Thursday, April 30, 2015

Froggy Grief

"So then, how are you doing now?" they ask. I muster up my best going-forward face and say "Oh, good, thanks," then change the subject as fast as I can. Some days, what I say is true, but some days, it is not. Grief is like a frog struggling up the side of a well, bent on escape into fresh air and solid ground. Just as the frog climbs up a couple of feet, he loses his grip and slides back down. Then, he has to start all over again.

It's over three years since my husband died, but some days, it feels like yesterday.

Psalm 6:6-7 – I'm tired of all this — so tired. My bed has been floating forty days and nights on the flood of my tears. My mattress is soaked, soggy with tears. The sockets of my eyes are black holes; nearly blind, I squint and grope. (MSG)

But in all of this, repeatedly, I find God as faithful as ever to my lonely and distressed widow self. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He comforted all who lost loved ones years before me, and the ones since, and yes, the ones in the years to come. What a gracious God!

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages). (AMP)

Prayer: Thanks, God. Your promises are true and real and forever, and they are ours. Amen.

Brenda Wood

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

He Knows Your Need

Do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (Matthew 6:31–32).

Jesus wants his followers to be free from worry. In Matthew 6:25–34, he gives at least seven arguments designed to take away our anxiety. One of them lists food and drink and clothing, and then says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” ( Matthew 6:32).

Jesus must mean that God’s knowing is accompanied by his desiring to meet our need. He is emphasizing we have a Father. And this Father is better than an earthly father.

I have five children. I love to meet their needs. But my knowing falls short of God’s in at least three ways.

First, right now I don’t know where any of them is. I could guess. They’re in their homes or at work or school, healthy and safe. But they might be lying on a sidewalk with a heart attack.

Second, I don’t know what is in their heart at any given moment. I can guess from time to time. But they may be feeling some fear or hurt or anger or lust or greed or joy or hope. I can’t see their hearts.

Third, I don’t know their future. Right now they may seem well and steady. But tomorrow some great sorrow may befall them.

This means I can’t be for them a very strong reason for not worrying. There are things that may be happening to them now or may happen tomorrow that I do not even know about. But it is totally different with their Father in heaven. He knows everything about them now and tomorrow, inside and out. He sees every need.

Add to that, his huge eagerness to meet their needs (the “much more” of Matthew 6:30).

Add to that his complete ability to do what he is eager to do (he feeds billions of birds hourly, Matthew 6:26).

So join me in trusting the promise of Jesus to meet our needs. That’s what Jesus is calling for when he says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fishing in the Dead Sea

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1, NIV

The Dead Sea is an interesting place to visit. You arrive in the middle of the desert and before you is an expanse of water that has no life in it - no fish, no plants, just a lot of salt. In fact the only thing living in there are the thousands of tourists that bob up and down on the surface, marvelling at the way they can float.

When I visited the Dead Sea recently our tour guide pulled out an interesting certificate to show me the fishing licence she had bought for about $100 that gave her rights to catch fish in the Dead Sea. This seemed a waste of money, as there’s no way you could catch anything but a tourist in that water, but she had confidently bought this licence. For you and I, someone was investing in something that, to the natural eye, was a waste of money and time. But she was looking ahead at a promise from the Lord in Ezekiel 47:8-10 that says:
‘He said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds - like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea”’.

The tour guide was living by a promise in the word of God and had invested in that promise that one day she will catch fish in the Dead Sea. Perhaps people, with the same certificate, had already bought rods, nets and invested in other equipment, in preparation for the day they can go fishing.

The Lord has promised something to each one of us. To the disciples Jesus said, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men’ (Mathew 4:19). He gave them the licence to fish before they were ready, saying that in the future they would fish, and they did! If you have a promise from the Lord, and it all seems like the Dead Sea, hang on to the promise and invest in it. The Lord has not forgotten you. Invest in that promise, prepare for that promise, trust the Lord with that promise, because one day it will be fulfilled and you will be fishing in the Dead Sea.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your promises to me and the fishing licence You have given me, even though I struggle to see how it’s going to be used. I want to move on today with that investment You’ve put in me, and look forward to all You have for me to do in the future. What do You want me to do to prepare for that promise? In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today's Writer : Paul Lawrence

Monday, April 27, 2015

Walking In Valleys

"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me" (Psalm 23:4)

Walking In Valleys

Situated within the Mojave Desert in eastern California is the lowest, driest and hottest location in North America.

On July 10, 1913, the highest reported temperature in the Western Hemisphere, 134 degrees Fahrenheit, was reported at Furnace Creek in Death Valley-a reading two degrees short of the world record. With a basin 282 feet below sea level and walled by steep mountain ranges, the dry air and sparse plant cover allows the sun to heat the surface to unbearable temperatures. Annual precipitation averages only 2.36 inches a year.

Life's valleys can be just as hot and dry. I've walked through a few I don't care to repeat. My emotions were scorched and my physical energy drained. David was familiar with valley walking. He led his sheep through valleys frequented by robbers and wild animals, but he didn't fear because his shepherd protected him.

Yea, "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me" (Psalm 23:4 KJV).

We all periodically walk through valleys. Our world groans under the curse of sin which brings damaging effects on people and the natural order. People do despicable things and nature acts in devastating ways. Others can put us in the valley or we can do it ourselves through disobedience. And valleys are painful, but they don't last forever. At some point-either through confession or the natural progression of events, we walk out and up to the mountaintop.

Valley walking is more easily endured by remembering God walks with us through them. We have no reason to fear. He'll protect and comfort us no matter how dark, hot or long the valley. Put your trust in God when you're in the valleys.

Drink from his Word, trust his Spirit's guidance and lean on good friends.

Prayer: Merciful Shepherd, we trust ourselves to Your care when we're in the valleys.

Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA

Sunday, April 26, 2015


When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit. —John 19:30

The cross was the goal of Jesus from the very beginning. His birth was so there would be His death. The incarnation was for our atonement. He was born to die so that we might live. And when He had accomplished the purpose He had come to fulfill, He summed it up with a single word: “finished.”

In the original Greek, it was a common word. Jesus probably used it after He finished a project that He and Joseph might have been working on together in the carpentry shop. Jesus might have turned to Joseph and said, “Finished. Now let’s go have lunch.” It is finished. Mission accomplished. It is done. It is made an end of.

So what was finished? Finished and completed were the horrendous sufferings of Christ. Never again would He experience pain at the hand of wicked men. Never again would He have to bear the sins of the world. Never again would He, even for a moment, be forsaken of God. That was completed. That was taken care of.

Also finished was Satan’s stronghold on humanity. Jesus came to deal a decisive blow against the devil and his demons at the cross of Calvary. Hebrews 2:14 says, “Only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who hadthe power of death.” This means that you no longer have to be under the power of sin. Because of Jesus’ accomplishment at the cross, finished was the stronghold of Satan on humanity.

And lastly, finished was our salvation. It is completed. It is done. All of our sins were transferred to Jesus when He hung on the cross. His righteousness was transferred to our account.

So Jesus cried out the words, “It is finished!” It was God’s deliberate and well-thought-out plan. It is finished—so rejoice!

Copyright © 2012 by Harvest Ministries

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Learning from Failure

 by Dr. Charles Stanley

Luke 22:31-34

The disciple Peter was a man of great faith and bold action. But as readers of the New Testament know, his brash style sometimes led him to make humiliating mistakes. More than once, this disciple had to wear the label of "miserable failure" rather than that of "obedient servant."

We can all relate when it comes to falling short of expectations. Obedience to God is a learning process, and failure is a part of our development as humble servants. When we yield to temptation or rebel against God's authority, we realize that sin has few rewards, and even those are fleeting.

Failure is an excellent learning tool, as Peter could certainly attest. Through trial and error, he discovered that humility is required of believers (John 13:5-14); that God's ways are higher than the world's ways (Mark 8:33); and that one should never take his eyes off Jesus (Matt. 14:30). He took each of those lessons to heart and thereby grew stronger in his faith. Isn't that Romans 8:28 in action? God caused Peter's failures to be put to good use as training material because the disciple was eager to mature and serve.

God doesn't reward rebellion or wrongdoing. However, by His grace, He blesses those who choose repentance and embrace chastisement as a tool for growth.

We would probably all prefer to grow in our faith without ever making a mistake before God's eyes, but we cannot deny that missteps are instructive. Failure teaches believers that it is much wiser and more profitable to be obedient to the Lord. That's a lesson we all should take to heart.


The May '15 Edition of The StarLight News has been printed, picked up and delivery will start in limited locations Saturday... The remainder will be delivered next week...

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Happy Reading,

Friday, April 24, 2015

5 Destructive Lies You Tell Yourself Every Day - Part 5

Inside BST Just go ahead and admit it. You’re lying to yourself today. Life gets complex, relationships get sticky, loneliness creeps in—and sometimes we just feel the need to bend the truth to make it through the week. We need our lies to keep the pain tucked away where it can’t get to us. That deceitful heart of ours has a way making it easy for us to be okay with these lies (Jeremiah 17:9)—that is, until they’re drawn out by God’s scalpel (Psalm 139:23).
These lies don’t just cover up the pain of life, though. They actually make it harder for us to grow in our faith and in our connection with others. We’ve gotten so numb to them that we don’t necessarily even see the damage they do.
But here’s one time when it’s definitely okay to “name it and claim it.” If we’re to get beyond these lies that we drag around with us, we have to identify them and call them what they are.
Have you seen any of these 5 lies in yourself today?

5. I Can Do That Tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the time for Bible study, for that new morning prayer routine, for that meeting with our pastor or Christian friend. Tomorrow is when we’ll tell our spouse the truth. Tomorrow is when we’ll get honest with God.
But—and this is the truth—many times that “tomorrow” never comes. Even in the midst of how miserable some of our bad life choices make us, we just don’t like to make changes today. We look for a more opportune time—when it won’t be so hard.
That’s why the Psalmist and the writer of Hebrews make sure that we get focused on today:
“So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Psalm 95; Hebrews 3)
Telling yourself that you’ll make a change tomorrow certainly makes you feel better about today’s failures, but it rarely ever changes us. We must remember that a lack of commitment to change today comes with a steep price:
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)
We don’t even know if we’ll have a tomorrow, but we do know we have a right now. And God is faithful in that right now.
“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (1 Corinthians 5:8–9)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

5 Destructive Lies You Tell Yourself Every Day - part 4

Inside BST Just go ahead and admit it. You’re lying to yourself today. Life gets complex, relationships get sticky, loneliness creeps in—and sometimes we just feel the need to bend the truth to make it through the week. We need our lies to keep the pain tucked away where it can’t get to us. That deceitful heart of ours has a way making it easy for us to be okay with these lies (Jeremiah 17:9)—that is, until they’re drawn out by God’s scalpel (Psalm 139:23).
These lies don’t just cover up the pain of life, though. They actually make it harder for us to grow in our faith and in our connection with others. We’ve gotten so numb to them that we don’t necessarily even see the damage they do.
But here’s one time when it’s definitely okay to “name it and claim it.” If we’re to get beyond these lies that we drag around with us, we have to identify them and call them what they are.
Have you seen any of these 5 lies in yourself today?

4. That’s Just the Way I Am.

Often, the easiest way out of dealing with a destructive pattern in our lives is simply to make it an acceptable or unchangeable part of who we are. Whether we see it as a part of our nature or simply as something we “can’t fix,” this lie helps us avoid feeling responsible. We can’t stop it because it’s just too deeply embedded.
But what we don’t like to admit is that God is the one who made us. We were intended to look like, act like, and be like Him (Genesis 1:27; 1 John 3:2). Sure, we all trip up somewhere on the way to that goal, but saying something is “just the way I am” means saying that God messed up or was taken by surprise by our struggles. We’re really just saying that He can’t change us.
Thankfully, we’re wrong. He specializes in making broken things new.
Your struggles are real. Just confess that first. They stink; they hurt; they mess us up. Once you get that out of the way, you can begin the often very long, very painful process of being made like Christ. Just keep this promise in mind:
“… he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
Got that? He’s not going to give up halfway through because you mess up or because you’re just a special case. He will complete the work.
We just have to admit that it is a problem before we’ll ask and seek transformation.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

5 Destructive Lies You Tell Yourself Every Day - Part 3

Inside BST
Just go ahead and admit it. You’re lying to yourself today. Life gets complex, relationships get sticky, loneliness creeps in—and sometimes we just feel the need to bend the truth to make it through the week. We need our lies to keep the pain tucked away where it can’t get to us. That deceitful heart of ours has a way making it easy for us to be okay with these lies (Jeremiah 17:9)—that is, until they’re drawn out by God’s scalpel (Psalm 139:23).
These lies don’t just cover up the pain of life, though. They actually make it harder for us to grow in our faith and in our connection with others. We’ve gotten so numb to them that we don’t necessarily even see the damage they do.
But here’s one time when it’s definitely okay to “name it and claim it.” If we’re to get beyond these lies that we drag around with us, we have to identify them and call them what they are.

Have you seen any of these 5 lies in yourself today?

3. No One Will Get Hurt.

This lie really could be 2b, since these two excuses are like twins. If it’s not enough that no one will know, we also like to tell ourselves that no one will get hurt. If it’s behind closed doors, if it only involves two responsible adults, if it only impacts me, then it’s got to be okay.
However, what we usually mean is that no one will get hurt that we can see right now. We often don’t like to follow the chain of problems beyond the moment or the immediate circumstances. But what we don’t always consider are the spiritual ramifications that could pop up or the problems that might not be so obvious.
We also don’t take into account that God Himself is grieved and pained by our bad choices. God felt major pain because of raging sin before the Flood (Genesis 6:6), the rebellious grieved His Holy Spirit in Israel (Isaiah 63:10), and Jesus longed to gather His people to Him when they refused to accept Him (Matthew 23:37).
In other words, our sins always inflict grief and pain. And they do so to the very one we should want to please.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

5 Destructive Lies You Tell Yourself Every Day - Part 2

Inside BST Just go ahead and admit it. You’re lying to yourself today. Life gets complex, relationships get sticky, loneliness creeps in—and sometimes we just feel the need to bend the truth to make it through the week. We need our lies to keep the pain tucked away where it can’t get to us. That deceitful heart of ours has a way making it easy for us to be okay with these lies (Jeremiah 17:9)—that is, until they’re drawn out by God’s scalpel (Psalm 139:23).
These lies don’t just cover up the pain of life, though. They actually make it harder for us to grow in our faith and in our connection with others. We’ve gotten so numb to them that we don’t necessarily even see the damage they do.
But here’s one time when it’s definitely okay to “name it and claim it.” If we’re to get beyond these lies that we drag around with us, we have to identify them and call them what they are.
Have you seen any of these 5 lies in yourself today?

2. No One Will Ever Find Out.

If we’re ever looking for justification to do something dumb, we usually start here: No one will ever know. True, there might be a thousand variations on that theme, but it almost always comes back to anonymity. That’s why private browsing on the Internet and personal devices such as smartphones and tablets can be some of the most dangerous tools known to humanity. (They’re not necessarily bad, but “personal” devices do have drawbacks.)
No one will know if I watch this. No one will know if I go here while I’m on that work trip. No one will know if I post this anonymous and hurtful comment. No one will ever know.
First of all, there’s no such thing as true anonymity in our world. What we do in “private” very often has a way of being found out and exposed. (Just pay attention to all those hacking breaches you see in the news.)
More importantly, though, God has a way of making our “no one knows” sins come out—and He doesn’t miss any:
“You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.” (Psalm 90:8)
Day by day, we let this lie bring us low and keep us from living the life God has planned. You see, God knows—He always knows the dumb things we do.
But He still loves us:
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
You can’t hide... and you don’t need to.

Monday, April 20, 2015

5 Destructive Lies You Tell Yourself Every Day - Part 1

Inside BST
Just go ahead and admit it. You’re lying to yourself today. Life gets complex, relationships get sticky, loneliness creeps in—and sometimes we just feel the need to bend the truth to make it through the week. We need our lies to keep the pain tucked away where it can’t get to us. That deceitful heart of ours has a way making it easy for us to be okay with these lies (Jeremiah 17:9)—that is, until they’re drawn out by God’s scalpel (Psalm 139:23).
These lies don’t just cover up the pain of life, though. They actually make it harder for us to grow in our faith and in our connection with others. We’ve gotten so numb to them that we don’t necessarily even see the damage they do.
But here’s one time when it’s definitely okay to “name it and claim it.” If we’re to get beyond these lies that we drag around with us, we have to identify them and call them what they are.
Have you seen any of these 5 lies in yourself today?

1. I’m Okay.

We don’t like to dig around inside and examine what’s going on. Why? Because when we start looking, we often find areas that need some major renovations. That gets messy, and most of us are far too busy to go and look for things to fix.
So, we just tie on the “I’m okay” superhero cape and trudge onward. It’s usually only when some sort of tragedy strikes that we finally realize we aren’t as okay as we thought.
But that’s not the biblical model. In the Bible, the Psalmist continually cries out for God to search him and test him and examine him so that He can keep doing the necessary renovation work (for example, Psalms 11, 17, and 26). The attitude of Scripture is more like this:
“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:40)
Honestly, admitting daily that we’re not okay and that we need God’s help can be scary. It means owning our weaknesses and doing the hard work of self-examination on a regular basis. But thankfully for us, God specializes in weakness, especially when we aren’t sure where to start:
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26)
We’re weak. He’s strong. And that’s the best truth there is.

I found this this morning and felt an urgent need to post it...

"No one will miss me", "I’m better off dead"

Read this post from a suicide help site:
      When I worked at a non-profit that handled suicide prevention, I had access to the donation records. Each month, a specific man donated $15 to our organization. It was like clockwork.. same day, same man, he had been doing this for over 4 years. It always seemed odd to me but I never questioned it… until I saw a note attached one month. “For Noah- Dad” his donation was once his child’s allowance.

     I can promise you, they would miss you for the rest of their lives.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

"And his hands were steady until the going down of the sun."—Exodus 17:12.

SO mighty was the prayer of Moses, that all depended upon it. The petitions of Moses discomfited the enemy more than the fighting of Joshua. Yet both were needed. No, in the soul's conflict, force and fervour, decision and devotion, valour and vehemence, must join their forces, and all will be well. You must wrestle with your sin, but the major part of the wrestling must be done alone in private with God. Prayer, like Moses', holds up the token of the covenant before the Lord. The rod was the emblem of God's working with Moses, the symbol of God's government in Israel. Learn, O pleading saint, to hold up the promise and the oath of God before Him. The Lord cannot deny His own declarations. Hold up the rod of promise, and have what you will.

Moses grew weary, and then his friends assisted him. When at any time your prayer flags, let faith support one hand, and let holy hope uplift the other, and prayer seating itself upon the stone of Israel, the rock of our salvation, will persevere and prevail. Beware of faintness in devotion; if Moses felt it, who can escape? It is far easier to fight with sin in public, than to pray against it in private. It is remarked that Joshua never grew weary in the fighting, but Moses did grow weary in the praying; the more spiritual an exercise, the more difficult it is for flesh and blood to maintain it. Let us cry, then, for special strength, and may the Spirit of God, who helpeth our infirmities, as He allowed help to Moses, enable us like him to continue with our hands steady "until the going down of the sun;" till the evening of life is over; till we shall come to the rising of a better sun in the land where prayer is swallowed up in praise.
by C. H. Spurgeon

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

"The precious blood of Christ."—1 Peter 1:19.

STANDING at the foot of the cross, we see hands, and feet, and side, all distilling crimson streams of precious blood. It is "precious" because of its redeeming and atoning efficacy. By it the sins of Christ's people are atoned for; they are redeemed from under the law; they are reconciled to God, made one with Him. Christ's blood is also "precious" in its cleansing power; it "cleanseth from all sin." "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." Through Jesus' blood there is not a spot left upon any believer, no wrinkle nor any such thing remains. O precious blood, which makes us clean, removing the stains of abundant iniquity, and permitting us to stand accepted in the Beloved, notwithstanding the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God. The blood of Christ is likewise "precious" in its preserving power. We are safe from the destroying angel under the sprinkled blood. Remember it is God's seeing the blood which is the true reason for our being spared. Here is comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim, for God's eye is still the same. The blood of Christ is "precious" also in its sanctifying influence. The same blood which justifies by taking away sin, does in its after-action, quicken the new nature and lead it onward to subdue sin and to follow out the commands of God. There is no motive for holiness so great as that which streams from the veins of Jesus. And "precious," unspeakably precious, is this blood, because it has an overcoming power. It is written, "They overcame through the blood of the Lamb." How could they do otherwise? He who fights with the precious blood of Jesus, fights with a weapon which cannot know defeat. The blood of Jesus! sin dies at its presence, death ceases to be death: heaven's gates are opened. The blood of Jesus! we shall march on, conquering and to conquer, so long as we can trust its power!
by C. H. Spurgeon

5 Destructive Lies You Tell Yourself Every Day starting Monday through Friday

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Friday, April 17, 2015

"Show me wherefore thou contendest with me" (Job 10:2).

Perhaps, O tried soul, the Lord is doing this to develop thy graces. There are some of thy graces which would never have been discovered if it were not for the trials. Dost thou not know that thy faith never looks so grand in summer weather as it does in winter? Love is too oft like a glowworm, showing but little light except it be in the midst of surrounding darkness. Hope itself is like a star--not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. Afflictions are often the black folds in which God doth set the jewels of His children's graces, to make them shine the better.
It was but a little while ago that, on thy knees, thou wast saying, "Lord, I fear I have no faith: let me know that I have faith."
Was not this really, though perhaps unconsciously, praying for trials?--for how canst thou know that thou hast faith until thy faith is exercised? Depend upon it. God often sends us trials that our graces may be discovered, and that we may be certified of their existence. Besides, it is not merely discovery; real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials.
God trains His soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers and climb mountains, and walk many a weary mile with heavy knapsacks on their backs. Well, Christian, may not this account for the troubles through which you are passing? Is not this the reason why He is contending with you? --C. H. Spurgeon
To be left unmolested by Satan is no evidence of blessing. 

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Let God Have You

How long has it been since you let God have you? I mean really have you? How long since you gave him a portion of undiluted, uninterrupted time listening for his voice?

Apparently, Jesus did. He made a deliberate effort to spend time with God. Spend much time reading about the listening life of Jesus and a distinct pattern emerges. He spent regular time with God, praying and listening. Mark 1:35 says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Luke tells us, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

Let me ask the obvious. If Jesus, the Son of God, the sinless Savior of humankind, thought it worthwhile to clear his calendar to pray, wouldn’t we be wise to do the same?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Little Things

By Dr. Walter Martin
"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." - John 5:39-40 

A friend who was one of the most gifted philosophy students at New York University, scored in the upper one percentile of all philosophy students in the United States -- an inconceivably brilliant mind. He used to needle me ruthlessly every chance he got because I was a theist: I believed in God. We'd go at it time and time again. 

One night, as we sat in the cafeteria drinking coffee, we had a very interesting discussion. I'll never forget it; it's as if it took place yesterday morning. His name was Kaye. We chatted back and forth for a couple of minutes, and he started needling me again. Finally, I said to him, "Kaye, tell me what you think of Jesus of Nazareth, honestly." 

He answered, "Jesus of Nazareth was an extraordinary human being. He had fantastic insights into the mind of men and into their motives. I've read the New Testament, and I'm very impressed with the person of Jesus." 

"Good!" I continued, "Do you think Jesus was essentially a truthful person?" 

"Oh, I don't think there's any doubt about that at all," he replied. 

"Would you say that Jesus was, perhaps, the greatest moralistic teacher you've ever read?" 

"Oh, I don't think I'd doubt that for a minute, either. I've read all of them." 

"I'm so glad to hear that," I stated. "Now, if you were me, knowing you as I do: hopping from bed to bed, boozing, swearing, telling dirty jokes, living exactly the way you want to live; if you were me, would you listen to Jesus on the existence of God, or you?" 

He looked at me for a minute, put his coffee cup down, and answered, "If you put it that way, I think I'd listen to Jesus." 

"There never was a moment of doubt. Never," I said. 

A few weeks later in class, we were arguing vigorously again with the professor refereeing, when all of a sudden Kaye spouts off, "Now just a minute!" (I thought, Oh boy, now I'm going to get it!) But this time he said, "Martin and I are poles apart. We know our differences of opinion here, but you know, he does have a valid argument. His valid argument is on the person of Jesus. I don't hear anyone here saying they're equal with Jesus. Anybody here think they are? No? Well, that's Martin's position -- until you are, shut-up!" 

Kaye and I became friends. We drank coffee regularly, and I "gave it to him" every chance I got. So you see, the Lord uses little things ... even a cup of coffee.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Just the Way You Are

by Max Lucado

Don’t confuse God’s love with the love of people. That kind of love often increases with performances and decreases with mistakes. When my daughter was a toddler, she loved going to the park and playing in the sandbox. And often I’d give her an ice-cream treat. One day as I turned to do that, I saw her mouth was full of sand. Where I intended to put a delicacy, she had put dirt. Did I love her with dirt in her mouth? Absolutely. Was I going to allow her to keep the dirt in her mouth? No way. I loved her right where she was, but I refused to leave her there.

God does the same for us. “Spit the dirt out, honey,” our Father urges. I’ve got something better for you.” Jesus wants to give us a heart like his. Can you imagine a better offer?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Relationship Wins Over Religion

Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous. Romans 7:18-19

When we begin a new Bible study, regardless of the book or topic being taught, we always do an overview that explains why we are sinners and why we desperately need a Savior. We usually start in Genesis Chapters one through three and discuss what happened in the Garden when man fell and sin entered the human race. After Genesis Chapter three, the rest of the Bible tells us about Jesus, our salvation through Him, and our reconciliation with our Heavenly Father. Our only hope for eternal life with our Lord in heaven rests solely on our faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

We do not teach about a religion but about a relationship with Jesus. Jesus came and died for us so that we could have a relationship with Him, regardless of the sin that exists within us. One of the hardest struggles for Christians is resting in the work that Jesus has already done for us. Once we believe in Jesus, truly receive Him into our hearts, then, we are filled with His Holy Spirit and sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). The seal cannot be broken. But so often, we live as if we still have something to prove to God. So many of us are still trying to work out our salvation in our own strength. We are trying so hard to please God that we are not letting His Holy Spirit truly fill us each day. Tension and stress hurt us in more ways than just physically or emotionally. Any relationship filled with stress and strife will ultimately be in danger of falling apart. The same is true of our relationship with Jesus. He will never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), but we pull away from Him, by leaving and forsaking His presence.

Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
Daily Disciples Ministries, Inc.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dining on a Different Kind of Bread

by Adrian Rogers

“Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us.” - Numbers 14:9

When the Israelites were headed into the Promised Land, there were some demon-possessed giants called Anakim. And when the twelve spies went to spy out the land, ten came back saying, “The land is full of milk and honey, corn and wine, oil and pomegranates, figs and grapes. But, hey, we can’t take this land—there are giants in it!”

But two of the spies said, “Don’t fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us.” Bread, like your toast this morning. “Their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us; fear them not.” They said, “Look, these people are a piece of cake. They’re bread for us.”

Why do you eat bread? For strength. Bread gives energy. Bread is the staff of life. What was God saying? These things that look like problems? They are your food. “Anakim—the breakfast of champions.”

It’s when you feed on these problems that you grow. Our Lord isn’t looking for softies as disciples. Remember, you’re governed by His providence when you’re in a storm. He rules over all. And you are growing by His plan. In the storm you’re going to grow and become more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Who will you pray for today?

You probably have someone on your mind and heart who needs Jesus. She (or he) is not a Christian and she’s not interested in becoming a Christian. 

But if God is free to swoop down, uninvited, and lay hold of a person who is dead in trespasses and sins, and bring him or her to spiritual life — that gives us hope! If God saves, then you can ask him to save her. Can you imagine a more powerful incentive to pray? God can do in the lives of some of your loved ones what you can’t even imagine possible. 

Who will you pray for today, knowing that God can do the impossible in a person's heart?

The Silver Thread
1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead.

The whole system of Christianity rests upon the fact that "Christ is risen from the dead;" for, "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain: ye are yet in your sins." The divinity of Christ finds its surest proof in His resurrection, since He was "Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." It would not be unreasonable to doubt His Deity if He had not risen. Moreover, Christ's sovereignty depends upon His resurrection, "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living." Again, our justification, that choice blessing of the covenant, is linked with Christ's triumphant victory over death and the grave; for "He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." Nay, more, our very regeneration is connected with His resurrection, for we are "Begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." And most certainly our ultimate resurrection rests here, for, "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." If Christ be not risen, then shall we not rise; but if He be risen then they who are asleep in Christ have not perished, but in their flesh shall surely behold their God. Thus, the silver thread of resurrection runs through all the believer's blessings, from his regeneration onwards to his eternal glory, and binds them together. How important then will this glorious fact be in his estimation, and how will he rejoice that beyond a doubt it is established, that "now is Christ risen from the dead."

"The promise is fulfill'd, Redemption's work is done, Justice with mercy's reconciled, For God has raised His Son."

Friday, April 10, 2015


When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him? And the son of man, that You care for him? Psalm 8:3-4

When I was in college at the University of Texas, I used to go to the library at night to study. As I would walk home to my dorm at 11:00 p.m. or so, I would look up into the night sky and think about the greatness of God. I felt so small compared to the vastness of the universe. I would say with David, “Wow, Lord. Who am I that you would care for me or even give me a thought? You are so awesome, and I am so insignificant.”

God is so much greater than our minds could ever comprehend. He created all that we see, all that the highest-powered telescopes can reveal, just by the power of His Word. He simply spoke it all into existence. Universes drip off His fingertips.

The Bible says that God is so “off the charts” glorious and majestic that He even has to humble Himself to behold the things in heaven (see Psalm 113:6). Did you catch that? Every time God looks around heaven, it is a humbling experience for Him. Now, that is glory to the nth degree!
And here is the even more amazing part: this same, infinite God is crazy in love with you and me. We matter to Him. He thinks about us all the time. His thoughts toward you and me outnumber the sand on the seashore (see Psalm 139:18). How cool is that?

Why does God love you and me so much? Why did He send His Son to die such a horrible death for us on the cross? It isn’t because you and I are so wonderful; it’s because God is so wonderful (see Deuteronomy 7:6-9). The Scripture clearly tells us, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Love is a big part of His nature. God chose to love us regardless of who we are or what we do. Because it was God’s choice, it is not dependent on you and me. Talk about getting off the performance-based acceptance train! Here is truth to put in your heart: There is nothing you can do to get God to love you any more than He already does, and there is nothing you can do to get God to love you any less than He already does. He just loves you!

Our job is to receive His love and rejoice in His love. Obedience to His commands comes when you realize that everything God tells us to do or not to do is for our greatest good. The God who loves me tells me yes to some things and no to other things. His commandments are not given to deprive me; they are given to bless me, because every one of them is given in love.

Tonight, go outside and look up into the starry sky. Consider His heavens. Consider how great He is. Then, remember that the awesome God who made all that you see knows your name. He knows your circumstances. He knows your victories and your struggles. He knows everything there is to know about you, and He loves you still.

Share your hopes, dreams, worries, and fears with Him. Tell Him that you love Him. Cast all your cares upon Him, because He really does care for you (see 1 Peter 5:7)! Remember this great word from Isaiah the Prophet, “For since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like You, who works for those who wait for Him” (Isaiah 64:4 NLT)!  He truly will work in the hearts of those who will look to Him and wait for Him.  Will you do it?
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries    

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Strength through Worship

  by Pastor Greg Laurie
“But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.” - (John 4:23)

When we worship on earth, we are in tune with what is happening in heaven. The Book of Revelation gives us this description of worship in heaven: “And they sang in a mighty chorus: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing’ ” (5:12).

When we worship, it helps us to get things into perspective. The psalmist Asaph asked the age-old question, “Why do the wicked prosper?”

And then it dawned on him:
Then I went into your sanctuary, O God,
and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.
      Truly, you put them on a slippery path
and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. (Psalm 73:17–18)
Sometimes we don’t understand why things are the way they are. But when we come and worship, when we hear the Word of God, it helps us gain perspective.

When our son died on a Thursday, my wife and I were in church the following Sunday. People told me my faith was so strong. But actually my faith was weak. I needed help. I needed God’s people. I needed to worship God. I needed to hear a Bible study.

And the moment I walked in, I was surrounded by God’s people. I knew they were praying for me. It helped me gain perspective and see God for who He is and see my problems for what they are. Sometimes we have big problems because we have a small God. But if we have a big God, then we will see, comparatively speaking, that we have small problems.

When we are praising the Lord on earth, we are joining the chorus of heaven. And God is looking for people to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Copyright © 2012 by Harvest Ministries.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Trading Spaces

by Ed Young
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Christ traded spaces with us on the cross. He died in our place, for our sin. But if you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, you only believe one-half of the Gospel. The other half of the Gospel is the fact that Christ fulfilled God's standard perfectly.  He was 100% righteous. So, had Christ been 90% righteous or 80% righteous, his sacrifice would not meet God's demands. He was 100% righteous.

So, once you bow the knee to Christ and ask him to come into your life to take residence, to come into the dwelling place of your heart, then the righteousness of Christ is imputed into your life. Thus, when God sees you, he sees Jesus and his perfect character. This is only able to take place because of the resurrection power.

That's the power that can renovate our minds and hearts today and that will one day completely renovate and restore our sin-torn bodies into glorified bodies that will live forever in heaven. The resurrection is the final hope of every Christ-follower. It is the "final reveal" of God's design and renovation: the perfection of our mind, body, and spirit. On the other side of the grave, when God says, "Okay, open your eyes and see your new space," you will open your eyes in a resurrected, recreated body, a completely new space that you will inhabit for eternity.

It will be the perfect space, designed by the perfect Designer (God the Father), rebuilt by the perfect Carpenter (Jesus Christ) and purchased at the ultimate cost (Christ's precious blood). But you've got to make the choice: Are you going to keep trying on your own to rebuild the rubble left by sin or are you going to let the Carpenter renovate your life into the perfect space.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Slow To Speak

by Tony Evans
In His Presence: Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation (1 Peter 2:2).

In resigning ourselves to God’s Word, we must also be “slow to speak.” This means after we are quick to listen to what God says, we don’t argue with it. Many of us are too busy listening to ourselves talk to hear what God is really saying to us, and when we do hear Him, we don’t want to believe Him—we try to argue with Him!

One Minute Please
We must resign ourselves to the pure truth of God’s Word without adding our own perspective.

In The News:

Christians Targeted in Al-Shabaab Kenya University Massacre

by Carrie Dedrick

A brutal massacre at a Kenya university claimed the lives of 147 people Thursday (April 2). Four gunmen from terrorist group al-Shabaab stormed the dormitories of Garissa University College, singling out Christians to kill. 
An additional 100 people were injured; 500 traumatized students survived the Maundy Thursday terrorist attack. 
The attack extended 13 hours before Kenyan security forces regained control. 
In a post on, Terry Mattingly says that all media outlets stressed the significance of targeting Christians except The Washington Post. 
Mattingly quoted The Washington Post’s story on the attack:
“NAIROBI -- Rescuers removed bodies of students from dormitories at a university in eastern Kenya Friday and airlifted injured survivors to the capital, one day after al-Shabab Islamist militants stormed the dorms and killed at least 147 people, most of them sleeping college students.
“Thursday’s massacre at Garissa University College at about 5:30 a.m. local time was the worst terrorist attack on Kenyan soil in nearly two decades and renewed fears that al-Shabab can still wage significant – and horrific – operations from its strongholds in neighboring Somalia.
“A student at Garissa University, who asked not to be named because of fears for his safety, said the government was retrieving bodies Friday. He said casualties littered the dormitory floors, most of them suffering from bullet wounds.”
The Post does not mention that Christians were targeted in the attack until the 15th paragraph. 
“I could not find one (news story) that buried the "Christian" angle deeper than the Post story,” Mattingly wrote. 
Publication date: April 6, 2015
Editor's Note:
Pray for the persecuted Christians...

Monday, April 6, 2015

Who Am I? An Internal Struggle

by Author Unknown To Me
            The New Age movement initially fosters the idea that you have no need to look beyond yourself, for you are a god. This sort of idea did not begin with the movement. It did not take long for certain New Age practitioners to admit being in touch with Ascended Masters and other beings with similar identifications. These errors had not begun with them either. The same fallen being has long been busy introducing people to error repackaging the same old lies over and over.
            When a person looks inside themselves apart from the working of the Holy Spirit they often come up with self-delusion they must either cover with a great lie or open themselves up to exterior delusion. So an abusive person can convince the self-obsessed they deserve evil done to them; or, the evil beings can bring temptations such as people experience naturally or unnaturally like we see today as the devils have established great headway with gender confusion.
            When people exile God from their culture and their lives an identity crisis occurs in each. This is plainly revealed in the first two chapters of Romans and could be understood as not only descriptive of past civilizations but our own as well. Never forget societies are made up of individuals. We should all ask ourselves how much we are impacted by ideas that assail such as:
   “You are what you look like.”
   "You are what you buy.”
   “You’re just an animal with a conscience.”
   “You are whatever you choose to be.”
   “You are nothing.”
The answer probably is not a comfortable one. Even believers are assailed by the forces around them trying to distort their worldview and consequently how they see themselves.
            The struggle for identity can never be resolved without the recognition we are made in a two-fold image of God found in Genesis. He made us first to be representative of Him in the world and secondly two exercise dominion for Him in the world. Unfortunately man lost title to the earth through sin so the two fold image has become severely marred. When the individual surrenders his self-will to God will he begins to again become complete in Christ beginning with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. So then it is possible to look inside and see something infinitely different from what was thought to be seen without our sins, shortcomings, and failings covered by the blood of Christ.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Peter and the Resurrection

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

Profound sadness coupled with terror wrapped Peter's stomach and clenched it into tight, painful knot.

Yes, Jesus had told his disciples that he would be killed, even that he would be crucified. But Peter hadn't believed it. When you see daily miracles and hear incisive teaching from a confident public figure, you refuse to acknowledge that anything could ever change.

But overnight, Peter's world collapsed.

They had eaten Passover together on Thursday night. But only few hours later, Jesus was under arrest. A hasty trial lit by flickering lamps in the high priest's palace condemned Jesus. Then early-morning shuttles to Pilate, then Herod, then back again to Pilate sealed his fate. By 9 am soldiers were pounding nails into his hands and feet, jerking him upright on a cross to let him hang in the sun -- until the sun itself hid its face and left the onlookers to watch the Master die in the eerie chill of this very black day.

Peter had fled. In fact, none of the Twelve remained to see him buried. Only Mary Magdalene and a couple of wealthy followers were left to take his body down, carry it outside the city, and entomb it.

If you've ever felt despair at the pit of your stomach, then you know what Peter felt. When he did go out, he would walk in a kind of daze, utterly disoriented, shattered, the center of his world now a black hole, an empty void.

How could the Messiah, the heir of David's throne, be executed? It went against all logic. It was impossible -- yet it had happened, and oh so swiftly!

Peter slept fitfully Saturday night and when his eyes opened Sunday morning, the doom of death was heavy upon him. He pulled his cloak over his eyes, hoping he could fall back to sleep, but knowing he wouldn't.

All of a sudden someone was banging on the door. Soldiers! Peter got up with a start. How can I escape? Then he heard Mary Magdalene's voice, and his terror fell back into depression. Mary was breathless, troubled, her face stained with tears.

Peter grumbled, "Why did you have to wake me so early?"

Mary blurted out: "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb!"

Peter pulled his fellow-disciple John to his feet, slammed the door behind them, and began to run through the narrow streets, out the city gate, and then on to the tomb.

The great stone that had sealed the tomb stood open. As they entered, the sepulcher was empty, except for some folded graveclothes. The body was gone.

Folded? That was strange. Folded graveclothes but no body. Hardly what you'd expect from grave robbers.

John seemed convinced by the graveclothes that somehow Jesus had been resurrected or something, but Peter wasn't so sure. How could he believe that after so much had happened? He walked slowly back towards the city pondering, thinking, wanting to believe, but afraid to hope.

Suddenly, Jesus appeared. Peter, the so-called "rock," had publically betrayed him. He had shouted, "I don't know the man!" He was so unworthy. And yet here was Jesus before him. Peter fell to his knees and wept for joy.

Peter never said much to the others about this meeting -- what had been said, what had transpired. But after that you'd sometimes see Peter deep in thought, pensive. Then he would nod his head and traces of a smile would begin to transform his face into one written with thankfulness and joy and peace.

Peter had been whipsawed from his pit of despair and pulled by the Master into peace. Life had changed for the good. And since then many have found this same peace, this same smile of wonder at Jesus' amazing grace. Maybe you too. Jesus had risen -- and Peter never doubted him again.