It was a deliberate act 
with an intentional message. God will never hold guiltless those who exploit
the privilege of worship.

Christ’s passion on Monday is indignance. There are hucksters in God’s 
house. Remember why Jesus purged the temple. Those closest to it may be the 
farthest
from it.

[The above first appeared in And the Angels Were Silent
by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson)]
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The Lord’s Battle

1 Samuel 18:17

The Christian is involved in a continual war, with Jesus Christ as the 
Captain of their salvation. He has said, "Behold, I am with you always, to 
the end of the age."2 Listen to the battle cries! Now let the people of God 
stand firm in their ranks, and let no man's heart fail him. We may feel in 
these days that we are losing the battle and unless the Lord Jesus shall 
lift His sword we do not know what may become of the church of God in our 
time; but let us be courageous and bold.

Seldom has there been a time like this as biblical Christianity trembles on 
the brink of capitulation to pluralism and empty religious routine. We are 
in great need of a bold voice and a strong hand to preach and publish the 
Gospel for which martyrs bled and confessors died. The Savior is, by His 
Spirit, still on earth; let this encourage us. He is always ever in the 
middle of the fight, and therefore the outcome of the battle is not in 
doubt. And as the conflict rages, what a deep satisfaction it
is to know that the Lord Jesus, in His office as our great Intercessor, is 
prevalently pleading for His people!

Turn your anxious gaze from the battle below, where, enshrouded in smoke, 
the faithful fight in garments rolled in blood. And lift your eyes above 
where the Savior lives and pleads, for while He intercedes, the cause of God 
is safe. Let us fight as if it all depended upon us, but let us look up and 
know that it all depends upon Him.

On the basis of our Savior's atoning sacrifice and in the strength of the 
Holy Spirit's power, we charge you who love Jesus to fight bravely in this 
holy war, for truth and righteousness, for the kingdom and the crown. 
Onward! The battle is not yours but God's, and you will yet hear Him say, 
"Well done, brave warrior, well done!"

2Matthew 28:20

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Ecclesiastes 7

verse 2 2 Timothy 3

Click here to learn more about
Truth For Life

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

PresbyCan Daily Devotional

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Today's Devotional

Faithful Servants

Matthew 25:21 – Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful 
with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share
your master's happiness! (NIV)

It has been an eye-opener to me to find the many servants representing Jesus 
in my life. Many have shown their special gift in servanthood, walking the
second mile with me.

I recall an incident when I enquired of church members if any would 
volunteer to drive me to the eye clinic in the next city. I had used the 
Greyhound
bus, rain or shine, snow and wind, but my strength was tested, and so I 
timidly asked for help. A voice behind me said that she was available. It 
happened
so fast that she would earnestly desire to be of help. The result was God's 
arrangement for long service and fellowship.

I have been so blessed to hear a voice say, "I am available! Let me be your 
servant. Let me be as Christ to you." That is what that voice was to me.

I have been in good company countless times, because not only the driver but 
also her friend comes along for the journey, and so I am doubly blessed on
the pilgrimage. We are there to be with each other and walk the mile and 
bear the load together—to weep with me when I weep, and laugh with me when I 
laugh,
sharing our joys and sorrows, till we see the journey through.

God is rich in ways to improve our lives here on this planet. Before we even 
think of asking, God already has a plan. It means meeting servants that He
has available to serve and friends to share wide experiences in the walk of 
faith and the trustworthiness of God.

To find such harmony is from God! To find such tireless friendship is of 
God! To find such pilgrims to travel with is from God! I am a recipient of 
God's
goodness to me! God has granted His resources at my disposal in my time of 
need. I thank God for all His benefits to me, a poor sinner!

I pray for God's rich reward for His servants who have done well. I suspect 
the rewards to be greater than we can imagine. Oh! To hear His voice of 
commendation
when we meet Him face-to-face in glory: "Well done, good and faithful 
servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord!"

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, Your ways are out of this world! Thank You for 
the Christ in Your servants here to whom You have given the grace to serve.
Bless all Your servants, in the name of Jesus. Amen!

Kirsti Sipila Brantford, Ontario, Canada

Thought for Today: As we age, work is less fun and fun is more work.
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List


GRACE
Experiencing LIFE Today - April 18, 2014

“He who has not felt what sin is in the Old Testament knows little what 
grace is in the New. He who has not trembled in Moses, and wept in David, 
and wondered in Isaiah will rejoice little in Matthew or rest little in 
John. He who has not suffered under the Law will scarcely hear the glad 
sound of the gospel.” — R. W. Barbour

Grace is amazing—and I use “amazing” in its truest sense. When we 
contemplate grace, it should leave us shaking our heads in wonder, and 
raising our hands in praise. In pure undiluted form, grace is stunning… yet, 
I’m afraid that our flesh tends to water it down over time. A modern 
rendition of Newton’s classic hymn, “Amazing Grace,” would sound like this: 
“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a pretty good guy like me. I 
once was directionally challenged, but now I’m found. I once needed
some corrective lenses, but now I see.”

You probably know how the hymn really goes, and that it is an echo of 
biblical truth. Grace saved “a wretch like me.” Not a “pretty good guy,” but 
a self-centered, independent mess. Scripture is very clear that all our good 
works in the flesh are but filthy rags, stinking rags in the nostrils of 
God. I “was lost,” not directionally challenged or just a little off track; 
I was completely wandering in ignorance. My vision wasn’t a little fuzzy, “I 
was blind.” Everything was black. I couldn’t see a
thing, but He opened my eyes and I now see truth.

And, this seeing, this “founded-ness,” and this life are a result of His 
amazing grace.

In 2 Timothy 2:1 the apostle Paul said to his young protégé: “You then, my 
son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

That’s a command. It’s an imperative. Be strong in that grace. Own it. 
Appropriate it. Ponder grace regularly so that it never ceases to amaze you 
that a just and holy God loves you and embraces you because it is His nature 
and joy to do so.

God, keep grace amazing in my soul. May the Spirit prompt my mind to think 
about it often; may my emotions feel it deeply; and may my will bend to it 
continually. Amen.

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

Her name means: "My Joy" or "Pleasant"

Her character: Suffering a threefold tragedy, Naomi refused to hide Her 
Sorrow or bitterness. Believing in God's sovereignty, she attributed her 
suffering
to his will. But her fixation on circumstances, both past and present, led 
to hopelessness. A kind and loving mother-in-law, she inspired unusual love
and loyalty in her daughters-in-law.
Her sorrow: To have lost a husband and two sons in a foreign land, far from 
family and friends.
Her joy: To have returned safely to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law Ruth, 
who would eventually rekindle her happiness and hope.
Key Scriptures:
Ruth 1
;
4:13-17

Her Story

She stood like an old tree twisted against the sky. Though Naomi could see 
for miles from her vantage point high on the road that led from Moab to 
Judah,
she could glimpse nothing at all of her future. She thought about robbers, 
rumored on the road ahead. What more, she wondered, could possibly be taken
from her? Her thoughts strayed to the past.

Moses, she knew, had been buried somewhere in these mountains. But his 
people and hers had moved west into Canaan centuries earlier. Would she, 
too, be
left behind, prevented from ever seeing her kinsfolk again? Was God so 
displeased with her?

Ten years ago, she and her husband, Elimelech, had lived happily in 
Bethlehem. But the city whose name meant "house of bread" suddenly had none, 
so they
had migrated to the highlands of Moab to escape the famine. Then Elimelech 
had died and her sons had married Moabite women, whose race had descended 
from
Abraham's nephew, Lot. Plenty of women lost their husbands. Like them, she 
would find a way to survive. But then she had suffered the worst grief a 
mother
could—outliving her own children.

Now Ruth and Orpah, her daughters-in-law, were the only kin she had in Moab. 
Loving them tenderly, she felt their widowhood as a double grief. Together
they had cried and comforted each other. The three women finally decided to 
leave Moab for Bethlehem. But once on the road, Naomi's misgivings outran 
her
craving for companionship. It wasn't right for young women to forsake their 
families and friends for so uncertain a future. What chance would they, 
widows
and strangers, have in Bethlehem, even now that the famine had run its 
course?

"Go back, each of you, to your mother's home," she told them. "May the Lord 
show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the Lord
grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband."

But Orpah and Ruth insisted, "We will go back with you to your people."

"Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could 
become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have 
another
husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a 
husband tonight and then gave birth to sons—would you wait until they grew 
up?"

The three women embraced, tears streaking their cheeks. Then Orpah kissed 
her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clutched Naomi and whispered fiercely, 
"Where
you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my 
people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be 
buried.
May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death 
separates you and me."

The old woman's stubbornness was no match for the younger woman's love. And 
so Naomi and Ruth continued on to Bethlehem. After so long an absence, 
Naomi's
return created a great commotion in the town, and all the women welcomed 
her, saying, "Can this be Naomi?"

"Don't call me Naomi," she told them. "Call me Mara [meaning 'bitter'], 
because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the 
Lord
has brought me back empty. The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has 
brought misfortune upon me."

Naomi could not see past her suffering. Like many of us, she may have felt 
as though her tragedies were punishment for her sins. Yet had she known the
blessings in store, she might not have felt so hopeless. Instead, she may 
have compared herself to the tree that Job so graciously describes:

At least there is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant. -
Job 14:7-9

Though she didn't know it, the scent of water was in the air. Naomi's life 
was beginning again, her story still unfolding.

Her Promise

God's faithfulness to restore to fullness an empty life is revealed more in 
this story of Naomi than in any other biblical account. The famine and 
hunger
that drove Naomi and her husband and sons away from Bethlehem are finally 
replaced with full harvests and bread baked from grain gleaned in the 
fields.
The anguish of losing her husband and sons is replaced with the loving care 
and concern of her daughter-in-law Ruth, who is "better to [Naomi] than 
seven
sons" (
Ruth 4:15).
And Naomi's empty mother-arms are filled with the son of Boaz and Ruth. She 
is no absent grandmother; the Scriptures say Naomi took Obed and "laid him
in her lap and cared for him" (
Ruth 4:16).
(We'll hear more about this grandson in the next chapter.)

Like Naomi, we may have trouble recognizing God's goodness and his 
faithfulness at times. But he is still with us no matter the circumstances.

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.

Living Free Every Day®
Today's Scripture

"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." -
Romans 12:10
NIV

Thoughts for Today

Family love means we are to honor one another. We are to treat our brothers 
and sisters with respect and never think we are better than they are. We are 
to put the needs of other people before our own. We are to live with a 
servant's heart.

Jesus gave us such a beautiful example of honoring others when he washed the 
feet of the disciples. God the Son humbled himself by kneeling down and 
washing the feet of those he was teaching. The magnitude of that act of 
humility is beyond our comprehension. He tells us to follow his example: 
"Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should 
wash one another’s feet" (John 13:14 NIV). Jesus calls us to have a 
servant's heart.

Honoring others can have many faces. Reaching out to do practical acts of 
service to help others--even when the task is unpleasant or inconvenient. 
Submitting to someone else's idea and helping pursue it even when we think 
our idea is better. Respecting other people's opinions even when they differ 
from ours. Staying in the background and allowing others to be credited for 
a job well done.

Consider this …

God has a plan for each believer. And as believers around the world carry 
out those plans, his will can be accomplished. Instead of competing with 
other believers or ministries, we are called to honor and support them. 
Instead of envying other people's gifts and talents, we are called to 
encourage them.

As we learn to honor one another with love, we will show this competitive 
world that Jesus does make a difference. As we honor one another, we will 
accomplish more for the kingdom. And, most important, as we honor one 
another, we will please our Lord. .

Prayer

Father, help me remember to honor my brothers and sisters. To respect them 
and their ideas. To serve them with humility. In Jesus' name . . .

These thoughts were drawn from …
Insight Group: Discover the Path to Christian Character
by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. With its emphasis on developing Christian character 
it is a powerful group for those who want to be sure to prevent 
life-controlling problems from developing in their lives, as well as for 
those who need to overcome a current problem.

• It enhances people's understanding of themselves and others.
• It helps people bond together in meaningful relationships.
• It helps prepare people for more meaningful relationships in subsequent 
small groups like home groups and Sunday school classes.
• It surfaces people for help who may otherwise never seek help.
• It helps break down the segregation of people in churches, turning "those 
people" and "our kind of people" into just "us."
• It helps prepare people to minister to others.
• It serves as a powerful evangelistic tool by ministering to people's felt 
needs and then pointing them to Christ.

Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we 
encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used 
effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.

PO Box 22127 ~ Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421 ~ 423-899-4770
© Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every 
Day devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share 
with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN. 
Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may 
be requested by sending e-mail to
info@LivingFree.org.

Global Prayer Digest People of the Day
Betawi People of Jakarta
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Betawi People of Jakarta

Apr 19, 2014 12:59 am

Today's Devotional

John 11:25, RSV "I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, 
though he die, yet shall he live."

The good news may be hard to believe for people who have never heard about 
God coming down to earth in human form, dying on the cross for our sins and
rising from dead. But there are many people in Jakarta, Indonesia, who 
believe in Christ and His resurrection from the dead.

Pray for these Christian people to aggressively seek out the Betawi and with 
much prayer show them love and concern. How will they learn about Christ if
nobody tells them? Pray Jesus’ resurrection life and power will move through 
the Betawi people in Jakarta in such a way that they cannot deny His 
resurrection
power.-RR

Today's People Group

Indonesia is a country that has continued to merge old-world beliefs with 
today’s technology. To live in Indonesia is to constantly walk this 
tightrope.
For the Betawi people daily life is a steady showcase of this tension, with 
traditional Islamic beliefs and practices such as early arranged marriage of
daughters contrasting with online dating services and high tech jobs.

The Betawi people are artistic and expressive, but they are also known to be 
short-tempered and direct. Those living in Jakarta work as government 
employees,
laborers, or craftsmen. Betawi youth are less inclined to follow the 
traditions of their parents, which leads to family tensions, seen much more 
in the
larger, populated areas. The education level among the Betawi is low, partly 
due to their belief that education will make them similar to the ethnic 
Chinese
or the colonial Dutch, both of whom they abhor. Another source of opposition 
to formal education comes from Muslim teachers who encourage enrollment in
Islamic schools rather than the government run schools.

Islam is not only the dominant religion of the Betawi, but it is also the 
cultural identifier. For a person to be a true Betawi he must be a Muslim. 
There
is also a degree of animism mixed in with their spiritual beliefs.

Pray for a spiritual breakthrough among the Betawi people, especially in 
Jakarta. Pray that God would send the right people to them to demonstrate 
His love.
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The Gift of Faith

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

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

Here is what Matthew Henry says about this gift:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Reasons Why You Need Community

Debra Fileta

I love to talk about relationships.

As a
Professional Counselor
and
Author,
it’s a topic that I’m passionate about and one that I feel led to write 
about, speak about, and even just think about. But sometimes I wonder if our 
Christian culture at large tends to get fixated on romantic relationships, 
without remembering the other important relationships that God calls us 
into.

In order to learn about love, we need people.

The concept of Christian community is such an important part of love, 
because it’s within the context of relationships that we have the 
opportunity to express and receive love. God is so creative, in that He gave 
us a body of believers as a way to experience the give-and-take of love, no 
matter what our “romantic” relationship-status.

Here are some reasons why it’s really important to be in relationship with 
other believers:

1. Community challenges you to be more like Jesus
(Hebrews 10:24-25).
Nothing makes you more like Jesus than the daily grind of interactions with 
others. We often think about marriage when it comes to this refining 
process, but the truth is God also gives us community as a way to become 
more like him. God’s word reminds us that we are put in relationships in 
order to encourage one another in our pursuit of God and his Kingdom. It’s 
within the context of community that we are given the opportunity to be 
refined as followers of Christ.

2. Community meets practical needs
(Acts 2:42-47).
Just like in the early church, community is a place where we come to get our 
physical needs met. We need to learn to let down our walls and ask for help 
from our brothers and sisters in Christ. Whether we need someone to pick up 
medicine for us when we’re sick, cook us a meal at the end of a long week, 
or help us carry a financial burden - the body of Christ was made to support 
and love one another in practical ways. We can learn a lot about love within 
the exchange of practical needs.

3. Community carries you emotionally
(Galatians 6:2).
Just as important as physical needs are the emotional needs we carry through 
life. We are given the the responsibility to support each other in hard 
times, and to carry one another’s burdens. As much as we need to be 
available for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we also need to have the 
courage to ask them to come alongside of us when we’re the ones in need of 
support, prayer, or a shoulder to cry on. It’s important to learn to be real 
with one another, because that’s what true community is all
about.

4. Community reveals your gifts and talents
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
Two are better than one, because there is double the strength, double the 
stamina, and double the talents. Within the context of community we’re given 
the opportunity to discover our gifts and our talents, and to use them to 
bless others. We’re each given a very specific role in the body of Christ 
and it is within these relationships that our roles can be used to glorify 
God to the fullest. We’re part of something really special (
1 Corinthians 12:27).

5. Community opens your eyes to the needs of others
(1 Thessalonians 5:14).
Within community we are encouraged to look around at the needs of those 
around us. We’re called to strengthen those who are weak and to and 
encourage those who are down and out. Community calls us out of our 
self-centeredness and self-absorption by giving us the responsibility to 
look outward.

6. Community empowers your relationship with God
(Proverbs 27:17).
There is something real about the concept of power in numbers. When we are 
surrounded by other believers, we feel empowered in our faith and may even 
be more sensitive to God’s presence in our lives. There’s something powerful 
about believers joining together, making each other accountable and being a 
sort of a witness of one another’s lives. We need people checking in on us, 
asking the hard questions, and challenging us to really live out our faith.

7. Community meets our need for love
(Proverbs 17:17).
There’s no denying that we are men and women who crave love. We were made 
to, by a relational God who longs for us to be in relationship with him. But 
even more amazing, is that God gives us the gift of each other as a way to 
meet our earthly needs for love. This brotherly love (phileo) that we’re 
given is a beautiful representation of the greatest Friend who laid down his 
life for us. We’re also called to love each other in this beautiful way.

8. Community offers opportunities for confession which leads to healing
(James 5:16).
There’s power in confession. It gives us the chance to bring to light the 
things that have been holding us back in darkness. Within community, we’re 
given the opportunity to get real with one another, to confess our sins, and 
to break free from the things that are holding us back from living God’s 
best life. True community requires transparency, authenticity, and 
confession.

9. Community teaches you to work through conflicts
(1 Corinthians 1:10).
Bring any group of people together and one thing is certain: conflict is 
inevitable. But we’re called to work through our divisions with one another 
as the body of believers. We’re asked to be a united body, which isn’t 
always easy, nor natural. It’s a humbling experience that teaches us to lay 
down our pride, to learn assertiveness, and to enhance our communication. We 
need each other, because it’s within the messiness of relationships with one 
other that we’re reminded of our desperate need for
him.

10. Community gives you the chance to forgive
(1 Peter 4:8-11).
There is nothing more beautiful than the picture of the gospel displayed 
through our healthy interactions as a body of believers. Within this body we’re 
bound to get hurt, and then guaranteed the opportunity to forgive. We get to 
feel what Jesus felt as he suffered wounds at the hands of the people he 
loved, and then loved them anyway. This is the hardest part about community, 
but it’s the part that makes us most like him.

It’s time to recognize your God-ordained need for people, and then seek to 
build relationships with the people God has placed in your life. As you 
think through this list and read through the last few posts about community, 
ask yourself how much you’ve allowed your relationships with people to 
impact your life and your faith? What is holding you back?

Article ran originally on
truelovedates.com.
Used with permission.

Debra K. Fileta is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in 
Relationship and Marital issues. She, her husband and two children live in 
Hershey, PA. She is the author of the new book
True Love Dates
(Zondervan, 2013), challenging young men and women to do dating in a way 
that is psychologically sound, emotionally healthy and spiritually grounded. 
Visit www.truelovedates.com
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The eyes of your heart!

(James Smith,
"Food for the Soul" 1867)

"He has opened my eyes!" John 9:30

When Jesus opened my eyes . . .
I saw what a vile sinner I was;
I saw what fearful danger I was in; and
I saw what a glorious Savior He was!

When I first saw His beauty--I thought I would never take my eyes off Him!

When I first tasted that He was gracious--I imagined I would never lose the 
relish!

When I first felt Him to be precious to my soul--it appeared to me that I 
would never value anything else!

Blessed Jesus, you have opened my eyes--or they would have been forever 
closed to my danger, Your loveliness, and Your salvation!

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that 
you may know . . .
the hope to which He has called you,
the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and
His incomparably great power for us who believe!"
Ephesians 1:18-19



Sharing the Excitement

When the Samaritan woman accepted Jesus as the long awaited Messiah, she was 
instantly transformed into a new being. When something new and exciting 
happens in your life, what do you do? Share it with your friends and 
neighbors. The woman at the well was so thrilled she left her water jug 
behind in her eagerness to tell everyone what Christ had done for her!

She went back to the streets where she had previously walked in shame with 
her eyes downcast as people whispered unkindly about her. She had given her 
sin and guilt to Jesus and now could boldly engage each and every person she 
met in earnest conversation about her amazing experience. In short, she 
became a witness. John 4:27-42 tells the story.

Many Christians talk about witnessing but most don’t have a truly accurate 
view of what being a witness means. To better understand the term, just look 
at what a witness in a court trial does. His duty is simple: to tell the 
truth about what he experienced. He is not responsible for fully 
understanding the law or the process; he is only obligated to tell what he 
saw and heard. Telling others what we experienced when we met Jesus is our 
duty as witnesses for Christ, and it should be our joy to do
so. How can we keep the gift of salvation quiet and not share it with 
others?

The Samaritan woman was not a Bible scholar and did not fully understand all 
that had just happened to her, yet she could not contain her excitement. Her 
simple testimony was to tell everyone she met, “Come and see.” That sums up 
our role as witnesses: we are to invite others to come and see what Jesus 
has to offer them. We are messengers, bearers of the most valuable 
invitation people will ever receive.

Christians are often relieved to learn they are not responsible for saving 
souls; that role is divine and not ours. Just as a witness is not 
responsible for the verdict, we are not held accountable for whether the 
people we invite to know Jesus ever accept that invitation. A witness only 
tells his experience and then leaves the outcome up to the judge or jury. 
In the same way, we share the Good News and then the Holy Spirit takes over.

What was most effective about the Samaritan woman was the joy that 
overflowed from her changed heart. She went from being a woman who drew 
water in the heat of the day to avoid contact with the townspeople to 
actively engaging everyone she knew to tell of her wonderful experience. Her 
simple testimony, unschooled and incomprehensive, was highly effective. 
Verse 39 says, “…Many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word 
of the woman who testified…”

Do you want God to use you more this year to witness to the wonder of His 
love, mercy and grace? We must first start with confession of any sin in 
our own hearts and repentance. Even worldwide revival must start with facing 
our own sin.

Pray that God will reveal to you any secret sin you may have rationalized or 
not yet dealt with. Ask for a pure heart so you can go forward with His 
work. Then go out into the workplace, the gym, the classroom or wherever God 
has placed you and share the story that only you can tell—the story of how 
you came to know Jesus and all that He has done for you. Someone you know 
needs to hear it.

******

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on Hutchcraft Ministries - A Word With You

A Word With You
Daily Devotional
Eating, Then Lying Down - #7111

It was one of the classic commercials of all time. It was the Alka Seltzer 
commercial: two tablets dropping into a glass of water to the tune of "plop,
plop, fizz, fizz"? Usually, they showed someone eating something 
disagreeable just before bedtime; someone who could only be rescued from 
terminal indigestion
with "plop, plop, fizz, fizz". Several years ago, I met someone who knew 
that agony; the agony of late night stomach revolt.

Terry works in the theater district on Broadway in New York, and he told me 
how many show people just can't eat before they go on, they're too nervous.
So by the time the show's over they're starved. So they get all cleaned up 
about midnight, and Terry said they'd go out to get a big dinner, and 
shortly
afterwards they would head home for their night's sleep, and their night's 
wrestling match with what they had just eaten. See, eating's nice if it's 
followed
by digestion.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Eating, 
Then Lying Down."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Joshua 1:8. And it ends 
by saying, "Then you will be prosperous and successful." Interested? Here's
what it says, "Do not let this Book of the law depart from your mouth. 
Meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything 
written
in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."

Meditate here is a Hebrew word and it actually suggests a cow chewing its 
cud. You know, chewing over what the Bible is saying until you've gotten out
of it what you need. It's obviously more than just a mental exercise where 
you just sort of quickly ingest some biblical facts and move on. In fact, 
the
purpose of spiritual eating isn't just to get the Bible into your brain; 
it's to get it into your life.

A lot of people are suffering from spiritual indigestion, either a 
discomfort about their relationship with the Lord or just this hollow 
lethargy toward
the things of God. And it may be because they're doing what those midnight 
munchers on Broadway are doing: eating and then lying down instead of eating
and putting it to work.

The ability to read something God says in His Book and then immediately 
convert that into action is probably the single most important key there is 
to
having a living relationship with Jesus Christ. If you're tired of spiritual 
blahs and spiritual mediocrity, spiritual boredom, and spiritual failure,
consider God's one-word prescription for biblical indigestion or 
non-digestion. "Meditate so you may be careful to do everything written in 
it." Key word:
do.

So many of us settle for meditating to know what's written in those verses, 
or to analyze what's written, or even to just understand what's written. 
None
of those are bad, but they're not enough any more than just eating your 
dinner is enough. You've got to digest it. Maybe digesting God's Word has 
been
the missing ingredient in growing your relationship with Jesus.

Spiritual digestion takes place something like this: First, you read over a 
verse two or three times, you chew on those verses until you can put them 
into
words of your own. Then you answer the question, "What's God saying here?" A 
lot of us stop right there. Now you've got to ask the next question, "What
should I do differently today because God says this?"

If you're reading a verse let's say about trials, you take out the word 
trials and you put in there the trial you're going through right now. If 
you're
reading about sin, you put in there a specific sin of yours where it says 
sin. If it's about loving people, you put in there the name of somebody you 
have
a hard time loving. Then you ask the Lord to help you carry this word from 
Him in your heart and in your mouth all day, applying it to the specific 
life
change that that word from God calls for.

When you do that, you're digesting God's life-changing spiritual nutrition. 
Turn eating into doing right away and you'll get stronger every day. 
Remember,
you weren't meant to eat and then just lie down. That's spiritual 
indigestion and ultimately it's spiritual malnutrition.
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You" is
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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.

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Your tax-deductible donation will help support ministry efforts such as "
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Care Instructions for a Life Worth Living

It Began and Ended in a Garden

The story of the human race began in a garden with a man called Adam. The 
story of the one who would be called the second Adam would end in a garden.

When Jesus was in the garden, he still had many options. He could fight like 
the Zealots. He was young. He had charisma. The crowds would follow him to
the death. He could do that. He could withdraw like the Essenes. He could go 
into the desert and start a safe little community. Many would follow him.
He could collaborate with the chief priests. Imagine what reform Jesus might 
bring if he had the temple as the platform for his teaching. He could try
to cut a deal with Pilate. Imagine influencing the Roman Empire from the 
inside. What might that do for the world? He could call on his God to be 
delivered.
He could ask to be spared. He could ask for legions of angels. Maybe one 
more miracle would rally everybody to his side.

He did none of those things. Setting aside questions about his divinity and 
identity, this is what Jesus did. This one lone, deserted, vulnerable man 
decided;
I know what I must do. I will not fight. I will not run. I will not deal. I 
will not dazzle. I will die. Then he prayed, “Not my will but yours be 
done.”

As a simple historical reality, it was sin — human darkness in every other 
person involved — that put Jesus on the cross. But he believed that through
love the cross could somehow become not just a symbol of sin and death but 
also a symbol of even more powerful redemptive love. Out of his remarkable 
brilliance,
breathtaking courage, and inexplicable love, Jesus sized up a situation that 
defeated every human attempt at correction. He identified exactly what would
be needed to bring redemption. It would cost him his life.

Two thousand years later, his death is the most important, most remembered 
death in the history of the world. Jesus outlasted, outmaneuvered, and 
outthought
every group, every power. But not just that. Mostly he just out-loved 
everybody. For Jesus in the garden had one agenda that superseded the 
agendas of
all the others: love. On Friday, Jesus died for love. He said it was his 
choice. It wasn’t Pilate’s. It wasn’t Herod’s. It wasn’t Caesar’s. It wasn’t 
the
chief priests’. It wasn’t the crowds’. He said, “I lay down my life for the 
sheep. . . . No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I
have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”

The cross was changed from the symbol of a human empire’s power into a 
symbol of the suffering love of God. It was changed from an expression of 
ultimate
threat into an expression of ultimate hope. It came, in a sense, to express 
the exact opposite of its original purpose — that the power of embraced 
sacrifice
is greater than the power of coercion. How did this happen? Jesus chose it. 
He chose to die on it. After Friday, neither the cross nor the world could
stay the same.

Jesus describes taking up one’s cross as a daily choice, a habit practiced 
in the routines of everyday life and relationships. As you think back over 
the
last day or two, what opportunities did you have to take up your cross — to 
make a loving, sacrificial choice? How did you respond? What happened as a
result?

© 2014 by Zondervan. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Visit
JohnOrtberg.com


Syrian Arabs in Amman, Jordan
Apr 13, 2014 01:00 am

Today's Devotional

1 Corinthians 15:17-18 "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile 
and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in 
Christ
have perished."

Paul goes on to say that if Christ was not raised, then, “We are of all men 
most to be pitied.” We are asking people to bet it all on the resurrection!
To do this, they often must alienate their families, communities, and even 
face the possibility of death.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen those believers among the Syrian 
Arabs in their resolve to keep their faith in the One who rose from the 
dead.-KC

Today's People Group

“Thomas you look terrible! What’s going on?” Thomas, a Christian news 
reporter, had just plopped down on the bed in a motel in Amman, Jordan. His 
wife
was worried by the haunted look in his eyes. He replied, “For years I have 
been covering stories involving war torn countries, but I couldn’t handle 
what
I saw and heard today. I interviewed several Syrian refugees here in Amman 
who had lost spouses, siblings, and children, to say nothing of ruined homes
and livelihoods. There are now over 100,000 deaths, two million children are 
out of school, and diseases like polio are resurfacing. Syria’s government
keeps aid from getting to certain parts of Syria, so people are starving. 
The lucky Syrians come to places like the camps I visited today. The unlucky
ones are dead.”

Aid groups are beyond burnout. One worker in Amman said, “The terrible truth 
is we can help them somewhat with food, medicine, and shelter, but we cannot
protect them.” Every moment Syrians live knowing that they could die from a 
missile, sniper fire, or bombing. One Christian Syrian said it all when he
commented, “Our only hope is God. Only the power of God can help the pain 
and suffering of the Syrian people. Pray for us!”

Pray that this human-made catastrophe will cause many Syrians to turn to 
Christ for answers. May compassionate hands reach out in the Lord’s Name to 
Syrian
refugees in Amman, Jordan.

Learn more at
Joshua Project.

read more
Like Syrian Arabs in Amman, Jordan on Facebook
Copyright © 2014 U.S. Center for World Mission, All rights reserved.


Today's Quote:

A priest is a man who does not live for himself. He lives with God and
for God. His work as God's servant is to care for His house, His honour,
and His worship, making known to men His love and His will. He lives
with men and for men. His work is to find out their sins and needs,
bring these before God, offer sacrifice and incense in their names,
obtain forgiveness and blessing for them.... This is the high calling of
every believer. As the blood of Christ gives the right, the Spirit gives
the power for believing intercession. He breathes into us the priestly
spirit and a burning love for God's honour and the saving of souls....
The more a Christian is truly filled with the Spirit of Christ the more
spontaneous will be the giving himself up to the life of priestly
intercession.

Andrew Murray

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
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