I remember…

Pray4

TODAY’S DAILY PRAYER

a small branch with a bunch of acornsHas the Lord ever abandoned anyone who held him in constant reverence? Has the Lord ever ignored anyone who prayed to him? The Lord is kind and merciful; he forgives our sins and keeps us safe in time of trouble. Ecclesiasticus 2:10–11, TEV

Dear Father in heaven, Mighty God in heaven and on earth, quicken us by the Word you have sent and by all you have done for us in your mercy and steadfast love. Keep us eager and joyful even in difficult and troubled days. Grant us unfailing trust in you, to give us firm ground under our feet so that we can always thank and glorify you. For you, O Lord, are our God. You are our Father, and you will never forsake your children in all eternity. Amen.

Daily Dig

Caffeine for your conscience

TODAY’S DAILY DIG

Spotted FeatherWe are all children of God, and his servants!…Do you think that he has no servants besides you, and that if you had devoted yourself to his service with your whole strength you could have done all that he needs – all that is needful for the establishment of his kingdom? You say you would do twice, ten times, a hundred times, more than you did. But if you did ten thousand times ten thousand more than all people have done, what would that have been in the work of God? A mere nothing! God’s work, like himself, is infinite. God’s work is you. Come to him, and be not a laborer but a child, and you will become a partner of the infinite God and of his world.

 

 

Verse of the Day

Inspirational illustration of 2 Corinthians 9:7

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

God is working in us to conform our character and will to be like his own. God is a giver. God finds delight in generously blessing us. Now he asks us to do the same. Giving is not some arbitrary task given us to support our churches and ministries; no, giving is part of our character transformation to become more like God. It may be one of the truest ways we have placed our allegiance, dependence, and priorities in the gracious work of God.

My Prayer…

Father, forgive me for the times I have been miserly with the abundance you have shared with me. Make me a conduit of blessings. I know that all I have is yours. Please help me use it as you would. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

BIBLE STUDY BUDDY

Read 1 Timothy 1:3-11…

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4. or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God�s work- which is by faith. 5. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

 

8. We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10. for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers- and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11. that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
1 Timothy 1:11

v5-11 Whatever tends to weaken love to God, or love to the brethren, tends to defeat the end of the commandment. The design of the gospel is answered, when sinners, through repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ, are brought to exercise Christian love. And as believers were righteous persons in God’s appointed way, the law was not against them. But unless we are made righteous by faith in Christ, really repenting and forsaking sin, we are yet under the curse of the law, even according to the gospel of the blessed God, and are unfit to share the holy happiness of heaven.

What The Law Can’t Do…

Evangelist Fred Brown used three illustrations to explain the proper use of God’s law. First, he likened the law to a dentist’s mirror. With that little mirror he can spot cavities. But the dentist doesn’t drill with the mirror. The mirror can reveal a cavity, but it can never repair it.

Brown then compared the law to a flashlight. If the lights in your home suddenly go out, you use a flashlight to guide you through the darkness to the electrical box. The flashlight enables you to see the blown fuse or tripped circuit-breaker, but you don’t insert the flashlight in its place.

In his third image, Brown likened the law to a plumb line. A builder uses a weighted string to see if his work is properly aligned. If he discovers a mistake, he doesn’t use the plumb line to correct it. He uses his hammer and saw.

The apostle Paul said, ”We know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully” (1 Tim. 1:8). The law of God reveals the problem of sin, but it doesn’t provide a solution. The answer is found in Jesus Christ. He bore our guilt on the cross and now offers us new life. When we put our faith in Him as our personal Savior, He forgives us and enables us to live by His strength in ways that please Him. What the law can’t do, Christ can. Have you asked Him to be your Savior?

 

 

November 7
Stewards of God’s Mysteries
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us-and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you! For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.
I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me. For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?
I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner-not even to eat with such a person.
For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”
1 Corinthians 3:1-17; 4:1-21; 5:9-13
WORSHIP
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
I have sworn and confirmed
That I will keep Your righteous judgments.
I am afflicted very much;
Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.
Psalm 119:105-107
WISDOM
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
Loving favor rather than silver and gold.
Proverbs 22:1

Quote of the Day

“The evidence of the Spirit’s control is revealed in a person’s character. Those who have yielded their lives to Christ’s leadership are continually being transformed into His likeness.”
~Charles Stanley (from “How Do We Live a Spirit-Filled Life?“)

Today’s Answer

How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?
J. Vernon McGee

The Bible doesn’t say that a loving God sends anyone to hell, and yet they do go to hell. But they don’t go there because God sends them; it’s the only place for those who have rejected Jesus Christ and have no capacity for God whatsoever.

When you say that He’s a loving God, you’ve only described one part of God. God also is righteous and just and holy. And if you think that you can violate all the different attributes of God and then depend on His love to save you, you’re entirely wrong. Because you cannot insult and blaspheme against God. He’s told us that we’re sinners and cannot come into His presence, that we do not seek after God, that we’re alienated from Him.

Do you think He’s going to bring you into His presence when you have ignored Him and turned your back upon Him? No. He is a holy God. He had to give His Son to die on the cross for our sins, and if you’re going to reject the only way He could work out for your salvation then you must understand that this is the place for you.

Don’t say that a loving God sends people to hell. Say that there is a holy God, and when you do not meet His standard you cannot go into His heaven where He is. That ought to be very obvious to you. In your home I’m sure that you have a standard and there are certain people that you would not let come in. God does the same thing. You have to meet His standard if you’re going to heaven.

There’s only one place for the lost who have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ and that’s with the devil and his demons. Don’t say that a loving God is going to send you to hell – He’s not. The thing that’s going to send you to hell is that you’re a sinner and you don’t want to admit it. That’s the problem with the human family. It’s a self will, a desire to want to go their way. Yet God has provided a way for you to come. And any time you want to make the turn, a loving God will save you.

Taken from Q&A with McGee (used by permission).

 

 

November 7

I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.–ACTS xxvi. 19.

The Lord our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey.–JOSH. xxiv. 24.

I will shun no toil or woe,
Where Thou leadest I will go,
Be my pathway plain or rough;
If but every hour may be
Spent in work that pleases Thee,
Ah, dear Lord, it is enough!
G. TERSTEEGEN.

All these longings and doubts, and this inward distress, are the voice of the Good Shepherd in your heart, seeking to call you out of all that is contrary to His will. Oh, let me entreat of you not to turn away from His gentle pleadings.
H. W. SMITH.

The fear of man brings a snare. By halting in our duty and giving back in the time of trial, our hands grow weaker, our ears grow dull as to hearing the language of the true Shepherd; so that when we look at the way of the righteous, it seems as though it was not for us to follow them.
J. WOOLMAN.

 

JOY IN THE MORNING

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27

God’s love compels us to feed the hungry, empower the poor, defend the weak and help those who are suffering. When we do these things, it includes encouraging and strengthening those persecuted for their faith in Christ. The Church has often led the way in education and medical services in developing countries until governments or other local agencies take over.

Brother Andrew says that giving humanitarian aid is a picture of Jesus knocking at the door of our hearts (our lives) in Revelation chapter 3. The doors of many hearts in the church are closed to acts of mercy and love in action. Therefore, Jesus stands knocking at the door of our hearts asking that we open that door and let Him in. His coming into our lives enables us to do acts of love.

“They killed my husband before my very own eyes. As if that wasn’t enough, they destroyed everything by burning down our house including my dear husband’s workshop.” These were the words of Esther, the widow whose husband was killed by jihadists in Nigeria in January 2010.

For the mother of seven, life became unbearable. The house that her children called home no longer existed and the daunting absence of an income was an inevitable reality. To worsen their circumstances, the in-laws abandoned Esther and her children. Surrounded by walls of a room too small for eight people, depression threatened to overshadow her and Esther cried night and day, asking God for a way out.

She truly needed a shoulder to lean on. A friend told us her story and from there Open Doors provided financial support for this family. As a result the family was able to move into an apartment in a Christian area, with enough room for everyone. The new home lent enough space for Esther to even start working from home. She is a tailor by profession and hopes to rent a shop in the near future.

Esther thought it wise to take some of the money and start a vegetable garden on a small scale. The idea is to feed her family and at the same time generate an income from it. She is confident that her vegetable business will grow to the point where she will be able to send the children to school.

“If Open Doors had not come to my aid,” Esther concluded with tears, “what would have become of me and my children? For all I know, we all would have been dead, either by the hands of Jihadists or hunger. As for my husband’s killers – though it’s been difficult – through your prayers and encouragement I’ve been able to forgive them.”

RESPONSE: Today I will live in awareness of those around me needing help and respond appropriately.

PRAYERLord, give me Your compassion for people in need. May I be an agent of Your love today.

 

In the Line of Fire, with Michael Brown

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Someone tagged Dr. Brown in this photo online.
Someone tagged Dr. Brown in this photo online. (Courtesy/Michael Brown)

On Sunday, the day of the church massacre, cultural commentator David French tweeted, “The amount of anti-Christian hate on Twitter the same day Christians were massacred is stunning and chilling.”

If ever there was a time when we might have expected sympathy for Christians, or at least restraint in attacking them, the opposite proved true far too many times. Why?

On Fox News, Laura Ingraham noted that some of the reactions to the shooting pointed to “elite hostility to people of faith,” stating that “hostility to faith infects the popular culture.” She also spoke of a rising “militant secularism,” drawing attention to comments which mocked the prayers of believers on behalf of those affected by Sunday’s church massacre.

This is more than heartless and tactless. It is intentional and quite focused: Faith in God is to be mocked, in particular Christian faith, and when Christians are slaughtered during a church service, that is the perfect time to pile on.

To paraphrase: “Where was your God, you stupid Christians? A lot of good your praying did! Go ahead and stick your head in the sand some more and keep praying to your imaginary deity. You deserve each other!”

On Sunday, someone posted a picture on my Twitter account of three lions holding up signs that looked like those held up by cows on popular Chick-Fil-A ads. Except these signs were not saying, “Eat Mor Chikin.” The signs read, “Eat Mor Cristins,” with a caption adding: “America. Yeah. It’s getting that way.”

Unfortunately, at this point in time, these sentiments should not surprise us at all, as despicable and ugly as they may be. The truth be told, there is an increasing, palpable hostility towards the gospel in some quarters in America, and it can easily be explained.

First, it is a natural fruit of the harsh and condescending “new atheism,” which continues to poison many hearts and minds with its venom. God is not simply to be rejected; He is to mocked and ridiculed, as are His followers.

Second, the hatred is a result of the culture wars, in which conservative Christians are targeted because of their opposition to LGBT activism and abortion. Bible-believing Christians are commonly compared to ISIS, accused of wanting to establish a Taliban-type theocracy, and called bigots and haters and Nazis. (Just search for any of these key words as AskDrBrown.org for a plethora of relevant articles. You’ll even find examples of gay activists calling for us to be thrown to the lions.)

On a regular basis, I receive death-wishes (in perverse and graphic terms); on occasion, I receive death threats. And this is quite common for those of us on the front lines.

Others, whose voices may not be as prominent, receive ugly, personal attacks on social media, and those attacks are filled with malice and bile.

Consequently, when tragedy strikes conservative Christians, it brings the hatred against us to the surface, especially when we respond with faith in God.

Third, evangelical Christians in particular are lumped together with President Trump, as if we are responsible for (or in support of) every statement he makes and every stand he takes. To the extent that he is divisive, we are blamed for his shortcomings, and just as many on the right despised President Obama, many on the left despise President Trump. And as they despise him, they also despise us.

Fourth, the darkness hates the light, and this is an age-old battle that will continue until Jesus returns. To the extent we stand for sexual purity and biblical morality, and to the extent we preach Jesus as the only true way to God, we will be mocked and scorned.

That’s the way it has always been, and that’s the way it will always be, and that’s why we must not deceive ourselves in terms of the cultural climate in America. The hostility against us is reaching a crescendo, and things could get even uglier in the days ahead.

That’s why we should remember the words that Peter wrote almost 2,000 years ago: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though some strange thing happened to you. But rejoice insofar as you share in Christ’s sufferings, so that you may rejoice and be glad also in the revelation of His glory. If you are reproached because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evildoer, or even as a busybody. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God because of it”. (1 Pet. 4:12-16).

And that’s why we should also remember the words of Jesus, who called us to pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44), as well as the words of Paul, who called us to overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21).

Many of those who ridicule us viciously today will be preaching our message tomorrow, and some of the finest gospel ministers in the world were once profane gospel mockers. So, we can expect more abuse in the coming days. We can also expect some of our abusers to have a change of heart as they encounter the God whom they mock.

Dr. Michael Brown(www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

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A Time to Mourn

People worship at a candlelight vigil in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
People worship at a candlelight vigil in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (REUTERS/Sergio Flores)

Ecclesiastes wrote that there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Eccl. 3:4). Now is a time to mourn, a time to weep. Now is a time to grieve with those who grieve and hurt with those who hurt. And now is a time to turn to the Lord and ask Him to have mercy on our nation and heal our land.

Who can imagine the pain of the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas, a town of just a few hundred?

Already 26 are confirmed dead, ranging in age from 5 to 72, all them shot while worshiping in their local Baptist church. One of them was the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter.

Twenty more are reported wounded, meaning that most of those in the service were shot. Can we even begin to wrap our minds around this?

Every family in this town has been affected. Dreams have been destroyed. Plans for a bright future have been demolished. What a massive, unspeakable tragedy.

You wake up on a Sunday morning on a beautiful fall morning, you head over to the church building to sing to the Lord and pray and hear a message. And you never make it home. Or your spouse or child or grandparent never makes it home. Or you’re airlifted from the service in critical condition; your whole life turned upside down.

Can we let this sink in until our hearts are breaking? Can we let this sink in until we share some of the burden with our brothers and sisters in Texas?

At times like this, we are consumed with questions, wanting to know why and how.

What we do know about the murderer? What motivated him? Why did he launch his attack on a Sunday morning? What could have been done to prevent this? Why does God allow such things to happen?

Those are all valid questions, and there will be plenty of time to seek valid answers. But now is a time to mourn and pray. Can we at least take a few minutes to stop what we’re doing, turn off the news and cry out to the Lord?

At times like this, it’s all too easy to politicize the pain, to argue for stricter gun control or to argue for better church security or to blame one political party or another.

All this has already been done today, setting the internet on fire with tweets and countertweets, none of which I will link here, since that will only distract us or annoy us or enflame us.

Perhaps there’s something more constructive we can do right now? Perhaps praying and grieving is more appropriate? Perhaps asking the Lord to help those who are suffering would be a better use of our time, at least for a few minutes?

I understand that both advocates of gun control and advocates of more gun security care about the loss of life and want to prevent it. We are united in the desire to see the carnage stop. But again, there’s a time for political debate and there’s a time to cease from political debate, at least for a few hours or a day. Now is one of those times where political debate can wait.

There is a community traumatized.

There are bloody bodies lying on the floor of a little church building, which is now an active crime scene.

There are children fighting for their lives in neighboring hospitals.

There are parents and families in shock.

The least we could do is feel some of their pain and ask God for comfort and intervention.

And let’s not get into online battles with the mockers who say there’s no need to pray, since God didn’t stop this from happening in the first place. Don’t let them dishonor the name of the Lord we love, the same Lord that these victims and their families loved, the same Lord who is at work even now in the midst of the agony, the same Lord who has welcomed 26 of His children into His heavenly presence.

This is now the second mass shooting in five weeks and the second church shooting in six weeks. (The Las Vegas massacre took place on October 1. The church shooting in Tennessee took place on September 24.) And it’s the second mass murder of the week, with the car attack taking place just six days ago. And all this comes on the heels of dozens dying in forest fires and millions being affected by hurricanes. Is this not enough to drive us to our knees?

America is hurting right now, and in many ways, we are a very sick nation. Only God can heal our land.

Turning to Him with all our hearts and souls in repentance and prayer is our only hope—and the only hope of the people of Sutherland Springs.

Let’s join them in their grief, as we appeal to our Father for mercy. There’s nothing more important we can do.

Dr. Michael Brown(www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

christiancrier

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Whatever Happened To The Gospel Of Jesus Christ?

If your church does not regularly share the gospel, maybe they don’t know it as well as they think they do.

Half a Gospel

General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, was about the most fervent and passionate man I’ve read about in witnessing to the lost. He once said, “Most Christian organizations would like to send their workers to Bible College for five years. I would like to send our workers to hell for five minutes. That would prepare them for a lifetime of compassionate ministry.” Shortly before his death in 1912 he said, “The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.” Sadly, many pastors have watered down the gospel message making it a Pablum of inoffensive messages that have no meat, but just basic elementary platitudes like “God loves you,” “Come as you are,” and “Just give your heart to Jesus,” even though this is not how the gospel is presented. Yes, God loves us, but He loves those who have trusted in Christ, and is opposed to all who reject the Son. By taking out the need for repentance, confession of sin, the need to strive for holy living, and making the priority of our lives to glorify God, we’ve rendered the gospel into a Dr. “feel good” talk program that only addresses the outside and not the inside. Why did Jesus speak so much about hell? It was because He cared enough to warn people about the wrath to come. One of the most unloving things you can do is to be silent about Christ, and giving only half the gospel is like saying a half-truth, and a half-truth is a whole lie, so half a gospel is no gospel at all. Jesus reveals what the gospel is. It was just “after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). The gospel is not just “believe” because even the demons believe, (James 2:19) but they’ve never repented. I can believe in chairs but if I never sit in them, have I really trusted in them? The point is, I must act on that belief.

Saved From What?

I had a friend who years ago picked up a hitchhiker and asked where the young man was going. He said he was on his way to his aunts to stay until he enrolled in a local college for the summer, so my friend asked him, “Have you been saved?” to which the young man asked, “Saved from what?” That’s a good question. If you were to ask a believer what they thought that they had been saved from, you might hear a variety of answers: We are saved from our sins, we are saved from hell, but what are we really saved from? We are saved from God! And more precisely, we are sparred the wrath of God. God has not appointed us to wrath anymore (1st Thess 5:9), and that’s good because, “It’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31). The Greek word for “fearful” is “inspiring fear, terrible, formidable,” and “affected with fear,” and we’re left with this rhetorical question: Who can deliver out the hands of an angry God!? Jesus alone can deliver us from God’s wrath, and He has done so for everyone who’s trusted in Him. Jesus tried telling the self-righteous that it was God Who they should fear and not man, and said “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 1:28). If you are not saved, imagine being called before God, and having rejected Jesus Christ, and in some cases, having insulted His character and blasphemed His name, you now stand alone before Him. You have no advocate and no one to represent you. Without your trusting in Christ, the wrath of God that was placed on Jesus will then be placed on you. Can anyone imagine a worse scenario? But this happens every day. Multiple thousands of people die and are judged (Heb 9:27). There is no escaping the wrath of God except through Christ.

WilliamBooth

The Perishing

Today, over 150,000 people will die, and that is a very conservative figure since more may be added from terrorist acts or natural disasters, so using the conservative number, that’s over six thousand an hour and approximately one hundred every minute. About 1/3rd of the world is Christian (about 2.4 billion), and these people represent not only the largest group on earth, but also represent the world’s largest religion, although that number might be too high because not everyone who professes to be a believer truly is a believer (Matt 7:21-23), but what this means is that today, at minimum, over 100,000 people will die outside of faith in Christ, meaning their souls will be condemned since after death, comes the judgment (Heb 9:27), so my question is; “How can we sit idly by while so many are slipping into this hopeless eternity?” Where are the weeping Jeremiahs today? Surely it grieves the heart of God to see thousands of people lost every day, and we know that God “takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezk 18:32).

Spurgeon’s Passion

Charles Spurgeon is another man I admire because he had a huge heart for the lost. He said, “If you are a true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot be at ease while souls are being lost! I fear that it would not matter in the least to some professors whether a whole nation was lost or saved! They would be just as comfortable, whatever happened. But they who have the spirit of Christ and are in sympathy with Him, have hearts of companion, so that the loss of any one sinner fills them with dismay—and the penitence of any one sinner makes their heart rejoice with exceeding joy” (1903, Sermon #2821)! Charles Spurgeon also said, “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.” I know that’s very strong, and you may not agree with him, but we must preach about the wrath of God and the reality of hell because Jesus did. The grace of God is not relevant until it’s placed against the wrath of God. This was the heart of Frances Crosby who wrote, “Rescue the Perishing,” singing, “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.”

Law to the Proud

If I were a doctor and came out and handed you a prescription, you’d probably be surprised and think, you don’t need this because you feel just fine, but if I came to you and showed you some x-rays and blood tests which indicated you have a fatal disease, you’d suddenly become very interested in the medicine. That’s what the law does in moving us to see the value of grace….it is law to the proud and grace to the humble. The law shows us what sin is (Rom 7:7, and “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God” (Rom 3:19). In other words, it takes our excuses away, like saying, “I’m a good person,” when in fact, we’re all guilty before God. If someone says they’re a good person, I would say maybe they do some good things, but no…we’re not good (Rom 3:10-12). Only God is good. The law is designed to show us the impossibility of keeping it. That doesn’t mean we don’t strive to live by it, but we know we can never keep it perfectly. Only Jesus did, and we need His righteousness attributed to us (2nd Cor 5:21).

Conclusion

How well do you know the gospel? What if you had to share it with a dying person? What if, right after calling 911, you saw a man who has been in a terrible car accident and may have only about three minutes to live, if that? Could anyone explain how they might be saved in less than three minutes? If they can’t, then they don’t know the gospel well enough to explain it. It would be beneficial to know certain Scriptures like Romans 10:9-13, Acts 4:12, and Acts 16:30-31, Romans 3:10-12, 23, 6:23, 1st Corinthians 15:3-4, 2nd Corinthians 5:21, and a few others. The last time I checked, over 76% of people who don’t attend church had never been asked, meaning the fields are ripe but the laborers are few. Are you willing to be used by God to seek the lost? Do you know the gospel well enough to share it?

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

 

TODAY‘S

Christian Quote

If man is man and God is God, to live without prayer is not merely an awful thing: it is an infinitely foolish thing.

– Phillips Brooks
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A Prayer for When Time Doesn’t Heal a Broken Heart
By Tracie Miles

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

I thought they were dead for sure.

Twenty years ago, I planted four gardenia bushes against the back wall of my house, because I’d always loved the dainty, white petals and their sweet, clean fragrance. But I never imagined those tiny bushes would one day be bigger around than my arms could stretch and stand as tall as I am. And I definitely never imagined that every spring and summer we’d be blessed with hundreds of gardenia flowers for weeks.

Eventually, my children learned to share my excitement each April when tiny little buds would begin peeking out amongst the lush green leaves. Then we’d anxiously await May and June when all four bushes would explode with beautiful white blossoms. I’d cut blossoms off the bushes and tuck them into a vase on my kitchen table, enjoying the scent which permeated my home.

But then, it happened.

Last year, I hired someone to trim the bushes due to their enormous size. A few months later when they looked like stacks of scraggly sticks, I became worried. Then this past spring, my fears became reality. It was then I learned it hadn’t been the right time of year for trimming bushes.

April rolled around. No gardenias. Then May. No gardenias. When June came and went and still no gardenias, I gave up hope, certain they were dead foreverNever to thrive or be beautiful again. Heavy sigh. Sniff.

But lo and behold, in July, one gorgeous little bloom suddenly popped out. I was so excited I took a picture and texted my kids, then I plucked that one little fragrant flower and put it into a tiny vase. Over the next week, more buds appeared, and within weeks, each bush had several blossoms.

My daughter Kaitlyn, who shared my justified despair over our beloved flower bushes, came home and saw the scattered blooms tucked in the sparse foliage. Her face lit up, and she excitedly exclaimed, “See Mom! I told you they weren’t dead. They just needed time to recover and heal.”

I stopped and thought about that simple, yet profound, statement. And a smile crept across my face. As I walked back into the house holding my little bouquet of freshly cut gardenias, today’s key verse, Psalm 147:3, came to mind: “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.”

In this verse, we’re reminded that even when we feel alone in our brokenness, we’re not alone at all. God is always with those who are hurting, and He sees their broken hearts. Then the verse says He “bandages” their wounds. It takes time for wounds to heal, especially emotional ones, but it also takes the intervention of a Savior who will tenderly nurse our wounds until healing has taken place.

Over the past several years, my heart has been broken in ways I didn’t know it could break. For many months, I thought I would never feel alive, thriving or beautiful ever again. Although my heart is not completely healed yet, God has been close by my side during the journey to recovery, and I know that without Him, no amount of time could heal the wounds only He can see. But now, my heart’s slowly begun to blossom again, much like my gardenia bushes as they struggle to bloom again.

Maybe today you’re wondering if your heart can ever heal from hurts, circumstances or losses inflicted. If so, allow yourself to believe God sees you, hears you and loves you. He knows you can’t do it on your own, and He wants you to know He is there to help you begin feeling alive, thriving and beautiful again, too.

Anytime we’re wounded, it takes time to recover and heal. Our bodies heal on

their own because that’s the way we were created, but when our hearts are broken, it takes much more than time — it takes Jesus.

Lord, please heal my broken heart. Fill me with the peace and joy I know can only come from You during this hard time. Walk closely beside me during my journey to healing and recovery that I know is possible through Your power alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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3 Simple Ways to Bless the Socks off Your Pastor

Stephen Altrogge

Contrary to the popular conception of the pastor who only works one day a week (see Reverend Lovejoy from The Simpsons), real pastoral ministry is tough, draining, and emotionally taxing. It’s not for the faint of heart. It requires a unique combination of battle toughness and fatherly tenderness. A pastor is closely connected to the lives of the people he serves, and vicariously experiences both the joy and heartbreak that his people experience. When a young man gets married, the pastor rejoices. When the same young man gets cancer, the pastor is heartbroken. When a couple has a child, the pastor is elated. When the same couple gets divorced five years later, the pastor is heartbroken.

Given the unique challenges of pastoral ministry, pastors desperately need encouragement. Encouragement is what keeps the pastor going. Encouragement is fuel for the pastoral engine. It’s like a spiritual adrenaline shot.

Because I’m not currently a pastor, I can write this post, which, in the past, would have seemed self-serving. So how can you encourage your pastor? Here are some simple ways.

PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO HIS SERMONS, THEN THANK HIM FOR SPECIFIC ASPECTS OF HIS SERMONS

Preaching is a funny thing. A pastor can spend anywhere between 10 to 30 hours on a sermon. This sermon prep involves prayerfully wrestling through difficult passages (have you ever tried explaining Revelation?), figuring out how best to apply the passage to everyday life (what does an Ethiopian eunuch have in common with a stay-at-home mom?), and organizing the sermon in a coherent manner. On Sunday he stands up in front of his congregation and pours himself out for forty minutes, and then it’s over. Thirty hours of prep for a forty-minute sermon. And he has to do the same thing again next week, and the week after that, and the week after that. It’s a joyful, exhausting, delighful, brutal grind.

If you want to bless your pastor, thank him very specifically for each sermon. Don’t simply say, “Lovely sermon, pastor.” Instead, thank him for specific phrases, specific application points, and specific ways God used the sermon to change and challenge you. This specific encouragement will echo in his mind as he prepares his next sermon. Pay close attention, then thank your pastor specifically.

CHEERFULLY SUPPORT YOUR PASTOR’S LEADERSHIP

This doesn’t mean that you blindly support your pastor, no matter what decision he makes. This isn’t 1984, groupthink, follow-the-leader kind of support. It simply means that you maintain a general attitude of cheerful support toward your pastor, knowing that he is seeking to lead the church to the best of his ability, for the glory of God. I think this is the heart behind Hebrews 13:17, which says:

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Do you want your pastor to experience joy? Then cheerfully submit to his leadership. When you have the opportunity, thank your pastor for specific aspects of his leadership. Does your pastor place a strong leadership emphasis on sound doctrine? Thank him for that. Does your pastor place a strong leadership emphasis on evangelism? Thank him for that. Does your pastor place a strong leadership emphasis on mentoring others? Thank him for that. You can encourage your pastor by cheerfully supporting his leadership.

TAKE LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE

One of the things that constantly haunts pastors is the sense that there is always more to be done and not enough time to do it. There is more evangelism to be done, more Bible studies to be started, more homebound folks to visit, more community outreach to initiate. Most pastors are burdened by all they are leaving undone.

If you want to bless the socks off of your pastor, take the initiative in ministry. Instead of asking your pastor to start more Bible studies, ask your pastor if you can start a Bible study. Instead of asking your pastor to create a prayer team, ask your pastor if you can start a prayer team. Instead of asking your pastor for more women’s ministry, ask your pastor if you can start a women’s ministry.

The work of ministry is not primarily done by pastors; it’s done by the members of the church. Ephesians 4:11–12 tells us that the pastor is supposed to equip the people in his church for the work of ministry:

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…

Do you want to bless your pastor? Step up to the plate and take some initiative. Don’t blame your pastor for the absence of a particular ministry. Rather, be the one who starts that ministry.

Trust me: your pastor is desperate for encouragement. Pastoral ministry is often done behind the scenes, with little or no thanks. And Satan loves to discourage pastors, because few things are more dangerous than a faith-filled, thoroughly encouraged pastor. Encourage your pastor today. It’s for your good and his.

Stephen Altrogge is a writer, pastor, and knows a lot about Star Wars. Find out more at The Blazing Center.

 

Share Your Story – Tuesday, November 7th 2017

“I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.”
NKJV

In Acts 22, Paul shares his ‘God story’, his testimony. Why is he doing this? Is it so others will be amazed at his religious upbringing or at the depth of his biblical training? Is it to glorify his past? No, Paul is sharing his testimony to lead others to Christ by explaining who he was before Jesus, what Jesus did, and the joy that he now has because of Jesus.

This is one of the most effective ways of sharing your faith.You see, people can argue about historical facts and they can disagree over cultural details, but people cannot argue with the fact that you found love, joy and forgiveness at the foot of the cross. Brother or sister, don’t be shy about telling your ‘God story’. Tell it to as many as will listen and you will be amazed at how God will use it to change the lives of those around you.

Life Lesson: Share your God story often with people.

Lord,
Thank You for loving me and saving me. Though I was a sinner, You sought me out and saved me from who I was so that I could live for You forever. Please give me courage and opportunity to share my testimony with others and forgive me for times when I had opportunities to share and did not. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Living to tell what He died to say,
Pastor David McGee
Cross the Bridge
crossthebridge.com

Scripture quotations marked ‘NKJV™’ are taken from the New King James Version*.
Copyright (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2017 Cross the Bridge.

 

Devotionals Daily: A Year with Jesus

Inspired You
by Marian Parsons

Discovering the Inspired You

Perhaps you’re in that place, that same wallowing-in-self-pity place I was in a few years ago, or you’re just churning through the daily routine of your life. You might be able to concede that you could have untapped creative talents or possibly some mad furniture refinishing skills, but you’re too drained and uninspired at the end of the day to test them out. You go to bed feeling like it’s a victory that your house doesn’t look like it belongs on an episode of Hoarders. Well, it’s time to get out of survival mode and start thriving.

Working on your home is a great way to unearth hidden abilities or rediscover ones that have gotten a little dusty while you raised your family or worked long hours in an office. God has given you talents for a reason—so you can feel fulfilled using them and then share them with others. Putting your gifts to good use will bring so much joy to your life, and that joy will be evident to your family and friends. It’s hard to hide the immense satisfaction you can experience when you make a slipcover for the lumpy, faded recliner you inherited from you bachelor uncle. You’ll ooze excitement over a headboard you made with big-girl tools all by yourself. (Oh yes.) And while you’re experiencing that creative spark, the reward of a job well done, and the intense joy of a tidy space, you’ll also be creating a beautiful and inviting space for you, your family, and all who enter your home as a big bonus. As God breathes new life into your heart, it will spill over into your home. And that’s so much better than the instant gratification you’d get with a TV makeover.

© 2012 by Marian Parsons

 

Narrow and Healthy

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” –  >John 14:6

A friend of mine once wrote a children’s book about heaven.  When checking out the reviews of his book, he came across a reviewer who said she was attracted by the book’s title and artwork.  Then she noted how her excitement was replaced by dismay when the author claimed the only way to heaven was through Jesus Christ. The reviewer was deeply offended by what she called the book’s “obvious bias against non-Christians.”

We live in times where tolerance and diversity are the buzz words–particularly in the world of religion.  How could any faith be called “healthy” that claimed only one way to God?

But have you listened to the advocates of this thought?  Their message is that the way to salvation is through our moral virtue.  “Be good, do good, and it’ll all work out.”

My problem with that is this:  I’m not that good a person–certainly not good enough to stand before God on the basis of my own feeble virtue.  What about you?

As unpopular as it might be, the truth is, we are all sinners.  But thankfully God made a way for us to come to Him and not be seen as such–through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus. Maybe it’s narrow–but it’s true!

“Jesus came to raise the dead.  He did not come to teach the teachable.  He did not come to improve the improvable; He did not come to reform the reformable. None of those things works.” – Robert Farrerr Capon (1925-    )

 

The Daily Word of Hope Devotional

Bible Fun Fact: The last place we see the Ark of the Covenant in the Bible is in (2 Chr 35:3).

Just Around the Corner

And they went a three days journey in the wilderness of Etham and camped at Marah. And they set out from Marah and came to Elim; at Elim there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there. Numbers 33:8 ESV

The Israelites had been traveling for three days through a desert wasteland when they arrived at Marah, thirsty and out of water. The water at Marah was bitter (poisoned) and they could not drink it so they began to grumble against Moses. When Moses prayed, God showed him a tree that he threw into the water and it became sweet.

Their very next stop was Elim, where there were twelve springs of water. An abundance of water, a spring for each of the twelve tribes and even seventy palm trees for them to rest under. More than they asked for. This test was no water in sight, but it was just around the corner. The next test was no food in sight, but it was just around the corner.

Do not give up when what you need is not yet in sight. It is just a test of your faith. You will have the chance to trust God, or to murmur and complain each time. What you need is waiting just around the next corner.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I know that You love me and the things that I need, You will provide for me. I choose to trust You today, in the name of Jesus I pray.

 

Today’s Scripture

“A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26 NLT)

Thoughts for Today

Care-fronting says to the other person that you care about them enough to confront them about the issues that are important to you.

Your purpose is to gently help your loved one with a life-controlling problem see themselves as they really are. With caring confrontation you chip chip away–bit by bit–the wall of delusion that hides the reality of the downward spiral of their life-controlling problem.

Consider this … 

For the rest of this week, we will look at some of the practical elements of caring confrontation. The first element: focus on the action, not on the actor.

We need to be careful not to criticize or label a person as “bad.” Instead, focus on the behaviors causing the problem. The action, not the actor.

When the person tries to use a defense like rationalizing or anger or denial, always bring the discussion back to the behaviors. Emphasize what your loved one does rather than attacking him or her personally.

Prayer …

Lord, I need your strength and your wisdom. In my frustration, I know I’ve often looked at my loved one as a bad person because of what he does. Help me focus on his behavior instead. In Jesus’ name . . .

 

 

The Value of Hard Places
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
November 07, 2017

“So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:12

Being forced into hard places gives us a whole new perspective on life. Things we once valued no longer hold the same value. Small things become big things, and what we once thought big no longer holds such importance.

These hard places allow us to identify with the sufferings of others. It keeps us from having a shallow view of the hardships of others and allows us to truly identify with them. Those who speak of such trials from no experience often judge others who have had such hardship. It is a superficiality of Christian experience that often permeates shallow believers.

Those who have walked in hard places immediately have a kinship with others who have walked there also. They do not need to explain; they merely look at one another with mutual respect and admiration for their common experience. They know that death has worked a special thing in them. This death leads to life in others because of the hard places God has taken them through.

It is impossible to appreciate any valley experience while you are in it. However, once you have reached the top of the mountain, you are able to appreciate what terrain you have passed through. You marvel at what you were able to walk through. The valley of the shadow of death has yielded more than you ever thought possible. You are able to appreciate the beauty of the experience and lay aside the sorrow and pain it may have produced.

Death works in you for a greater purpose. If you are there today, be assured that God is producing something of much greater value than you will ever know.

 

Passion for Praise: ‘Recognize the LORD’

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

O nations of the world, recognize the LORD; recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong. Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his courts.

LifeLessons3
Yesterday I received a prophesy, through a woman I don’t know……I joined a Group on Facebook and put my name on the list, begging for a word from God, and I got it……this woman told me that God was saying to her that He is near the brokenhearted…….Lord, this brought me to tears!!  All the suffering I am doing since my falling out with the family up in Scranton and it has brought me to my knees…….
WishUponAStar
So, this is what I do………and here are just a few thoughts……

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NoRegrets

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