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Thursday, October 29, 2009

*~*Prayer Requests for 10/30/09:

•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Thank you for your prayers!.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´•

If you are a regular reader/prayer partner, we would be
honored for you to post your pic on our link for prayer
partners at the top of the sidebar (right-hand side).

If you do not have a pic, any icon/clipart can serve as
a symbol of your devotion to those requesting prayer.

In no way does your inclusion mean that you are
endorsing this site or ALL of its content; it simply
means you are approaching the throne of Jesus
Christ with their pleas in mind. God bless you &
thanks for your meaningful work!!

In His precious name,

~Mark Seay (

(¯`*•.(¯`*•.God is Good - ALL of the Time!!!.•*´¯).•*´¯)


"If we cannot believe God when circumstances
seem to be against us, we do not believe Him at
all" (Charles Spurgeon).


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Hi friend,

Please keep the following individuals in your prayers:

1) "My brother who has cancer is very ill. no engery and he can eat, they gave him a vacation from cemo and radiation because of his pain. Please pray for him. Pray for me for some luck so I can visit him and my mother. Please pray for me to get some luck so I can visit them." -Jerry;

2) NN asks for our prayers. She writes, "I need prayer for our foster grandchild that will be having a hearing tomarrow to determine if he is to go back to his biological father or if he is to remain in the custody of our daughter & son-in-law. Please pray that God will instruct the people that are going to determin this child's entire future to act only in the child's best interest. We pray that he ramins in ourr family, but if it is God's will that he be removed from the loving home that he has been in since he was 1 1/2 days old (he is now 14 months old), then I pray for comfort for all who have given their heart and sould to loving this child unconditionally. Please make the tranision for him and all of the lives that he has touched, as painless as is posible if the courts do not act in our behalf. Please pray for Juan to remain a part of our family as he has changed our lives forever more. Please help the judge to see that this other family is only wanting this child for reasons tht are not on the best interest of the child. They have stated that they need him due to his biological father's girlfriend being laid off from her current job and they need more food stamps and social service assistance. The hearing begins Oct 20th at 9:00 AM. Please pray that he remains as he is now, a part of our family and a true child of God. Thank you for your prayers.";

3) "Father God thankyou for making Alida healthy and I plead the blood of Jesus Christ covering over my life and when i sleep at night keep evil away. Send your angels to protect me in Jesus name." -anonymous;

4) "Rose --is battling AML (leukemia).She has been in the hospital for 109 days. Doctors say that her bone marrow is not working and are very doubtful that it will come back. She needs a bone marrow transplant and has a donor but --- says she has to be strong enough to walk in order to get the transplant. She hasn't walked for almost 3 months since the leukemia attacked her nervous system. She is getting stronger daily but just not walking yet. She needs a miracle. She says she does not feel sick. But we know she needs her bone marrow to work now and she needs to walk. Miracle, Miracle, Miracle. That is what is needed. She has 3 daughters, 1 20 year old granddaughter, 1 seven year old granddaughter and one 4 year old granddaughter that pray for her continuously!" -Rose;

5) Luz asks to be remembered in our prayers. She writes: "Please pray for my son, daughter, and ex husband that they may seek God and get right with him.";

6) "I left a prayer request on here a couple of days ago about my husband and I. We did get back together for 3 days then he left me again. Please pray for our marriage,I still want it to work out. I love him alot. He cheated on me and we got involved in certain drugs and things which I know I have to take a certain part of reponsibility for. Please pray that God will open his eyes to the error of his ways. Please pray that God will change his heart in the right direction. I pray that God will heal our marriage." -Melissa;

7) Donna asks for our prayers. She writes, "Please pray for my granddaughter Loghan --. She was in an accident Sept. 27. She is in a coma. Please pray for her and for her mother who is with her in the hospital. Thank you so much. May God bless you." - Donna;

8) "Please pray that I am free of any and all cancer. I had surgery last year and radiation and since then other test that have come back fine. I just started feeling a slight ache and of course I am scared that it could be something bad again. I go to the oncologist this Friday for a follow up and will talk to him about this new thing. I do know that they found a piece of tissue from a CT scan they did in was nothing and maybe it is causing this slight pain..Please pray that the fear I have will go away. I know the devil can make me think bad things and I want to be able to trust God and let go of this fear. Thank you for praying for me." -Louise

9) Debbie asks for our prayers. She writes, "Please pray the lord will keep my grandchildren safe and send them back home soon. A judge gave my son temp. custody 5 yrs ago, since then it has expired, but my son continued on like the judge had set things up. Things have been fine unitl the middle of July. She took the children for their visit and will not bring them home. She is a drug addict, has a criminal record (on probation now - felony), has had SS called on her numerous times over her oldest son (not ours) he is in therapy now for situations she has put this child in. She also is in therapy. She breaks the law and gets a slap on the wrist every time. She knows she can do whatever she wants and the law will not do nothing. This has been proved many times with her. She has taken them before and left the state. But the law does nothing. My son has filed for custody he is not working right now so I had to sell something my dead husband gave me to pay for a lawyer, but it is worth it and I know my husband would agree. We have to go to the boys school to see them They ask can we bring them home with us and we have to tell them soon. My son is having panic attacks caused by stress. He has never been sick like this before. Please pray the lord will bring our boys home soon. For their sake and my sons. I know he's here and I know the devil can't defeat him. Thank you all and God bless you all."

10) "Please pray for our Grandaughter, Rachael, who has had a serious seizure condition since she was five months old. She now is 10 years old and has been on medication all this time. Her Doctors feel the time has come to try taking her off as ahe has been seizure free almost three years. Please pray that the condition has left her and she can be seizure free and live a normal life with out the medication. Thanks." -Carol;

12) "Please pray for my mother Susan L who is in the Hospital with heart problems. Please pray for a successful recovery." -Susan;

13) E & Family asks to be remembered in our prayers. They write: "Pray for blessings and miracles in every area of our life. Pray for all family members and our dog Jakzon to have a long, wealthy and healthy life. Pray for financial miracles and miracle healings. Pray for my husband will not be laid off from his job or he may find a good job. Please, Heavenly Father, spare my husband´s job--Pray for hubby he is caughing strange and I am suffering different health issues. Pray that I may receive a permanent social security disability. Pray for weight loss, ulcer,extreme anxiety, insomia, pain and major depression.. Pray for my children Marie & Phillip to have a bright future. Pray for Marie & Phillip to meet a good christian soulmate.- Pray for a soundful sleep and have a great day for tomorrow. Pray for E and M for extreme weightloss and lift upp both of us in depression. -Please pray that God will answer our dreams and prayers. Bless us financial help and healing miracles to Remove fears and worries. Pray for Blessings and miracles in every erea of our life.Thank you for all of your prayers. God bless you all!";

14) "Please pray that my husband passes his phone interview in the morning and ends up getting the job if God's will. Thank you so much. In His Love, Lori";

15) Please keep the following requests in your daily prayers:
•Pray that the doors of Iran will soon open to Christian missionaries.
•Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the spiritual soil of Iran through worship and intercession.
•Ask God to give the small number of Jamshidi believers opportunities to share the Gospel with their friends and families.
•Ask God to raise up linguists to translate the Bible and other Christian materials into the Jamshidi language.
•Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Jamshidi bound.
•Pray that God will provide greater freedom to live and work among the people of Iran.
•Pray that God will reveal Himself to these precious people through dreams and visions.
•Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Jamshidi church for the glory of His name!;

16) "Please pray for a Woman Named Janie, and her family. Her 19 year old son commited suicide yesterday." -Janie;

17) Pray for Nate and Katie to return to church and prayer.;

18) "Thank you God, and thank you Prayer Warriors, for the healing I see between me and my daughters. Give me the strength, patience, courage, and boundless love I need, Lord, to continue to help them, and I ask you all to keep us in your prayersthat we may once again, some day, be the beautiful family of women we once were. Help them every day to understand a little more about why I have left their father, and why it was the best thing I knew to do for all of us. Help them see I mean him no harm, but am seeking only what is right and just, so that we may continue as a family, as well as they may continue with him, and that we may all be well, and whole, and have peace each in our own lives. In the name of all that is Good, in the name of Light, in the name of Love, in the name of Christ I ask these things. Thank you and Amen." -NN;

19) Cher asks for our prayers. She writes, "My 30 yr. old son, Phillip, NEEDS A JOB NOW! It has been 2 yrs. since he has been working. He was self employed so he has received no unemployment or health benefits. He is not homeless because I supplement him, he is my son and he is a good son. He does not ask for anything because he is ashamed. I know he must eat and have a roof over his head. He does NOT have drug/alcohol issues and prior to his being unemployed, he was ALWAYS self-sufficient, independent and did quite well, that is, until he lost EVERYTHING. He lives in Fla. and I live in Md. He is a college graduate and I am a school teacher. He has gone on so many job interviews, only to not get hired. Last week he went on a job interview, which landed a 3rd interview. I am praying and believing that the Lord has this job for him. I really do not know how much more a man can take in this economy when he tries. This is why I am reaching out to you to pray for my son, Phillip. It is the WORD of God that He will NOT deny us any good thing. Certainly, being able to support oneself is a good thing. He will know this week if he has the job that he has just interviewed for. Please pray with me for my son, Phillip, to get GOOD work. Thank you and bless each of you.";

20) "Please pray for my grandson that he only has a cold and not that swine flu thank you and God bless you." -Mary;

21) Lucita asks to remebered in our prayers. She writes, "Please pray for my husband, my family, and my finances - that the lord open the heavens for my blessings and giving thanks for his protection.";

22) "Hey Mark, Pray for me I broke my shoulder Saturday and have been off work Mon and Tues. I will return on Wednesday with my wife helping me to deliver packages. Pray for a speedy recovery. Thanks and God Bless, David"; and lastly ...

23) Lighthouse Prayer Line encourages you to pray for believers in the Philippines who face persecution because of their faith. Pray especially for the family and congregation of Pastor Vicera, who have lost a father and pastor. Ask God to heal Pastor Vicera's wife, Beth, and Pastor Saturnino who were injured in the attack. Pray the testimonies of these faithful believers will draw their persecutors into fellowship with Christ.

**God bless you for caring enough to pray!!!**


A real friend is always and under all circumstances a friend (Proverbs 17:17a).


*~*Spotlight Site*~*


Man knows that God exists.

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from The Creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened" (Romans 1:19-21).


Father Murphy

Father Murphy walked into a pub and said to the first man he met, "Do you want to go to heaven?"

The man replied, "I do Father."

The priest said, "Then stand over there against the wall."

Then the priest asked a second man, "Do you want to go to heaven?"

"Certainly, Father," was the man's reply.

The priest said, "Then stand over there against the wall."

Then Father Murphy walked up to O'Toole and said, "Do you want to go to heaven?"

O'Toole said, "No, I don't Father."

The priest said, "I don't believe this. You mean to tell me that when you die you don't want to go to heaven?"

O'Toole said, "Oh, when I die, yes. I thought you were getting a group together to go right now."


Speakers for your next Conference / Revival:


Election or Free Choice? (Part 1 of 2)
Prepared by Mark Seay

The word "elect" appears 10 times in the New Testament:

1. Matthew 24:22
If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for
the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

2. Matthew 24:24
For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great
signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.

3. Matthew 24:31
And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will
gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to
the other.

4. Mark 13:20
If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But
for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them.

5. Mark 13:22
For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and
miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible.

6. Mark 13:27
And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds,
from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.

7. Romans 11:7
What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the
elect did. The others were hardened,

8. 2 Timothy 2:10
Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too
may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

9. Titus 1:1
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of
God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—

10. 1 Peter 1:1
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the
world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and

The phrase "God's chosen" or similar appears 19 times.

1. Matthew 22:14
"For many are invited, but few are chosen."

2. Luke 18:7
And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out
to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?

3. John 6:70
Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!"

4. John 13:18
"I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But
this is to fulfill the scripture: 'He who shares my bread has lifted
up his heel against me.'

5. John 15:19
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is,
you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the
world. That is why the world hates you.

6. Acts 1:2
until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions
through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

7. Acts 10:41
He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

8. Acts 22:14
"Then he said: 'The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will
and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.

9. Romans 8:33
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.

10. Romans 11:5
So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.

11. Ephesians 1:11
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

12. Colossians 1:27
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

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

14. 1 Thessalonians 1:4
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,

15. James 2:5
Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

16. 1 Peter 1:2
who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

17. 1 Peter 2:4
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—

18. 1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a
people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who
called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

19. Revelation 17:14
They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."

Based on these verses, will anybody dispute the fact, therefore, that
God chose, or elected, who would be his people, i.e. who would be
saved? The question then is how did God choose? One thing is certain,
no one can tell God what to do. Therefore he must have chosen by his
own counsel. Does anyone disagree with this?


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Daily Devotional
By Living Steam Ministry

Hebrews 12:5 ...My son, do not regard lightly the
discipline of the Lord, nor faint when reproved by Him;
(11) Now no discipline at the present time seems to
be a matter of joy, but of grief; but afterward it yields
the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have
been exercised by it.

Every step of the Spirit's discipline is God's work in
us. Had we not become sick that one time, what would
have become of us? Had we not failed that one time,
what would have become of us? What we faced may
have been a problem, but through facing that problem
we may have avoided greater problems. On that day
we will see why the Lord allowed all these things to
happen to us. On that day we will bow our heads
and say, "Lord, I was a fool, because I did not praise
You that day. I was a fool, because I did not give
thanks to You that day." When our eyes are opened
and we become clear on that day, how very shameful
we will be when we recall our murmurings.

We have to learn to believe and to praise. If we do, we
will say on that day, "Lord! I thank You for Your grace
which saved me from unnecessary complaints and
murmurings..." We have a desire to praise the Lord
because He is good. We need to always say, "The Lord
is good." Today we have to learn to believe that the Lord
is good and that He is never wrong, even though we
cannot always understand what He is doing. If we
believe, we will praise. Our praises are His glory.
To praise is to glorify God. God is worthy of all glory.

May God gain abundant praises from His children.


Election or Free Choice? (Part 2 of 2)
Prepared by Mark Seay

In my previous post, I showed numerous verses that clearly stated that God chose who would be his people. While I am sure some will disagree, I believe that this is undeniable.

So, if God has chosen who will be saved, by his own counsel, were
there any factors that he took into account when making the decision,
say for example, did he know those who, if given a chance, would
choose him, or did he see something desirable, a flicker of goodness,
in those that he chose?

To answer these questions we must look at the nature of man since the Fall.

The whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, asserts this original sin
and decisive ungodliness of will of all fallen men. Gen. vi. 3: " My
spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh
(carnally minded)." Again, chap. vi. 5: "God saw that every
imagination of the man's heart was only evil continually." After the
terrors of the flood, God's verdict on the survivors was still the
same. Chap. viii. 21: "I will not again curse the ground any more for
man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his

Job, probably the earliest sacred writer, asks, "Who can bring a clean
thing out of an unclean? not one." (Chap. xiv. 4.) David says:
'"Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive
me." (Ps. li. 5.) Prophet asks (Jer. xiii 23), "Can the Ethiopian
change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good
that are accustomed to do evil." Jeremiah says, chap. xvii. 9: "The
heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." What
does desperately mean? In the New Testament Christ says (John iii, 4
and 5), "That which is born of the flesh is flesh;" and "Except ye be
born again ye cannot see the kingdom of God." The Pharisees' hearts
(decent moral men) are like unto whited sepulchers, which appear
beautifully outwardly, but within are full of dead men's bones and all
uncleanness. Does Christ exaggerate, and slander decent people?

Peter tells us (Acts viii. 23) that the spurious believer is "in the
gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity." Paul (Romans viii.7):
"The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the
law of God, '"neither indeed can be," (inability of will).(Ephesians
ii.): " All men are by nature children of wrath . . . . and dead in
trespasses and sins."

Taken from The Five Points of Calvinism by R. L. Dabney

'Out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness' (Mark 7: 21-22). 'The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no not one' (Psalm 14: 2, 3).

The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned' (I Cor. 2: 14).

Taken from From the tract, Another Gospel, by Rev. William MacLean

Of course there are many more verses that talk about the reality of
the nature of sinful man. Man is dead in his sins and transgressions.
Alone we would never choose God. So what possible good, even the
smallest flicker of light, can God see in fallen man to cause him to
say "That one will be mine"? Can anybody show me a single verse that
states that God chose man because of anything that is in a man?
And tell me, if God did choose who he would save based on something
good within them, or because he knew given the chance they would
choose him whereas others wouldn't, is this not something a person
could boast about?

"God chose me because he could see that I had some good within me, whereas he saw that you had nothing good in you at all!"


"God chose me because he knew I was clever enough to choose him, but you were too stupid and didn't choose God!"

But we know that "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us
to do." Ephesians 2:8-10

No, we are God's workmanship, created by him, chosen by him, moulded by him. Only God can turn a heart of stone into a heart of flesh. Only God can raise the dead and that is what we were - dead. We are alive again only through his grace. Therefore how can we do other than worship him? Praise be to our Lord and Saviour!


"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares
about you" (1 Peter 5:7 – NLT).

Be sure to send in your prayer request for the next

You are in my thoughts and prayers! May the Lord
continue to bless you with knowledge of Himself.

Starve your doubts and feed your faith,

Mark Seay
Lighthouse Prayer Line
105 Quincy Drive
Greer, SC 29650

"He said, 'If you listen carefully to the voice of the
LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes,
if you pay attention to his commands and keep all
his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the
diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the
LORD, who heals you' " (Exodus 15:26 - NIV).


My God Is King
By Jill Carattini

A story written in antiquity that continues to exceed
contemporary standards of what is considered "good
storytelling" is more than a little interesting. The book
of Ruth has drawn accolades from many voices for many
years. Goethe held that it was "the loveliest complete work
on a small scale" while another pronounced, "No poet in
the world has written a more beautiful story."(1) The book
is simple and honest, the lives it gives account of both
ordinary and compelling.

But the story is not an island anymore than are the lives
of people it describes. By means of a beautifully told story,
we are shown both the weaving of redemption throughout
history and the God who redeems.

Ruth was a young woman from Moab whose husband died
in the midst of a great famine. Returning to her family would
have been appropriate; the young widow would have been
cared for and could have married again among her own
people. But she chose to stay with Naomi, her also-widowed
mother-in-law, who was not a Moabite. Shortly after the story
begins, we hear Ruth declaring resolutely to Naomi: "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" (1:16-17a).

At this point in the story, we don't know much about Naomi's
God or her people, or why Ruth would be so determined to
adopt them, other than as a sign of loyalty to her mother-in-law.

The story briefly mentions Naomi's God, though it seems to
arrive as secondhand information, and not from the widow
herself. (The text reports that she heard that the LORD had
come to the aid of his people and food was to be found in
Judah.) Interestingly, the first time Naomi speaks directly
of her God within earshot of Ruth, it is to say that God has
made her cold and grieving. Naomi imparts that her name
should no longer be Naomi, which means "my delight," but
Mara, which means "bitter": "For I went out full, but the LORD
brought me back empty" (1:21).

I have heard both sides of the argument about admitting anger
at God. Some say, "God knows you are angry and God can
handle it." Others insist, "Saying you are angry at God is in
effect saying you don't believe God is acting as your redeemer."

But I have experienced God's grace in both places.
With angry words I have pounded my fists on God's chest
and God in his mercy convicted me with his redeeming
presence. I have also tried taking thoughts of bitterness
captive, answering cynicism with truths of Scripture
and discovering God's grace and comfort. (I have also
just been angry and altogether refused to see God.)

Naomi's words were at once both honest and blind. Her grief
is unfathomable to me, and the very meaning of her name
seems a cruel irony. But she was also not seeing everything
clearly; in fact, she had not returned entirely empty. God had l
ed Naomi back to Judah with the gift of a loyal daughter-in-law
who had pledged to discover the God of Israel, perhaps
even as Naomi rediscovered this God again herself.

And she did. Naomi and Ruth came to see the work of God's
redemption among them, as Job did even in the midst of his
grief: "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end
he will stand upon the earth" (Job 19:25). The book of Ruth
ends with a child who offers the promise of redeeming the
name of Naomi's deceased husband. In Hebrew culture,
Ruth's child, Obed, was seen as the one who would carry on
the line of Naomi's husband. And in fact, his name, which lived
on because of loyalty and in spite of blinding despair, can be
followed all the way to the lineage of King David and the line
of Jesus Christ. His name was Elimelek, which stirringly
proclaims the meaning of the entire book: "My God is King."

(Jill Carattini is senior associate writer at Ravi Zacharias
International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia./(1)As quoted by
Tremper Longman in The Introduction to the Old Testament.)


We hope you have found today's newsletter encouraging to your
walk with Jesus Christ. Please send all prayer requests and
praise reports to us by using the "comments" hyperlink, which
can be found at the end of each blog/article. God is Good!!!

A Candle Loses Nothing by Lighting Another Candle. Please Keep This
Candle Going!

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who can save anybody!!


We can use your help!

Aside from the fact that ALL of your donation will
be used to purchase Bibles, Gospel Tracts & Bible
Studies, you will be serving as an active witness in
someone's life. Your donation will directly touch the
lives of many who are being introduced to Jesus as
their Lord & Savior for the very first time!

Friend, we have the unique opportunity of being able
to offer purple & gold, 100%-siliconized wristbands.
These attractive bands have been debossed right here
in the good 'ole USA with "Need Prayer?" etched on
one side; and with "" on the

So many wonderful causes will be helped through
this drive, such as countless numbers of inmates
through our prison ministry, South Indian missions
and many USA workers.

We are waiving the postage fees. FREE Shipping!!

Would you be willing to help "the least of these"?

1 band ... $ 5
2 bands ... $ 9
3 bands ... $12
5 bands ... $15

We appreciate your support and witness to a fallen world!

Send your gift in the form of cash, check or money order to:

Mark Seay
105 Quincy Drive
Greer, SC 29650


Sunday, October 25, 2009

The New Atheism

By J.M. Njoroge

Though the chorus of voices decrying belief in God has been humming in the ideological background for centuries, it seems to have reached a crescendo with the emergence of a movement that has been dubbed the new atheism. The trademark of this new brand of atheism is its vitriolic attack on religion. To its advocates, religious beliefs are not only false; they are also dangerous and must be expunged from all corners of society. The pundits of the new atheism are not content to nail discussion theses on the door of religion; they are also busy delivering eviction notices to the allegedly atavistic elements of an otherwise seamlessly progressive atheistic evolution of Homo Sapiens.

Given the rhetoric, one might be forgiven for thinking that some new discoveries have rendered belief in God untenable. Curiously, this drama is unfolding in the same era in which perhaps the world’s leading defender of atheism, Antony Flew, has declared that recent scientific discoveries point to the fact that this world cannot be understood apart from the work of God as its Creator. This is no small matter, for Flew has been preaching atheism for as long as Billy Graham has been preaching the gospel. Unlike Flew and others, the new atheists seem to forget that the success of their mission hinges solely on the strength and veracity of the reasons they give for repudiating religion. Venom and ridicule may carry the day in an age of sensationalistic sound bites, but false beliefs will eventually bounce off the hard, cold, unyielding wall of reality.

A good example of a claim against religion that does not sit well with the facts of reality is issued in the form of a challenge to the believer to “name one ethical statement made, or one ethical action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a nonbeliever.”(1) We are expected to agree that no such action or statement exists, and then conclude that morality does not depend on God. The problem is that the conclusion does not follow from the premise. The fact that a non-believer can utter moral statements and even act morally does not logically lead to the conclusion that morality does not depend on God, much less that God does not exist. This challenge misunderstands the believer’s position on the relationship between morality and God.

The believer’s claim is that the world owes its existence to a moral God. All human beings are moral agents created in God’s image and are expected to recognize right from wrong because they all reflect God’s moral character. The fact that human beings are the kinds of creatures that can recognize the moral imperatives that are part of the very fabric of the universe argues strongly against naturalism. Unlike the laws of nature, which even inanimate objects obey, moral imperatives appeal to our will and invite us to make real decisions on real moral issues. The only other parallel experience we have of dos and don’ts comes from minds. Thus when the atheist rejects God while insisting on the validity of morality, he is merely rejecting the cause while clinging to the effect.

Without God, morality is reduced to whatever mode of behavior human beings agree on. There is no action that is objectively right or wrong. Rape, hate, murder and other such acts are only wrong because they have been deemed to be so in the course of human evolution. Had human evolution taken a different course, these acts might well have been the valued elements of our moral code. Even Nazi morality would be right had the Nazis succeeded in their quest for world dominance. Unless the world contains behavioral guidelines that transcend human decisions, there is no reason why anyone should object to such conclusions.
Though some religious people do not live up to the moral principles they prescribe, it is not true that genuine religious devotion makes no difference to one’s moral commitments. It is missionaries, and not atheists, who regularly give up their own comforts and accept unbelievable amounts of pain and suffering to better the lives of societal outcasts, not just through preaching but also through education, technology, and humanitarian relief. Our failure to live up to what we know to be right provides empirical evidence for the need for God’s intervention in our lives.

Those who insist that objective morality makes no difference to human autonomy still expect morality to guide the behavior of others. That our society is saturated with transcendent moral sentiments accounts for the popularity of some television programs that arrest our attention night after night. Perhaps ninety percent of the shows they contain depend exclusively on our ability to apply objective moral standards to the actions of the characters. Should the Judeo-Christian moral bank close its doors to our cultural psyche, the bankruptcy of human-centered morality would eventually send our spiritual tentacles scouring for an alternative transcendent anchor. Thus were the new atheists to succeed in their quest, the result would not be the elimination of religion but the entrenchment of a different religion. As Ravi Zacharias has warned, eventually, the real choice for the West will not be between Christianity and atheism but between Christianity and some other religion. Beware of ethical naturalists bearing moral gifts.

Friday, October 23, 2009

*~*Prayer Requests for 10/24/09:


"If we cannot believe God when circumstances
seem to be against us, we do not believe Him at
all" (Charles Spurgeon).


"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings" (1 Peter 5:8-9 - NIV).


Hi friend,

Please keep the following individuals in your prayers:

1) "I am thankful for all the many blessings God has provided me! I pray that God would continue reminding me of these blessings and eliminate the worry that Satan places in my mind. Thank you for praying!" -Mark;

2) N.N. asks for our prayers. He writes: "I have been in this situation for over 3years now. It used to be I had joy and a peace of mind in my life. Some how some way,That all stoped. Since then I have been trying to rid my life of negative energy, but no matter what I do, I always somehow look to the wrong solutions to solve my trials. I ask you my friend, if you can Pray to our Lord that I may find my strength, inner joy, and peace in my life once agian. Please, if you can, ask Jesus to forgive my ways and help guide my path as a father/husband and man in his most Holy name. Thank you and God bless.";

3) "God please let me know if this is what you want me to do. I know you don't ever want a marriage to end, but I don't see things changing for the better. I have prayed and prayed for change in me and him, but it always ends up the same way. I love him Lord with all my heart, and I have apoligized for all I have done but it is not good enough. I have prayed for us to have a change of heart and to soften our hearts to hear you and what you want us to do. He doesn't want to hear anything I have to say Lord. You know my heart and I just don't understand anymore. I am so tired. Do I let go Lord? I don't know what else to do. I want our family to stay together. Please give me a sign as what to do and please help him Lord, he needs you too. He won't listen to me anymore. Please help us Lord. I have prayed to be who I should be and prayed for you to give me the words to speak to his heart. Please God help me to trust him." -Frances;

4) Tamara asks for our prayers. She writes, "Me and my boyfriend want to get marry and start a family.";

5) "Please watch over MIke and GInny. Mike is having a colonoscopy and has had some related health issues and Ginny is concerned. Operation is at 9:30am tomorrow. God Bless, Janet";

6) Mickie asks to be remembered in our prayers. He writes, "Please Pray for my Nanny who is in surgery at this moment; That the Almighty Surgeon will take control; and Let her heart be strong enough to get her through it. Thank you God, and Everyone.";

7) "Please pray for my brother in law Justin --. He is in ICU with pneumonia Please pray for a miracle." -Ana;

8) Rick writes: "Pray for a financial miracle for Rick.";

9) "I'd like to request prayers for the following: Jackie, Melanie, Irene, Joni, and Tim." -AN;

10) "Please pray for me that I can overcome this depression and let go of the way my life has been almost all of my life. I was actually happy at one time...for a short time, please pray that I can regain this happiness and keep it with the Lord. Oh please pray that my children and myself, as well as my mom, can move away from this crime infested area into a house that is comfprtable for the children mainly. I want them to know more than just the ghetto. Please pray that we will get out of financial hardSHIP And break the chain that goes on in this family. Please pray that God will guide me and let me know my purpose in life on top of having my children. Please pray that I will find a husband that is truely good to all of us, especially my kids, and we can live happily. Please pray that my children wont fall victim to the negative influences in school and that they will continue to do good in school by the grace of the Lord. Thanks again." -Nikia;

11) Gloria asks to be remembered in our prayers. She writes, "Please pray with me for my great-grandson Gabriel who is only 2 months and has developed a skini disorder that the DR's say he wil suffer from forever. It is called Seborrheic wrong spelling I know) but nonetheless it is a type of disorder that is scally and he is very uncomfortable. The medicines are beginining to ease the pain a bit, but, I know that our Lord Jesus Christ can cure him. I have that much faith. So, if you will see yourselves with a few extra minutes, please help me. I would pray for your baby. God bless you all. Thank you.";

12) "Please pray that we find a way to ease our financial burden. My husband worries so and it's so stressful for him. Bless you!!" -CJ;

13) Eleanor asks for our prayers. She writes, "Please pray for me and my family..and my husband. Both of us suffer from chronic back pain and also our knees are getting affected from our back. His knee is worse off than mine, his minuscus are torn and have to have surgery to fix but I'm the only one working and provide for my 3 kids, my husband and myself and just barely make enough to cover my bills. I've been struggling and getting very tired and stressed out. I feel like I'm a single mom, working, cooking when i go home and cleaning, going to to go wash my laundry @ the laundry mat, shopping for our food, paying bills, bathing our 2 young kids. Please pray that I may love my kids unconditinally, i don't like who i'm becoming..always having back pain, my responsibilities, taking care of my kids, i've become short tempered and easily angered, plwase pray that i may pay more attention to my kids even i have never ending chores to do. I feel overwhelmed and tired and getting very stressed out. PLease pray that my kids may get along and love each other even me. thank you daily posts for coming back to my email, i look forward to reading them and they also give me inspiration and lifts me up too. Please also pray that i may have enough money for christmas, i enter my kids names for Christmas name exchange every year and i do have a big family and live in a little village.";

14) "For the last 10 years, we have worked with -- @ -- College, especially with "Kids Gift Day" that allows children to come and choose gifts (new or gently used) to give their parents for Christmas. The student volunteers help them wrap the presents. My husband and I provide the children each get a bible, a nativity or ornament depicting the nativity, and a coloring book about the nativity, and other small items. There are usually 300 children. Because of the economy, my husband and I are having a hard time providing those items for the kids. And the college is esp short of items for the kids to choose from for their parents. Please pray for God direction in where and how to get these items for the children. The date of this year's event is 6th." -Lynda;

15) Albert asks, "that Kay and the kid's receive JESUS, and that HE would heal our relationship and bring us back together. I lost her because of my drinking. I ask that GOD would heal me of drinking.";

16) "I am 60 and my husband is 62. He is losing his eyesight due to diabetes. He has mascular dengeneration. I am required to do most of the driving, keeping up with appointments, medicine etc. I am asking for prayer for my mind. I can't remember anything. I argue that he has not told me soemthing or that I didn't see something and it ends up that I just can't remember. I worked for 33 years on a missile command and had to keep up with where thousands of missiles were. Now I can't remember a conversation I had with my husband. I want to be able to take care of our business so that we can stay independent. Thank you for your prayers." -Bernice;

17) TWalsh asks to be remembered in our prayers. She writes, "First I want to Thank God For who he is and for all he has done for my husband and I. We own a small business and this past year has been tough financially. We are now playing catch up with paying our vendors. Please pray for wisdom and direction as we pay them. We want to be a blessing to our customers and to our vendors. Please pray for the customers who owe us a large amounts of money that they will follow thru on their commitment to pay us.";

18) "Please pray that I am on Mark's heart and that he will not let me go. Please pray that I am worth it to him." -Beth;

19) Nathan asks for our prayers. He writes, "Hi i have a friend named baylie. She and i are really close i care for her alot. But she is with with this guy named keith. He hits her curses her and cheats on her. I have tried to get her to go to church but every time she gets up the nurv to leave him he keeps calling her and yells at her till she comes back. id like you to pray for her. Pray that god will help her get out and stop hanging with this crowd. get over him and move on to someone that will take her to church and show her how god will change her life. I love this person very much the only thing I can do is pray and ask you to do the same.";

20) "This prayer request is for a coworker of mine who is currently going through a very rough time. A few months ago his father was found with many blood clots and has been hopitalized since then. His wife has been found with what could be breast cancer a few weeks ago. His mother of 82 years is very ill at this time. My co-workers name is Dan and he himself has had many health issues this year requiring surgeries. However, on top of all this going on, his grandson Ryan, 2 years of age, has been hospitalized recently. Just what appears to have happened overnight, the child developed two tumors behind his neck and two tumors behind one of his eyes. The diagnostic confirmed that the child has a form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma. It is in stage 3 or 4 and his progressing rapidly. You can imagine how hard it has been to go through daily life for Dan these days and now to have his only grandson sick with such a horrible diseasse. I ask that we pray for Ryan his grandson, for Dan and his well being, His wife Virginia, and all of his family members who are coping with this time of their lives. Thank you." -Ruben;

21) Please pray for Donnie. His health has been deminishing over the past year.;

22) "Pray for Richard and me. He is in the hospital getting blood. Please may he start feeling better. Pray for Rick,Nancy,Anne,Mary,Greacen,Louise,Louise and Floyd sr.and all others needing God's help in their time of need." -Susan;

23) Lorna asks for our prayers. She writes, "Please pray that Art and I will be able get a gym membership at the best possible price. Please pray that I become serious about losing the weight that I need to lose(50pounds and also to lower my blood pressure. Lord I want to give you praise and glory for all that you do for me and all the blessings you provide.especially today my birthday. I give thanks that the kids remembered and celebrated it and me with their thoughtfulness. Continue to bless my family with good health.I pray especially for my grandchildren that they are well and developing according to their age groups.Be with Ben and Ryan,heal them of any illness that they have.Be with Justin and Grace give them both character and self esteem.Please help Grace learn to read. Ben and Ryan ages 3 and 2 have not been very well lately,please lay your great physician hand on them and they will be healed. Please be with Justin 4 and Grace 6 as they go to school. Help them to learn and adjust,especially Grace help her with her reading and self confidence. Justin also.. Tthank you Lord for my family and friends.";

24) "Please pray for my puppy Buster. He was hit by a car last Wednesday night. He has a dislocated hip, a shattered pelvis and some internal bruising. Please pray for God to bring healing to my sweet boy and relieve his pain. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Nicki";

25) Kim asks to be remembered in our prayers. She writes, "Please pray for our finances and me to find job - very scared thanks" -Kim;

26) Please keep Reagan & Anna in your prayers. They are little ones that have become very ill.; and lastly ...

27) Keep Scott in your prayers. He recently had two back operations. At present, he is healing and recooperating.

**God bless you for caring enough to pray!!!**


A real friend is always and under all circumstances a friend (Proverbs 17:17a).


*~*Spotlight Site*~*


*** Prayer request from one of our prayer partners:

"Dear Beloved Brother in Christ Mark Seay,

Warm greetings to you in the most precious name of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Thank you so much for your continuously prayers about us. Since 4days we did our floods relief work various villages near by us these four days we hired a pay auto those areas and have seen their miserable condition. Hundreds of villages were drawn and houses also are filled water. Flood was affected mainly in three districts. 1. Kurnool2. Guntur (not in our place Bapatla) other part of our district. 3. Krishna (Vijayawada. So we went to our district Guntur Repalle area. Repalle mandalam zone consists many islands and so many villages. So we went to some villages and small Islands. As I shared with you in my previous mail about it, I could raise some money and bought 8 bags of rice and biscuit packets, some medicine and we went villages called Epuru lanka near by Kullur, Repalle. All the roads were covered with water so there is no transportation to go to that village. From last ten days those villagers are not able to come out side due to continues rains, floods and struggling food materials and drinking water packets. Also there is no power supply from that day so they are living darkness in the nights.

Few of our church members and we took those rice bags on our shoulders and other things with us. We walker around 5 kilo meters by walk carrying those things on our shoulders. After walking 5 kilo meters a boat came to take us to that island, so we kept all those things in side the boat and reached that village Epuru Lanka. All our people were tired with heavy luggage. Finally we reached that village, when we reached there many people were waiting people who can help them, give them some thing to eat & drink. But we have little their need is very big, so we went there and prayed for those villagers and told them our situation. We gave them what ever we brought for them. They were so happy by seeing our love and hospitality. I told them we are doing these things because of love of Jesus.

I have taken some pictures I am sending to you by through this attachment So that you can see them and pray for those victims. Flood effected not only one place and one village. Three districts of Andhra Pradesh were effected by flood. So need is very much. Still people need cloths, blankets, and food materials and medicines financial support to rebuild their houses. So please pray and share yours friends, family and church members and ask them to pray for these flood victims. Our orphan children and our widows and we all are continuously praying for you and for your blessed family. Especially our orphan children are gladly sending their lots of love and their lovely hugs to you and to your blessed family. Closing here for now. Waiting for your prayerful reply. Thanking you. Your’s in his service. President. K.Syam Sundar. Voice-President. John Mani, New Beginning Missions / Workers for Christ, India"


"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth" (1 John 3:17-18 - NIV).


What God Looks Like

A kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they drew. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's artwork. As she came to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.

The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."

The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like."

Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing the girl replied,. . . . "They will in a minute."


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. That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised him from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavenly realms," (Ephesians 1:18-20 - NIV).


(Part 1of 2)

(Galatians 4:21-31)
By John Piper

Tell me, you who desire to be under law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 'Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written,

"Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
break forth and shout, you who are not in travail;
for the children of the desolate one are many more
than the children of her that is married."

Now we, brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now. But what does the scripture say? 'Cast out the slave and her son; for the son of the slave shall not inherit with the son of the free woman." So, brethren, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

The allegory of Hagar and Sarah is written to persuade us (along with the Galatians) not to follow the Judaizers into slavery with Hagar and Ishmael but to follow Sarah and Isaac into freedom. So I want to begin with a definition of freedom that I think is implied here. Then we will look at the allegory and learn from it how to have freedom.

Full freedom Is what you have when no lack of opportunity, no lack of ability and no lack of desire prevents you from doing what will make you happiest In a thousand years. In order to be free in the fullest sense you have to have opportunity, ability and desire to do what will make you happy in a thousand years. Another way to say it would be that there are four kinds of freedom, or better, four stages of freedom on the way to the full freedom all of us long for: the freedom of opportunity to do what we can, the freedom of ability to do what we desire and the freedom of desire to do what will bring us unending joy.

Let's take skydiving, for example. Suppose you are on your way to the airport to go up for your first real jump, but your car hits a pothole on Hiawatha, you have a blowout and run into a telephone pole. You are no longer free to jump whether you have the ability or not because the opportunity passes while you wait for the tow truck. You lack the freedom of opportunity.

Or suppose you do make it to the airport but you have no ability at all -- you have never studied skydiving and never learned the first thing about how a parachute works. The opportunity is there, but you don't have the freedom of ability -- you are in bondage to your own lack of know-how.

But suppose that you make it to the airport, you've been to school and been trained and have all the abilities needed. and you take off for your first jump. But as soon as you look down all your desire vanishes and in its place comes a tremendous fear. The opportunity is there, the ability and know-how are there, but you don't have the freedom of desire. The interesting thing about the freedom of desire is that you might be able to go ahead and jump without it, but it won't be a free act. For example, you might feel so humiliated in front of your instructor (or girlfriend) that the desire not to be humiliated overcomes the desire not to jump. So you jump. But the emotional experience is not what we call freedom. You are acting under very uncomfortable external constraints. You are like Herod when his step-daughter asked for the head of John the Baptist. He didn't want to kill John but he wanted even less to be shamed before his guests. So he acted, but not with the freedom of desire. You have the freedom of desire when you do what you love to do.

That's the way a lot of professing Christians try to keep the commandments of Christ. They don't really delight to do them but they feel some uncomfortable constraints like social pressures or fear of hell or desire to impress someone. So they go through outward motions of obedience but the desire of their hearts is fixed somewhere else. They do not enjoy the freedom of desire which Christ gives when he is being formed in the heart (Gal. 4:19).

But there is one last requirement for full freedom. Suppose you get to the airport with no obstacle; you have all the know-how necessary; you look out the door at the tiny clusters of silos and barns and farmhouses and just can't wait to jump. You have freedom of opportunity, freedom of ability and freedom of desire. So you jump. And as you free fall unbeknown to you, your parachute malfunctions and will not open. Are you free? In three senses, yes. But in that critical fourth sense, no. What you are doing so happily, so freely, is going to kill you. Whether you know it or not, you are in bondage to destruction. It would be a mockery to exult in the freedom of an exhilarating free fall if you knew it was leading to destruction. In order to be fully free it is not enough to have opportunity, ability and desire to act. The acts you desire and perform have to lead to life indeed, eternal life not destruction.

This is why it is naive for a Christian young person to envy the so-called freedom of those who pitch themselves out the window of sin and exult for a season in the exhilaration of free fall sex or free fall greed, or free fall drugs or free fall luxury. They will pass away like a vapor but those who do the will of the Lord will abide for ever (1 John 2:17). True freedom is not just the opportunity and ability to do what you desire to do. It is the opportunity, ability and desire to do what will make you happy in a thousand years.

Therefore, true Christians are the freest people in the world. And Paul is fighting with all his might in Galatians to expose the teaching of the Judaizers for what it really is: slavery. For Paul, the experience of freedom is not icing on the cake of Christianity. Freedom in Christ is Christianity. It is a matter of eternity. That's the first point of the allegory. So let's see if we can understand it and strengthen our stand in freedom.

In verse 21 Paul simply says that those who are turning back to the law of Moses as a job description for how to earn the wages of blessing from God, should listen to what the law says. Note this well, lest anything I or Paul have said sounds anti-Semitic. Paul only wants to teach things that are implied in the Jewish Bible. His problem with the Judaizers is not that they are Jewish but that they aren't Jewish enough. Paul himself was a Jew and never surrendered his allegiance to the law. What does it teach about freedom?

Verses 22 and 23, "It is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise." Let's go back to Genesis 15 and remind ourselves of what happened to Abraham and Sarah. In Genesis 15:1-6 Abraham is downcast because he and Sarah have no children, no heir to fulfill the promises of becoming a great nation (12:2). There is only Eliezer the slave. But God says in verse 4, "This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir." God's intention was to give Abraham a son and an heir when it looked humanly impossible so that Abraham would have to rely solely on God.


The Most Important Gift Catalog in the World:


**Article Content Spinner**


"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:11-13 - NIV).


Faithful With Much

At a Wednesday evening church meeting a very wealthy man rose to give his testimony. "I'm a millionaire," he said, "and I attribute it all to the rich blessings of God in my life. I can still remember the turning point in my faith, like it was yesterday:

I had just earned my first dollar and I went to a church meeting that night. The speaker was a missionary who told about his work. I knew that I only had a dollar bill and had to either give it all to God's work or nothing at all.

So at that moment I decided to give my whole dollar to God. I believe that God blessed that decision, and that is why I am a rich man today."

As he finished it was clear that everyone had been moved by this man's story.
But, as he took his seat, a little old lady sitting in the same pew leaned over and said: "Wonderful story! I dare you to do it again!"


Daily Devotional
By Bill Keller

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21

A test for where your heart is. In today's world of modern medicine, there are numerous tests to check the condition of your heart. However, today I have a very different test for your heart. Jesus said many profound things during His years of ministry. One of those profound sayings is our anchor verse today that binds together your treasure and your heart. What you spend your money on is a great indicator of where your heart really is. I want to challenge you to let God speak to you through these words today. This is like one of those pop quizzes you used to get in school. How you score on this test will give you a great indication if you are on the right track or if you need some work in this area. Please know that I will be praying for you.

Every day we have many choices to make. One of the choices we make each day is how we will spend the money God gives to us. Never forget, all that we have is from God, it is simply on loan to us. We have been given stewardship over the resources God gives us during our life. How we manage and utilize those resources becomes a test of not only our ability to be a good stewards of what God entrusts into our care, but where our heart is. As Jesus stated in today's passage of Scripture, you can get a great measure of your heart for God based on how you spend the money God blesses you with.

Ok, here is your test. Get a piece of paper and something to write with. You don't need to be an accountant and detail every penny, but in round numbers, figure out how much money you have made in the past year. You need to include all of your sources of income. What you made working, what you may have made selling something, any money people gave you, include everything that you have had come into your hands over the past year. Now, roughly figure out what you spent. In this part, break it down into two columns. Column one is basic living expenses and column two is everything else.

Basic living expenses include what it costs you to live each month, where you live, utilities, food, insurance, transportation, medical, clothing, all the basic necessities of daily life. Everything else is all the money you spend outside of your basic living expenses. This is the key element of the test, so it is important to do your best to include EVERYTHING you spend money on, no matter how trivial it may seem. Most people are actually shocked as they fill out this column regarding how much of their money they spend on so many different things. A very small percentage of people have ever done this before, actually sitting down and listing all of the things
they buy and how much they spent. I assure you it will be an eye opening experience for you.

After you have finished putting everything down on paper, it is time to take a look at where your heart is. Listen, the purpose of this exercise is not to make you feel bad or upset you. It is a great exercise to see exactly where your heart is, since what you spend your money on gives you a great indication of where your priorities are, what is really important to you. Zero in on the everything else column. Look carefully over what you are spending your money on and how much you are spending on different things. Out of that total dollar amount, what percentage is going to support the Lord's work through your church or some ministry you have been led to give to? Is it 5%? Is it 10%? Is it 25%? Is it 50% or more?

I can't sit here and tell you how much you should be giving to the Lord's work. That is an amount you and God have to work out. All I want to do today is help you see in black and white what you are spending your money on, how much you are spending on different things, and what percentage is actually going to God. Now it is time to get alone with the Lord and pray. Ask Him to show you through these figures if your heart is where it needs to be. I know most will be amazed at the things they buy, at how much money they spend on things that seem so trivial, and how much more they could be doing to support the work of God. Those in bondage to smoking and/or alcohol will quickly see a huge amount of money that is acutally being spent to kill yourself slowly. No doubt you will see other areas that you are spending a great deal of your resources on and it will force you to ask yourself how much of your heart is really God's.

I love you and care about you so much. I will be praying for you today. I will be praying for the Lord to use this test to really show you where your heart is. God's Word teaches us to be good stewards of what He entrusts into our care during this life. After our basic living expenses are taken care of, we need to be wise to invest some of our resources for the future. How we spend whatever is left gives us a good insight into where our heart is really at. I challenge you today that if your heart is God's, you will find that a good portion of your treasure is being invested in the work of the Lord since it was Jesus who told us, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."


(Part 2 of 2)

(Galatians 4:21-31)
By John Piper

But in Genesis 16 Abraham and Sarah weaken in their faith for a time and devise a plan by which they will use their own resources to help God fulfill his promise. Sarah gives Hagar, her handmaid, to Abraham so she can bear him a son (16:2). And in Genesis 16:15 it says, "Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son whom Hagar bore to him Ishmael." So when Paul says in Galatians 4:23 that Ishmael was born "according to the flesh" it means that he was the product of self-reliance. Abraham ceased to rely on God's power to fulfill his word and instead relied on his own power and ingenuity to get a son.

Then, fourteen years later, in Genesis 17:16 God says to Abraham that his wife, Sarah, will have a son. God intends to fulfill his promise in a way that removes all ground for boasting. In verses 17-19 it says, "Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, 'Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah who is 90 years old bear a child?' And Abraham said to God, 'O, that Ishmael might live in thy sight!' God said, 'No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him."' God rejects what Abraham was able to produce on his own and promises again that in spite of Abraham's age, he will have a son by his own wife. So in Genesis 21:1 it says, 'The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised." Isaac was not born according to the flesh because his birth was the result of God's supernatural intervention in fulfillment of his own promise. Abraham had learned his lesson: the only acceptable response to God's merciful promise is trust in that promise, not works of the flesh that try, to bring down God's blessing with our efforts. So Galatians 4:23 sums up the story: "The son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise."

Verse 24 says that Paul sees an allegory in these events, that is, he sees them as apt representations of something more than their literal meaning. I don't think Paul would say that the original meaning of Genesis had reference to Mt. Sinai or to Jerusalem. I think he would say that the truth implied in the stories about Hagar and Sarah is the same truth that we can now see in what happened at Mt. Sinai and continues to happen in the present Jerusalem. So it is fully legitimate to use those stories from Genesis to symbolize and illustrate the later events.

According to verse 24, Hagar and Sarah represent two covenants. First, he focuses on Hagar and says, "One (covenant) is from Mt. Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mt. Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children." The key question here is: how is Hagar and her affair with Abraham and their son Ishmael like the covenant of Mt. Sinai - the giving of the law through Moses? There are two similarities at least. Hagar's giving birth to Ishmael is done "according to the flesh" (v. 23); Abraham and Hagar tried to get God's promised blessing by their own strength without relying on God's supernatural enablement. That is just what happened when the law was given at Mt. Sinai. Instead of humbling themselves and trusting God for help to obey his commands Israel says confidently, "All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do" (Ex. 24:3; Deut. 5:27). But they did not have hearts inclined to trust in God (Heb. 4:2) or truly depend on him (Deut. 5:29). And so like Hagar and Abraham they depended on their own resources. And just as Ishmael was born according to the flesh, so the law offered was not received because (as Romans 8:3 says) the law was "weakened by the flesh." All that Abraham and Hagar produced on their own was a son who would not be the heir. All that Israel produced when they tried to keep the law on their own was a legalism which would inherit nothing.

Which leads to the second similarity between Hagar and Mt. Sinai -- both of them bear children for slavery. Verse 24 says that the covenant Hagar represents is from Mt. Sinai "bearing children for slavery." Since Ishmael was not accepted as an heir he was no better than his mother, a slave. And when the Israelites take the law upon themselves without trusting God for gracious enablement, they become slaves because they have no freedom to do the law from the heart and because their unbelief locks them into disobedience and excludes them from the inheritance.

Then to bring the allegory up to date at the end of verse 25 Paul says, "She corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children." This is a direct attack on the Judaizers who have come from Jerusalem (cf. 2:12). They are the children of Jerusalem and they are slaves to the law and to the demonic forces of the world (4:3,8). So you can see Paul's point: don't follow these false teachers -- they may show you how to become sons of Abraham, but beware! With them you will be an Ishmael, not an Isaac. A slave, not an heir.

Then in verse 26 Paul turns his attention to the other half of the allegory -- Sarah and her child, Isaac. But he skips over any mention of the (Abrahamic) covenant and gets right up to date: "But the Jerusalem above is free. and she is our mother." He contrasts the present Jerusalem in verse 25 with the "Jerusalem above" in verse 26. What he means by the Jerusalem above can be seen in Colossians 3:1-3, "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth. For you have died and your life is hid with Christ in God." The Jerusalem above represents the dwelling place of God. Our life and our freedom flow down from him and our lives are already secure on the citizen books of that city. Sarah represents that city because she gave birth to Isaac not by reliance on herself but by an act of God from above in fulfillment of his promise. Therefore, spiritually speaking, she is the mother of all Christians -- of people whose lives are not merely the product of human resources but of God's supernatural work in their heart. So Paul says in verse 28, "Now we brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise." Our real life is not, like Ishmael's, simply owing to the work of man. Our real life is owing to the work of God in us fulfilling his promise to make for himself a people (Gen. 12:1-3) and to put his Spirit within them (Ezek. 36:27) and write his law on their hearts (Jer. 31:33).

This is confirmed by the contrast in verse 29. It says, "But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now." Recall how in verse 23 the contrast was between one born according to the flesh and one born through promise. But notice here in verse 29 that the same contrast is between one born according to the flesh and one born according to the Spirit. "Born according to the Spirit" is interchangeable with "born through promise." This confirms that "children of promise" in verse 28 refers to people whose inner life is the work of God's Spirit in fulfillment of his promise. The difference between Ishmael-types and Isaac-types is a supernatural work of the Spirit of God.

Then verse 30 assures us that not the Ishmael-types -- not the Judaizers -- but the Isaac-types will inherit the blessing of Abraham, even though they may be persecuted. Finally, Paul concludes in verse 31 that we -- that is, we who live by faith in the Son of God and don't rely on what we can achieve on our own -- are not in the slave category but in the category of the free.

Which brings us back to our definition of freedom. Freedom is what you have when there is opportunity. ability and desire to do what will make you happy in a thousand years. Surely everyone here wants this full freedom -- to have occasion and ability to do what you love to do with the result that you live in perfect joy forever. If that's what you want, then this text is crucial for you, because Paul says the Ishmael-types don't have this freedom but the Isaac-types do.

Why aren't the Ishmael-types free? They are not free because they lack the desire to rest in God's promises. They lack the desire to show their own resourcefulness. It's not that they desire to reject God. They simply want him on their own terms. Abraham and Hagar wanted God's blessing but not on his terms.

The Judaizers want God's blessing but not on his terms. Ishmael-types in every age rely on human resources and don't desire to feel like children in need of a father, or like a patient in need of a doctor. Ishmael-types think you can outgrow:

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to him belong,
We are weak but he is strong.

Therefore, when it comes to saving faith, Ishmael-types do not have the freedom of desire. They do not want it. Therefore they also lack the freedom of eternal life, because no one who prefers to live in his own strength rather than trusting God will be saved and go to heaven. And what's more, the hardness of heart that spurns childlike dependence on God will also darken the understanding. Every one of us knows that the most common use of the mind is to justify our desires. Therefore, deeply wrong desires will deeply mislead the mind until it is not able to understand what is right. So Ishmael-types are not free because they lack the freedom of desire to rest in God's sovereign grace; and therefore they lack the freedom of ability to understand God's will, and finally, they lack the freedom of eternal joy, because the life they have chosen leads to destruction.

But we, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise (Gal. 4:28). We have been born of the Holy Spirit. The essence of Christianity is the miracle of new birth. The hallmark of the Isaac-types is that we have been converted, changed, transformed at the center of our lives so that we desire to rest in God's sovereign grace. We desire to become as little children and receive the power and wisdom and holiness from our all-sufficient Father. We hate the remaining tendencies in us to be proud and to trust in ourselves or other people instead of God. Our delight is in the law of the Lord and our choicest food is to do his will in reliance on his power. This is what it means to be born according to the Spirit. This is what it means to say I no longer live but Christ lives in me (Gal. 2:20). His passion becomes our passion.

Therefore, Isaac-types have the freedom of desire. We don't labor slavishly under the burden of having to do what we don't want to do. We are free to do what we love to do and to do it forever in perfect joy. For God has caused us to be born again by the Spirit of his Son, and is shaping our desires according to his will.

"For freedom Christ has set us free! Stand fast, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."


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Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Sandpiper

By Robert Peterson

She was six years old when I first met her on
the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach,
a distance of three or four miles, whenever the
world begins to close in on me. She was building
a sand castle or something and looked up, her
eyes as blue as the sea.

'Hello,' she said.

I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to
bother with a small child.

'I'm building,' she said.

'I see that. What is it?' I asked, not really caring.

'Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand.'

That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my

A sandpiper glided by.

'That's a joy,' the child said.

'It's a what?'

'It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to
bring us joy.'

The bird went gliding down the beach. Good-bye
joy, I muttered to myself, hello pain, and turned
to walk on. I was depressed, my life seemed
completely out of balance.

'What's your name?' She wouldn't give up.

'Robert,' I answered. 'I'm Robert Peterson.'

'Mine's Wendy...I'm six.'

'Hi, Wendy.'

She giggled. 'You're funny,' she said.

In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked
on. Her musical giggle followed me.

'Come again, Mr. P,' she called. 'We'll have another
happy day.'

The next few days consisted of a group of unruly
Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and an ailing mother.
The sun was shining one morning as I took my
hands out of the dishwater. I need a sandpiper, I
said to myself, gathering up my coat.

The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited
me. The breeze was chilly but I strode along,
trying to recapture the serenity I needed.

'Hello, Mr. P,' she said. 'Do you want to play?'

'What did you have in mind?' I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

'I don't know. You say.'

'How about charades?' I asked sarcastically.

The tinkling laughter burst forth again. 'I don't
know what that is.'

'Then let's just walk.'

Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness
of her face. 'Where do you live?' I asked.

'Over there.' She pointed toward a row of summer

Strange, I thought, in winter.

'Where do you go to school?'

'I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation.'

She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the
beach, but my mind was on other things. When I
left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day.
Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.

'Look, if you don't mind,' I said crossly when Wendy
caught up with me, 'I'd rather be alone today.' She
seemed unusually pale and out of breath.

'Why?' she asked.

I turned to her and shouted, 'Because my mother
died!' and thought, My God, why was I saying this
to a little child?

'Oh,' she said quietly, 'then this is a bad day.'

'Yes,' I said, 'and yesterday and the day before
and -- oh, go away!'

'Did it hurt?' she inquired.

'Did what hurt?' I was exasperated with her, with

'When she died?'

'Of course it hurt!' I snapped, misunderstanding,
wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the
beach, she wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed,
and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up
to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the
door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-
colored hair opened the door.

'Hello,' I said, 'I'm Robert Peterson. I missed your
little girl today and wondered where she was.'

'Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy
spoke of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to
bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept
my apologies.'

'Not at all--she's a delightful child.' I said, suddenly
realizing that I meant what I had just said.

'Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had
leukemia. Maybe she didn't tell you.'

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch
my breath.

'She loved this beach, so when she asked to come,
we couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here
and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the
last few weeks, she declined rapidly...' Her voice
faltered, 'She left something for you, if only I can find it.
Could you wait a moment while I look?'

I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say
to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared
envelope with 'MR. P' printed in bold childish letters.
Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues--a yellow
beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was
carefully printed:


Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had
almost forgotten to love opened wide. I took Wendy's
mother in my arms. 'I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so
sorry,' I uttered over and over, and we wept together.
The precious little picture is framed now and hangs
in my study. Six words--one for each year of her life
-- that speak to me of harmony, courage, and
undemanding love.

A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the
color of sand, who taught me the gift of love.

NOTE: This is a true story sent out by Robert
Peterson. It happened over 20 years ago and
the incident changed his life forever. It serves
as a reminder to all of us that we need to take
time to enjoy living and life and each other.
The price of hating other human beings is
loving oneself less.

Life is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of
everyday traumas can make us lose focus about
what is truly important or what is only a momentary
setback or crisis.

This week, be sure to give your loved ones an extra
hug, and by all means, take a moment...even if it is
only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses.

This comes from someone's heart, and is read by
many and now I share it with you...

May God Bless everyone who receives this! There
are NO coincidences!

Everything that happens to us happens for a
reason. Never brush aside anyone as insignificant.
Who knows what they can teach us?

I wish for you, a SANDPIPER!!

I know and love one.

Do you?

** To read many other stories just like this one,
visit: .