**Special Prayer Request**
Noah Biorkman is a 5yr old boy who is in his last stages of neuroblastoma cancer after a 2 1/2 year battle. His family is celebrating Christmas next week and all he wants are Christmas cards. Lets try and see how many we can get to him from all over the world please. His address is 1141 Fountain View Circle, South Lyon MI 48178. Please re-post this as your status and let's ask God to heal him while we are at it.
"You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob.
Through You we push back our enemies; through Your name
we trample our foes" (Psalm 44:4-5 - NIV).
This year, with the help of churches and volunteers across the country, we hope to serve over 400,000 Angel Tree children. But we can't do it without you.
As we get closer to Christmas there are still thousands of children who need to know they haven't been forgotten. If you've already supported this year's campaign, thank you so much for your generosity.
"Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time" (Oswald Chambers).
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There are so many problems with dispensatinalism like: three separate judment days, three separate resurrections, two returns of Christ, and Christians having to leave heaven to return to live on a sin-cursed earth. None of this, ofcourse, is even hinted at in Scripture.
Please keep the following individuals in your prayers:
1) "Please pray for my brother Jim hearing to be healed. Also please pray that he gets approved for his mortgage to be refinanced fast. Please pray for his busines to be profitable so he can employe his employees and self. Please pray he gets financial blessings. God Bless you, In Jesus name, Amen." -Cellis;
2) Jamie asks for our prayers: "Please pray for Kyle - 22 yrs old. He was in a serious car accident and is now in a coma with brain injuries. His brain is swelling and we need a miracle.";
3) "PLEASE LORD CONTINUE TO BLESS MY FAMILY WITH THERE HEALTH IN STRENGTH, ALSO BLESS ME AND MY FAMILY WITH A HOME THAT WE CAN CALL OUR OWN. AND FOR A MIRACLE OF MONEY BLESSING." -Regina;
4) Debbie asks us to remember her in our prayers. She writes, "Bless us alll Father. We're in need of Blessing in 1 way or another!!! We need the Favors and gifts that are Promised in the Bible...Amen.";
5) "I would like you to pray for my mother who is far from the truth as she can be. Please pray for her soul, please pray that God touch her life please, I ask, please pray for her. Thank you." -Ashley;
6) "Please pray for healing and recovery for Thomas -who has had a bad fall resulting in a serious head injury. Please also pray for his family who are doing a great deal of traveling to be with him at a care facility far from home. Most importantly please pray that both he and his family will come to the Lord and accept him as their Lord and saviour. Thank you." -NN;
7) Michelle asks for our prayers. She writes, "My husband left the home on July 10, 09 and went to his mothers. From that time till September 14th he was not really helping us out so it left me no choice but to file for a divorce. He was served on September 18th. Since then I have told him many times and he is very aware of the fact that this is not what I want. However, this is what he wants. I have repented of my sins on October 18th and since have really been seeking in the Lord. I have even got my 3 youngest children to attend church and a youth group. The Lord fought that battle for me before it started and lead me to a church of non-denomination, I grew up catholic. Big change but worth it. I understand what is being said to me and my children like it as well. I never had to fight to get the kids to go and that was a huge blessing in it self. I was very thankful that the Lord helped me out in that. What I am really wanting is my marriage restored. I admit I have made many mistakes and am truly sorry for doing so. My husband is not perfect either but for what ever reason can't seem to get on the same page as me. This is breaking my heart and our son's heart as well. My husband is not religious so it makes it more of a challenge. Please pray for me and my husband to have a restored marriage and a loving marriage. MY name is Michelle and his name is Bob (Robert).";
8) "I have a son who namis Timothy. He is in -correctional institute facing 18 years to life. He has served 13 years already. He was sent to the hospital for chest pain over the weekend. I am asking for prayer agreement for his health, his mental stability, protection from the devil and the evil whipsers. Please pray that God keep him safe from harm dangerous people. Protection from his enemies. I am seeking an attorney to help him get an appeal or a sentence reduction. I pray that God guide me to the right attornty to help me with my son getting released early from his snetence. Prayer that judge's heart be softened when it isw time to talk to him again. Pray for love and mercy, mercy. mercy. Amen." -T.P.;
9) Christine asks for our prayers. She writes, "Dear Jesus I pray family please take the demons out of their heads, and stop them from listening to them. Jesus can you take over my moms mouth when it is time, and take me off of my medication. Thank you amen TO those who are reading this and will pray God will talk to you.";
10) "I'm studying carpentrey in Job Corps, and I'm very close to completing my trade. I want to transfer to -Job Corps to study Medical Assisting after this, because there are no jobs in carpentrey. In order to do that, I needed to have Mr. M, our lead trade instructor, to request a transfer. I thought he might be opposed to makeing the request, so I asked Mr. H to talk to him about it. Please pray that God will guide Mr. H when he talks to Mr. M. Pray that God will move Mr. M's heart, and that he will request the transfer. Also, please pray that God will guide Mr. M in how he makes the request, and pray that it will be accepted. Please pray that God will draw a lot of prayer warriors to pray for this with wisdom." -Seth;
11) Michael asks to be remembered in our prayers: "My daughter Jeana age 5 her mom Amber. My former friend Ursa attending U of- My personal prayer needs. A vision, obedient heart, deliverance from cruel harrasement at -, desire to remain sober from marijuana and anger/depression. I need a tremendous financial miricle to help with going back to college, handle on overwhelming debts, a job and car...simply a lot of prayer! Protection from Satan and his attacks on me and my friends/family."
12) "I have been unemployed for over nine months now and am simultaneously in seminary. The stress is sometimes overwhelming and money is running out. Please pray for leads to ministry role or return to corporate world if that is what God desires." -Elke;
13) Terry asks for our blessings: "Lord I pray for my married friends who are fighting. I dont know all the issues but they are not getting along. I pray for peace and happiness in their marriage Bless Travis & Linda in the name of Jesus, Amen.";
14) "My name is Deborrah and I very much would like for you to pray for me. I want to be closer to the Lord. I need him very much in my life. I am in dire need of a job. I'm behind in my bills. My son (John -)bis in prison for drugs and will be home soon. May 2010. I would like for him to be prayed for as well. We both believe in the Lord, we know He died on the cross for us. I need praying for some kind of money to pay to get my fathers will probated and sell his home. Please pray that I can get a job and that I may get the funds to move closer to my grandchildren and live the life God intended me to live. Thank you and May God Bless You.";
15) "PLEASE PRAY FOR MY GRANDAUGHTER AMANDA AND GRANDSON ERIC, THEY ARE HAVING DIFFICULTIES AND DEPRESSION ISSUES. THANK YOU." -Mary;
16) Deb asks for our prayers: "Please pray for my little brother, Timmy, and my sis, Julie, who has taken care of him for 25 or 30 years. He is severely retarded, with pneumonia, and very sickly now. I s 51 years of age, the docs told Mom & Dad that he would live to be 10 or 12. We have been blessed with him. But, I think the Lord is calling him home. He has been very sick the last 6 or 8 months now. And this time, he is VERY sick. Please pray for strength and comfort for Tim, Julie, his caretaker and sister, and her daughters who help her so with him, and all of her grandkids, who also are very, very close to Timmy.... Thank you so, and God Bless you all.";
17) "I need prayer. My husband left four years ago in the middle of a major renovation project. The house is still unfinished it is cold in the winter. I am continually without money and I am tired of trying to do this myself. Pray that the Lord would intervene as we are all feeling overwhelmed and unhappy. Pray for Steve L my friend that he would know how much I love and care for him. Pray for his salvation. And for my son Kyle to resolve his anger. Thank you for your prayers." -Rose;
18) Sherril asks for our prayers. She writes, "That my family be safe and learn that love is the answer to all of our problems. God Bless all of my family.";
19) "Pleae pray that my husband and I will find an affordable home. We live with my Mom who has Dementia and may have to be placed in a nursing home soon. Her home may be lost to Medicaid and we don''t have the money to buy it. Please pray that she will be calm and lucid for her remaining days. We are so stressed and feel so unstable. I am working but my husband needs a job which is even more stressful. Thanks for your prayers." -Frances;
20) Tom asks to be remembered in our prayers. He writes, "I am starting a new online business. Please pray that God will bless my business with reasonable success. Thank you. GOD Bless.";
21) "Thank those that have joined their voice to mine to pray for me and Bruce. I continue to ask for prayers for Bruce and I to be joined back together under God's love. May God help him overcome his fears or whatever they are and have him call me to re establish our relationship quickly. May we be back together for the holidays starting 2010 off as a couple joined in God's holy name." -Deb;
22) Annie asks for our prayers: "My business has been struggling for the last two years and I'm at the end of my rope. I can't afford to give up because so many people are depending on me. Please pray that some miracle will happen to help me. I'm desperate. Thank you!"; and lastly...
23) "I am asking all you prayer warriors to pray for a dear friend of mine who is in the hospital in ICU. Her name is Doreen. Please take a few moments of your time and hold her up to our precious Savior
in prayers of healing. Thank you." -Donna
**God bless you for caring enough to pray!!!**
"Whoever says, I know Him but fails to keep and obey His commandments is a liar, and the Truth is not in him. But he who keeps His Word, truly in him has the love of and for God been perfected. By this we may perceive that we are in Him; Whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself" (1 John 2:4-6 - Amp.).
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name" (John 15:16 - NIV).
A man dies and goes to heaven.
Of course, St. Peter meets him at the pearly gates. St. Peter says, "Here's how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you've done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in."
"Okay," the man says, "I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart."
"That's wonderful," says St. Peter, "that's worth three points!"
"Three points?" he says. "Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service."
"Terrific!" says St. Peter, "that's certainly worth a point."
"One point? Golly. How about this: I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans."
"Fantastic, that's good for two more points," he says.
"TWO POINTS!!" the man cries, "At this rate the only way I get into heaven is by the grace of God!"
"Come on in!!"
"Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell" (James 3:5-6 - NIV).
Jesus, Mediator of Mystery (Part 1 of 2)
By Rev. Dudley C. Rose
John 17:20-26 (The Living Bible)
20“I am not praying for these alone but also for the future believers who will come to me because of the testimony of these. 21My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me.
22“I have given them the glory you gave me—the glorious unity of being one, as we are—23I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one—so that the world will know you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me. 24Father, I want them with me—these you’ve given me—so that they can see my glory. You gave me the glory because you loved me before the world began! 25“O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26And I have revealed you to them and will keep on revealing you so that the mighty love you have for me may be in them, and I in them.”
Because this morning’s reading from John is a first-person prayer, a personal word from Jesus, I have chosen to present the sermon in a similar fashion. For the next several minutes you will hear from Stephen, a late second century Christian from near Jerusalem. I am not, of course, the Stephen in Acts of the Apostles, who was stoned to death as a Christian martyr. He was alive much earlier than I, but I do think my parents may have named me after him. For when they would read aloud in our home of Stephen, full of faith and the Holy Spirit, they would say, “Nothing greater can be said of a man, Stephen, nothing.”
I do not presume to come before you today as a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, at least not like Stephen the martyr. But I was a faithful Christian, who came to love the church and Jesus the Christ. And I want to tell you this morning about what it was like. I want to tell you what it was like to be in the church back then. And I want to tell you a little bit about the scripture you read this morning from the Gospel of John. The Gospel of John, oh what a gorgeous and strange Gospel it is, filled with so many things that are hard to quite get your mind around. And especially this morning’s piece, where Jesus talks about being one with God.
Now I know that you have heard about being at one with things, especially the universe. In your day you even have jokes about it. You must have heard the one about the Buddhist who went up to the hotdog vendor and said, “Make me one with everything.” It’s a pretty lame joke, but I like it anyway.
Anyway, a lot of people have heard about being one with everything, but I’m not sure how many people really know what it means. And I hope I can say what it is, but I have to confess that it’s more than a little hard to describe. I cannot tell you the number of times we would read the Gospel of John in our home and I would ask my parents, “What does Jesus mean? What does he mean when he says, ‘21My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me”? I used to ask my parents, “How can one thing be another thing? How can one person be in another person. And how can a person be inside of God? And how can God be inside of another person?”
They used to laugh and say to me, “Stephen, how did so many questions get inside of you? Maybe those questions are filling you up and there’s no room for God to get inside you.”But they didn’t really mean it. I could tell they liked it that I asked questions. But finally they would say, “Stephen, one day it will make sense to you.” I have to tell you, though, for a very long time it did not make any sense at all. I would sit out in the yard with two stones in my hand, and I would try everything I could think of to get one of them inside the other, or to squeeze them into one thing. But, of course, it never did work, no matter how hard I tried.
After awhile, I gave up thinking about making things one or how one thing could get
inside another. After awhile, I just forgot about those ideas and played ball and did all the things that young boys do. One day, though, I got into a mess of trouble. An older boy down the street took the stone I was hitting with a stick, and he threw it a long way into the bushes. And then he laughed as hard as he could. I got so mad at him that I wacked him as hard as I could with my stick. Of course, he was bigger than I was, so he grabbed another stick, and he beat me up. It was the first fight I was ever in, but my mother took one look and knew right away that I was in
My mother washed by cuts and bruises and she put something on them that didn’t smell too good, but which she said would make me feel better. Then she sat me down, and she said, “Stephen, please tell me what happened.” I told her the whole story, and it made her a little sad, I think, but she didn’t get too mad at me. Then she said, “Stephen, when you got mad and hit the boy down the street because he stole your rock, do you think that was what Jesus would have done?” I told her I didn’t think so. Then she said, “Well, Stephen, remember when you used to ask what it meant for Jesus or God to be inside of you?” I nodded. She said, “Well, maybe a part of what it means is that you do what Jesus would do.”
I said to her, “Geez, Mom, I’ve seen those bracelets that say WWJD (You know, what would Jesus do?), but is that really all that it means to be one with Jesus?
She looked at me and said, “No, that’s not all there is to it, Stephen, but it’s not a bad place to start. And you found out today, didn’t you Stephen? that it’s not all that easy to do, either.”
"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" (Ephesians 2:8-9 - NIV).
The Love of Christ
(Experienced and written by a member of Truth Ministry Men's Support Group)
WOW! What a thought! Jesus Christ, a Man I never met in flesh and blood, a Man who lived 2000 years ago, a Man who was so special that angels sang at his birth…this Man loves me. Not only that, it gets better. He is God in the flesh. That means that the God of heaven who knows what it’s like to live on this earth loves me.
But it gets even better. Jesus Christ knew me before I was born, He formed me in the womb, and He planned out my life so that I would be born to the parents I was born to. I would marry the wife that I married. I would beget the children I have. He planned out all of those blessings for me because He loved me.
But there is one more thing that is so amazing it’s almost beyond belief. Jesus Christ loved me when I was powerless to love him. He loved me even when I was ungodly and didn’t think about spiritual things at all. He loved me when I was an outright sinner. He loved me when I was his enemy. Can you believe that? Everyone of us was powerless, ungodly, sinners, and enemies -- every one of us. And yet Christ loved me.
Christ loved me and saved me even though He knew I would fail Him and sin against Him. You see, He’s omniscient. He knows all things: past, present, and future. So when I was a defeated backslider who could seem to never free myself from my sin, He loved me. When I was disobedient to His commands, He loved me. When I made all my own decisions the way I thought best, He loved me. When I acted like He didn’t see me and thought that I could operate in secret, He loved me. When I was trapped in my sin because of my own doing, and my sin shut out the work of His Spirit, He loved me. When sin began to produce bad fruit in my life, He loved me. When sin’s harvest was brought in, He loved me.
For many years I took the love of Christ for granted. I cheated on Him and worshipped other objects. I ignored Him. I gave Him little of my time. I did little or nothing for Him. I went to Him in minor crises and asked for His help, but I never really trusted Him for big things. I rarely told others about His great love. I was so ungrateful. Many times praise was not genuine, just some lip service on a Sunday morning. In all of this He loved me.
Oh, there were seasons of repentance, rejoicing, service and praise, but then I would slip back into lethargy. And over and over again, the One who loved me and created me for His purposes have to watch me return to a place of sin, defeat, and self-destructive behavior. The sad thing is that as sin wore me down, I became more and more withdrawn from the things that could give me life. I did not drink from the fountain of living water. I did not eat from His feasting table. I wandered in the wilderness, having lost my way, in the dead of winter, with no knowledge as to how to get home. Even when I was as far away from Him as possible, He loved me.
I was a lone sheep. I did not enjoy the fellowship of Christ’s Church. And the place where I should have experienced the love of Christ, the place where the love of Christ is supposed to be manifest in human form, where the love of Christ is felt by the human touch of one brother reaching out to another, I was even farther from the love of Christ. If Christ loved me, then why didn’t I feel loved by His people?
Why didn’t I experience the love of Christ in Church?
Because at church we all pretend to be perfect.
Because men don’t know how to love other men as Jesus commanded in the New Testament.
Because church had become a sermon-listening exercise where I, as a believer was merely an audience member.
Because at church it seems that there is conditional love and conditional acceptance.
Because I did not cultivate a camaraderie among the men at church .
Because at church men didn’t see the need to be intimate with other men and never advanced beyond sharing news about the weather.
Because the men in the church didn’t learn how to be accountable to each other.
Because pride pervaded the church to the point that no one would dare admit that he struggles with sin.
Because there was this idea that you and God were supposed to work everything out in the prayer closet or during the sermon.
Because John 13:35; James 5:16; Galatians 6; and 1 John were ignored.
Because sexual sins are disgusting, taboo, and never mentioned even though Christ and the apostles recognize their existence and even teach of great deliverance from them.
Because I was too proud to ask for help.
Because I was too afraid to ask for help.
Because keeping appearances was more important than having the reality of a life free from sin’s dominion.
Because my sin blinded me to the healing power of confession.
Because the devil is good at keeping people enslaved to their sin and the church sometimes doesn’t take spiritual warfare seriously.
Because the shepherds of the church didn’t know the sheep intimately.
The good news is that even when the Church is lacking and when I didn’t take advantage of the means of grace that were there, Jesus still loves me and He has plans for me, plans for deliverance, and plans for sanctification.
Jesus loved me so much that he was there during seasons of disaster in my life. I endured storm after storm so that I felt like Florida had it easy during its worst hurricane season. Then came an earthquake. The storms did not drown me, and no buildings crushed me during the earthquake.
Jesus loved me so much that He stood with me as I experienced the same kind of rejection He experienced on the cross. Many who loved Him, and those who hated Him, rejected Him. Because He endured that, He can minister to me in times of rejection. When the first hurricane hit I thought all was soon to be lost. An overwhelming sense of rejection came in like a tidal wave. First, I felt rejected by my wife, the one I loved the most in this world. Secondly, I feared that if my wife decided to leave for another man, the reasons would be known that triggered her infidelity and that everyone would blame me, reject me, and hate me. I feared the loss of my wife, my children, my parents, my in-laws, and all my friends. Having been a lonely soul my whole life, I would rather have people like me for who they thought I was. I could not risk letting them know those dark secrets that I had buried in my heart. But Christ had other plans; He was cleaning out my heart, unearthing buried skeletons, and creating a new man. He wanted me to be transformed into His image. He wanted me to be healed of the pains that I had bottled up for decades. He wanted to make me whole. He was not willing to let me languish any longer. So all the rejection had to be dealt with.
So more hurricanes came, week after week a new wind blew in to destroy my old life. The counseling and recovery I had to experience required that I face all the rejections in my life that had crippled me. I faced the pains of rejection by my father, by my peers, by my spouse. Each new remembrance and reliving of the pains of my past allowed me to cast my cares on Christ. His presence in my life was so real that I began to experience His love like I had never known it before. What was once head knowledge became heart knowledge. I gave over to my Savior all the pains of the sins that were committed against me, and He took that all away. Even if all forsake me, even if all reject me, I know that I am accepted in the Beloved. Rejection cannot hurt me as it did before. I know where to take my rejection and I know Who will take it away.
There were groves in my life; those had to be leveled too. In the Old Testament, the children of Israel became idolaters and planted groves of trees where they would worship false gods and commit sexual immorality in that worship. God put His finger on idols that I had in my life and, one by one, they were destroyed. At that time, He took away from me all the guilt and shame of the sins that I had become a willing participant in. Liberty was a reality. Freedom could be quantified by the measure of how little the former things attracted me.
While living life in the dungeon of despair, the wicked jailer will keep moving you deeper and deeper into the bowels of the dungeon. My heart was becoming freer day by day, but there were still several jail doors to pass through before being really free. Old habits still enslaved me. I still had too much love of the things of the world like TV, movies, and computer networking. I would not be completely free until my spirit could walk out with no jail doors to keep me locked up. So another earthquake hit. And just like the time when Paul was in prison and God sent an earthquake and all the prison doors fell off their hinges, my jail doors have fallen off too. Television, movies, Facebook, and other frivolous wastes of time don’t have the appeal that they once had.
The love of Christ is not merely a doctrine to be taught. It must be experienced in life. His love moves Him to intervene in your life’s affairs. And when it seems like the waves are going to drown you and the earthquakes are going to level everything to rubble, rest assured that those disasters will not destroy you. Does everyone have to experience His love in such disastrous surroundings? Perhaps those who are full of faith and obedience experience it to a greater degree and without the need of such dramatic dealings by our Lord. In any case, I do know that the heart that yearns to experience Christ’s love will not be disappointed.
So how do you conclude such a story? Well, what have I learned?
Christ’s love for me is UNCONDITIONAL and it NEVER WAVERS!
Christ’s love is ACTIVE, He is working all things out for my good.
Christ’s love is ETERNAL, nothing I do can cause Him to give up on me EVER.
Christ’s love is ALL-CONSUMING, He is a jealous lover and perfectly capable of tearing my idols down, if I don’t do it myself.
Christ’s love is PATIENT, He endures my follies and forgives over and over again.
Christ’s love is KIND, He only does what is best for me.
Christ’s love is MYSTERIOUS, I will not know how or when He will shower His love on me.
Christ’s love is MARVELOUS AND WONDERFUL AND MERCIFUL AND COMPASSIONATE AND CANNOT BE FULLY DESCRIBED OR EXHAUSTIVELY EXPLAINED.
I can’t just stop there though. Otherwise all of this will just be doctrine in your head, where I’ve just been the illustration and nothing more may come of it. You have to experience it for yourself.
Do you have pain that you have kept bottled up? Christ’s love can take away your pain.
Do you have loneliness that is overpowering and drives you to compulsive and self-destructive behavior just so that someone can accept you at any cost? Christ’s love can flood your most inner self with feelings of acceptance and He can take away that compulsive, self-destructive behavior of trying to get your needs met improperly.
Do you need the tough love of another brother in Christ who will strengthen you like iron strengthening iron? Christ wants to love you through brothers and sisters in Christ.
Do you need intimacy and a place where you can confess your sins and receive healing? Christ will provide you with such friends and give you the help you need. He is the Great Physician and He knows how to heal broken hearts and mend bruised souls.
Are you too afraid to become vulnerable? Christ has never rejected or mocked one who opens the deepest part of one’s soul to Him.
The love of Christ can reach into your life and change everything!
Wait, there’s one more thing.
When you’ve experienced the love of Christ, there is one super-amazing side effect. You will now have the ability to love others unconditionally.
You will be able to forgive anyone of any sin they have committed against you.
You will be empowered to speak of Christ’s love to perfect strangers.
You will be able to love those who were just like me and I’m perhaps like you.
You will be able to love the ones in your life who have disappointed you, because you will gain the stamina of Christ and His persevering love.
You won’t look at people as sinners and saints; you will look at people as another person who needs to know the love of Christ.
You will be able to love others as Christ has loved you.
So go experience the love of Christ.
Go and share the love of Christ.
Whether you are a young person trying to make a place for yourself in the world, a parent trying to give your children the best possible opportunities, or a more mature person trying to enjoy the fruit of your hard work, you have likely discovered that life can be very challenging. The answers are not always clear and the choices are not always easy. Fortunately, no matter where you are in life, you don't have to try to work it all out yourself. There is a God Who has all the answers and a church that wants to help you tap into them.
Tap into: RealLifeSC.org
By Bill Keller
I have to admit to you, that through all that I have seen and experienced in my life and during over a decade in ministry, VERY little shocks me any more. It is not that I am apathetic to what happens in this world, but I realize that sinful men and women who rebel against God are capable of doing ANYTHING. But the other afternoon was one of those rare times that I was both shocked and deeply saddened.
I was at the salon the other day getting my hair cut. As I was waiting, I saw the cover of the recent Cosmopolitan magazine and the BOLD PRINT featuring an article on "50 Sex Tricks ." Now my friend, I am 51 years old, I have been married over 25 years, and prior to fully surrendering to Christ 20 years ago lived in rebellion to God for many years. So I am fully aware of what goes on between men and women not committed to the Lord. But here was a well established, national publication, geared primarily to young women in a place ANYONE of ANY AGE could see, espousing the glory of having sex outside of marriage. Yes, I was shocked and saddened by the message that Cosmopolitan was sending out.
When I got home, I told my wife about the Cosmopolitan cover and she told me that she was in the supermarket check-out line a few weeks ago and saw a past issue of Cosmopolitan. She told me that as she looked through it, she was appalled at the graphic detailed nature of what they were promoting to young women as perfectly acceptable sexual behavior. While I couldn't believe what the cover I saw had said, I assumed that it was just for shock value to get people to buy the magazine.
So my wife and I went out, bought the copy that I had seen, and I can only tell you that I became even MORE SHOCKED as I read through the contents of the entire magazine. It was pure pornography. The saddest thing to me was that this a very prominent national publication that has been around for years, and is responsible in shaping the views of the young women who read it. What they were promoting as acceptable behavior was not only 100% AGAINST God's plan, but does not "empower" women as they claim, it cheapens them!!!! IT DESTROYS THEM!!!!
I make this an issue today for 2 reasons. First, moms and dads, DO NOT let your daughters read this garbage. It is as bad as any pornography that is on the market, and worse since instead of being in a plastic cover behind the counter, it is on shelves where YOUR daughter can see it and can purchase it. Second, young women, I often talk about "garbage in, garbage out." What is on the pages of that magazine is GARBAGE. Stay away from it!
Just so that I am clear, I am NOT for censorship. I believe in and support the first amendment of our Constitution. There are MANY out there who would love to censor what I say each day. The publishers of Cosmopolitan have EVERY RIGHT to print that garbage, just as Larry Flynt and Hugh Hefner have every right to print the garbage they do. BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN WE HAVE TO CONSUME THEIR GARBAGE!!!! Sadly, what I saw in that issue of Cosmopolitan was just that, pure garbage since it was 100% in opposition to God's Word.
Young women, listen to me. I am saying this because I love you and care about you so much. Sex is a WONDERFUL thing. God created it so it HAS to be wonderful. But God created sex to be enjoyed between a man and a woman in the bonds of marriage. Period! The Bible talks over and over about fornication. That is literally, ANY sex outside of the bonds of marriage. It includes ALL sexual acts, NOT just sexual intercourse! The line was clearly set by Jesus when He said that if you "lust in your heart" you have sinned.
God created you in His own image. He loves you. You are special!!! Sex does not make you special, you are special because God made you. If you have made the choice to accept Jesus Christ into your heart, YOU are a daughter of the King! Don't ever let Cosmopolitan, or any other magazine, or any TV program, or other person make you forget that you are special! You have a ROYAL bloodline if you know Jesus!!!
The sad thing about what Cosmopolitan, TV, the movies, and our culture do is glamorize sin. They make sex seem SO WONDERFUL, which it is IF...IF..IF...it is the way God designed it to be enjoyed....IN THE CONTEXT OF MARRIAGE!!!! NOT OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE!!! Well, I have news for you. I receive thousands of emails daily from young women and young men who fell for satan's (Cosmopolitan's) lie. Their problems range from unwanted pregnancies, to STD's that they will have always have to deal with, deep emotional issues, and a full range of other problems.
These are permanent scars that they will carry with them for the REST OF THEIR LIVES!!! Many have had their world shattered at such a young age. So many are wonderful, good young people who simply fell for the lie of the enemy. LISTEN TO ME. YOU ONLY HAVE ONE LIFE TO LIVE.....DON'T MESS IT UP!!!!
The enemy is here for what? TO KILL, STEAL , AND DESTROY! Jesus promised what? LIFE, AND LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY!!!!
I have broken one of my rules about length today. But I have SO MUCH passion about this issue since I see daily thousands who have bought into the "Cosmopolitan view of life." I will go so far today, without any hesitation and say that Cosmopolitan is just as much a tool of satan to destroy the lives of God's precious young women, as Playboy and Penthouse are in the destruction of men!
I pray this day, that this Devotional gets to the publishers of Cosmopolitan. I pray for their souls because of the damage that they are doing to young women all over the world with their magazine. I say to them that you are simply a tool of satan and you are as guilty as he is in the lives you are destroying. For those who read my Devotionals each day, you know that I don't say these things lightly. But I SEE THE DESTROYED LIVES EVERY DAY. I KNOW WHAT SATAN IS DOING THROUGH INSTRUMENTS LIKE COSMOPOLITAN IN DESTROYING THE LIVES OF YOUNG WOMEN!
I do love you and care about you so much. In closing, let me just say this. God loves you, never forget that! Follow Him daily and your life will be blessed. He gave us His Word so that we didn't have to get lost on our journey. He gave us the roadmap. If we follow it, we will know the joy, the peace, the abundance of this life. If we take a detour, we are on our own and there is a very real enemy out there just waiting for us to get off the path to destroy us! To those young women who are reading this today, forget Cosmopolitan and use that time reading God's Word. IT IS NO ACCIDENT THAT GOD IS LETTING YOU READ THIS TODAY! God, NOT Cosmopolitan will make you a REAL WOMAN, ALL THE WOMAN GOD RAISED YOU UP TO BE!!!
"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:3-7 - NIV).
Neil Pope has been ministering through gospel music since he was 15 years old. Growing up under the wings of artist like Wendy Bagwell, Jan Buckenr, Amy Lambert, and Mike Speck, Neil has been on the gospel music scene since a very young age.
Jesus, Mediator of Mystery (Part 2 of 2)
Over the years it seemed that I had to learn over and over again how hard it was to do what Jesus would do, or what he would have wanted me to do. I remember the time that a popular group of boys said I could be in their group. But they told me I could no longer be friends with some of my other friends, because they were Geeks. I really wanted to be popular, so I said okay. But I knew it wasn’t right.
They say that as they grow older, boys don’t really grow up. Their toys just bit bigger. Well, it’s not just their toys. A lot of choices get bigger, too. I mean, when I think back about getting in a fight over a stone, or trying to be accepted in the popular group, I realize that those things were small olives (We didn’t have potatoes near Jerusalem, so we used to say small olives.). Anyway, the stakes became greater and greater. Was I going to turn in my friend to the Romans, or was I going to risk protecting him? Was I going to ruin another person’s career so I could get ahead at work? Was I going to charge a fair price for the furniture I made even though I could get more money? Was I going to be honest with my wife when it was so much easier and less stressful to lie. Was I really going to turn my cheek or walk the extra mile or give up my cloak, when I didn’t have to?
During all this time, I kept going to our church. In a way, it was confusing. It seemed that at almost every turn the message the world gave was opposite to the message that Jesus gave. There were lots of times that I thought I should just give up on what Jesus said. I mean, what good was he if nothing he said fit into the world. But I kept on going. Maybe it was remembering my mother’s instruction to me when I was a boy. Maybe it was habit. But in truth, I think it was more than that. Because no matter how ridiculous what Jesus said was, somewhere deep inside of me there was this voice, well it wasn’t a voice , really, maybe more a realization. That’s it, even though what Jesus said was ridiculous, I more and more realized that it actually made sense. Now, of course, what I just said doesn’t make any sense, does it? How can something be ridiculous and make sense at the same time. Well, I think it must be something like what the apostle Paul meant when he said: “For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” In any case, I kept going to the church, and this idea, this strange sense of things kept growing within me.
As time went on, something even stranger began to happen. I began to think like the voice, the realization that was within me. How can I explain it? Let’s see. Ah, yes. Do you remember in the other Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, when Jesus was tempted in the desert. He was starving and the devil offered him bread? How the devil took him high up on an overlook and waved his hands and said, “All of this can be yours”? I remember thinking what great moral strength Jesus had when he refused the devil. And that was certainly true to some degree. But what I had missed, and what began to come clear to me, was that Jesus was much more in tune with, much more disposed to do the right thing than the wrong thing.
For me, in the beginning, the ways of the world were the most obvious and present, and in the background, within me, was a small voice, telling me things weren’t as they seemed. But as time went on, the whole thing became reversed. After awhile it suddenly dawned on me, that the voice within me had moved to the front and was much stronger, and the wiles of the world were more and more becoming the background noise. I wouldn’t want to sound too bold, but in some sense I began to feel as though I were in tune with the heart and mind of God.
It was not long after this realization dawned on me that I read the passage from John that we are talking about, and I began to understand more fully what Jesus was praying to God about. Jesus knew that the world on its own inclinations does not know God. And Jesus knew that by its own efforts it is almost impossible for the world to come to know God. Without help, the way of the world has too strong a hold on humankind, and it cannot break free.
This is the sense in which I understand that God’s son came to save the world. And Jesus knew that the project was just beginning with his first disciples. They were beginning to get the picture. But he was worried, and he prayed to God with these words: “20“I am not praying for these alone but also for the future believers who will come to me because of the testimony of these.” Jesus thought of the future generations, and he imagined, I believe, the church. He imagined the continuation, whereby this first generation would continue to grow in their faith, and whereby the testimony of this first generation would go on to the next and the next and the next. For Jesus recognized that without the church, without a vehicle for the testimony and the teaching and the lived celebration of the love of God, the people could not become one with God.
When I reread this passage back then, it suddenly washed over me what had happened. It was just as Jesus had prayed. In the church, with teachings that at first seemed quite at odds with my instincts, day by day, gradually, I came more and more to know the presence of God within me, dare I say it? to more and more feel at one with God. Listen again to the prayer of Jesus, and know that it was meant for you. 20“I am not praying for these alone but also for the future believers who will come to me because of the testimony of these. 21My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me. 22“I have given them the glory you gave me—the glorious unity of being one, as we are—23I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one—so that the world will know you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me. 24Father, I want them with me—these you’ve given me—so that they can see my glory. You gave me the glory because you loved me before the world began! 25“O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26And I have revealed you to them and will keep on revealing you so that the mighty love you have for me may be in them, and I in them.” Amen.
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What God Hath Promised!
By Annie Johnson Flint
God hath not promised
Skies always blue,
All our lives through;
God hath not promised
Sun without rain
Joy without sorrow,
Peace without pain.
But God hath promised
Strength for the day,
Rest for the labor,
Light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
Help from above,
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I'm just a nobody
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that there is somebody
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Never get so busy doing the work of the kingdom
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