Friday, September 30, 2016

Bible Principles of Mind Cure

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. Psalms 121:4-5

We are not to let the future, with its hard problems, its unsatisfying prospects, make our hearts faint, our knees tremble, our hands hang down. "Let him take hold of My strength," says the Mighty One, "that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me." Isaiah 27:5. Those who surrender their lives to His guidance and to His service will never be placed in a position for which He has not made provision. Whatever our situation, if we are doers of His word, we have a Guide to direct our way; whatever our perplexity, we have a sure Counselor; whatever our sorrow, bereavement, or loneliness, we have a sympathizing Friend.

If in our ignorance we make missteps, the Saviour does not forsake us. We need never feel that we are alone. Angels are our companions. The Comforter that Christ promised to send in His name abides with us. In the way that leads to the City of God there are no difficulties which those who trust in Him may not overcome. There are no dangers which they may not escape. There is not a sorrow, not a grievance, not a human weakness, for which He has not provided a remedy.

None need abandon themselves to discouragement and despair. Satan may come to you with the cruel suggestion, "Yours is a hopeless case. You are irredeemable." But there is hope for you in Christ. God does not bid us overcome in our own strength. He asks us to come close to His side. Whatever difficulties we labor under, which weigh down soul and body, He waits to make us free.

He who took humanity upon Himself knows how to sympathize with the sufferings of humanity. Not only does Christ know every soul, and the peculiar needs and trials of that soul, but He knows all the circumstances that chafe and perplex the spirit. His hand is outstretched in pitying tenderness to every suffering child. Those who suffer most have most of His sympathy and pity. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and He desires us to lay our perplexities and troubles at His feet and leave them there...

When temptations assail you, when care, perplexity, and darkness seem to surround your soul, look to the place where you last saw the light. Rest in Christ's love and under His protecting care. When sin struggles for the mastery in the heart, when guilt oppresses the soul and burdens the conscience, when unbelief clouds the mind, remember that Christ's grace is sufficient to subdue sin and banish the darkness. Entering into communion with the Saviour, we enter the region of peace.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


By M. Stanford

"Always guarded by the power of God through faith. . .. In such a hope keep on rejoicing, although for a little while you must be sorrow-stricken with various trials" (1 Peter 1:5,6, Wms.).

There are testimonies, and there are testimonies. Some can testify as to how God cleared up adverse circumstances for the victory; but others can testify to the triumph God gave in the midst of difficult circumstances. The essential consideration is that our Father be glorified in all His dealings with and for us. How He brings it all about should be secondary to us.

"If there is a great trial in your life today, do not own it as a defeat, but continue, by faith, to claim the victory through Him who is able to make you more than conqueror, and a glorious triumph will soon be apparent. Let us learn that in all the hard places our Father brings us into, He is making opportunities for us to exercise such faith in Him as will bring about blessed results and greatly glorify His Name."

"God has put you in exactly the right crucible to burn up what He sees needs to be burnt up. Many think 'victory' means getting your circumstances put right. No! true triumph is within -when in the midst of your circumstances the Spirit of God can so energize you and strengthen you in spirit, that you can stand quiet in the thick of it all, and say, 'God is God,' and know that you are held by Him - which is infinitely better than all your trying to hold things steady."

"Therefore, my brethren. . . stand fast in the Lord" (Phil. 4:1).

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Keeping On An Even Keel

by Pastor C. R. Stam

      Occasionally we receive letters on the importance of preaching a"well-rounded" message. One old friend wrote us recently to the effect that, unlike this writer, he sought to keep on "an even keel" in his ministry, not just preaching the mystery revealed to Paul, but the whole Bible, and opposing fluoridations, communism, modernism and all that he felt was opposed to the truth.

Now we too seek to proclaim a "well-rounded" message and to keep on "an even keel" but what does this involve? Is one who consistently proclaims the mystery lopsided or unbalanced in the message? Were the twelve apostles off balance when they proclaimed "the gospel of the kingdom"? Of course not, for this is what they were sent to proclaim(Luke 9:1-6).

And neither are we off balance or lopsided in our ministry when we consistently proclaim what Paul called "my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery" (Rom. 16:25),for this is our gospel too.

This does not mean that we are to preach only from the Pauline epistles.Far from it. But it does mean that we should make sure that our hearers are well-grounded in the Pauline epistles and that when we preach from other parts of the Bible we should relate it to the mystery, God's message for today.

When the twelve apostles preached from the Old Testament Scriptures,they preached Christ according to the revelation of prophecy. But Paul's "gospel" was "the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery" Hence when we preach from the Old Testament Scriptures, we should preach Christ "according to the revelation of the mystery", applying, relating, comparing, and contrasting God's  programs for other dispensations with His program for the dispensation of grace.This is exactly what Paul himself does in Romans and Galatians, and this is "keeping on an even keel."

A failure to "preach the Word"and to preach it rightly divided is not keeping on an even keel or bringing a well-rounded message; it is simply getting away from the message God has commissioned us to proclaim.

Since the faithful proclamation of this glorious message rouses Satan's enmity more than anything else, we must pray for God-given boldness in making it known, like the Apostle Paul, who said:

"[Pray] for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." (Eph. 6:19,20).

Today's Thought:
Religion is detrimental to your well-being!  Religion is false! Religion is the reason why many unbelievers refuse God and Christ! Religion is dead!  Religion is Satan’s buddy!  Religion is destroying the faith of  many!  Religion was NAILED TO THE CROSS, AND THE ENMITY THEREOF! We who have trusted Christ are a New Creation which God did,and He placed us into the Body of Christ.

 Therefore, it is the responsibility of each and every member of the Body of Christ to be a good soldier, and TO PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD, THAT  YE MAY BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND IN THE EVIL DAY, AND HAVING DONE ALL, TO STAND!  (Eph. 6:13

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


By Donald Webb

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:6

Ephesians 3:6 might be better understood if stated thus: "That the Gentiles should be joint heirs, and a joint body, and joint partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel." This verse is actually answering the question "what is the mystery?" What is the mystery or secret (verses 3 and 4) which was not made known in other ages (verse 5) but now made known by revelation to Paul (verses 3 and 5)? It is that the Gentiles should be joint heirs, a joint body, and joint partakers of God's promise! We might ask "joint with whom?" With the Jew (2:11-18)! We would further ask "joint in what?" Joint in a new heavenly organism, the Body of Christ. The secret is that in this hitherto unprophesied age of grace believing Jews and Greeks are now reconciled into one new man---a joint body---by the cross (2:15,16). Israel and her kingdom program have been set aside and now our greater commission is to "make all men see what is the fellow-ship of the mystery" (Ephesians 3:9)!

But what are we joint heirs to? We're joint heirs to inherit the salvation of God (2:5-10). Next we're a joint body, that is that any man, without national distinction, upon believing the gospel is placed into this new organism---the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13). Finally, we're joint partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel. What is His promise in Christ? It is the divine principle which God promised before the world began but did not fully reveal until Paul, that of eternal life in Christ for all (Jews or Greeks) who believe the gospel (Titus 1:2; 3:4-7). This promise is centered in Christ i.e., the finished work he accomplished on Calvary's cross. It is assured by God's own faithfulness to His immutable counsel and oath. It is received through believing the gospel of grace. How wonderful to know and proclaim the secret!

Monday, September 26, 2016


By C. R. Stam

Abraham’s faith in God was strong. When God called him to forsake his family, friends and country, he obeyed and "went forth, not knowing whither he went." When God promised to multiply his seed as the stars of heaven, he believed it, though childless. When, in his old age, God  promised that he would still have a son by ninety-year-old Sarah, he believed it even though he had waited so long, seemingly in vain. When God promised to give his seed the land in which he had sojourned, he believed it, though all reason argued against it. When God asked him to offer in sacrifice the son born so late in life, the son upon whom all the promises depended, he obeyed, concluding that it must be God’s plan to raise him from the dead!
Such was Abraham’s faith in God! Three times this is emphasized in Romans 4 alone: He was "not weak in faith" (Ver. 19); he "staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief," but was "strong in faith" (Ver. 20). But it was not the strength of Abraham’s faith that saved him; it was the fact that the object of his faith was God (See again Gen. 15:6). He had placed his faith in the right Person. His faith became "strong" only because he had heard and believed God in the first place.
"For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," and thus  "to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom. 4:3,5).

The simplest, humblest believer, who ever so feebly commits himself to God and His Word, is "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24).

Sunday, September 25, 2016


    More often than not, this is the month in which we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. To a few this is a myth, to some a fact, but to many it is a blessed hope!

     How many people fully understand and comprehend the power of Jesus Christ's resurrection? How many Christians are allowing themselves to be energized and governed by that same power in their daily lives?

    There are two great verses in Philippians, chapter three, concerning the power of the resurrection. In Philippians 3:10 we read, ''that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection." In Philippians 3:21 we read, "who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body" (NIV). The first verse concerns the power of the resurrection enjoyed and revealed morally. The second concerns the power of the resurrection enjoyed and revealed physically. Therefore, the resurrection has a moral as well as physical aspect.

    One day the believers will exhibit Christ's physical glory in resurrection; Philippians 3:21, "who shall change [transform or change the fashion of] our vile body [body of humiliation], that it may be fashioned like [to be conformed] unto his glorious body [the body of glory]." Ken Taylor has paraphrased this verse thusly: "When He comes back He will take these dying bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like His own ... " This truth assures believers of immortality (see also 1 Corinthians 15:14-20,51-53, and 2 Corinthians 5:1-61). After penning the truth in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, concerning the resurrection of the saints in this dispensation, Paul concluded by saying, "Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (v.18). The truth of immortality is a tremendous comfort to the child of God.

    But in Philippians 3:10, the power mentioned assures the believer of justification (Rom. 4:24,25; 1 Corinthians 15:17). To be justified means to be declared righteous because of the imputation of divine righteousness (Rom. 3:24,25; 2 Corinthians 5:21). This justification brings "peace with God;" "Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God" (Rom. 5:1 ).

    Secondly, the power in this verse raises up the believer spiritually with Christ. How? By identification (Rom. 6:3,4; Col. 2:12).

    Thirdly, the power allows the believer to triumph over sin and produce the fruit of the Spirit in his/ her life. The Greek word translated ''to know" in Philippians 3:10 means ''to know by experience." Paul wanted the same power surging through his own being, that raised Christ from the dead, which helps believers over-come sin in their lives and produces the Christian graces. The Greek word for power in this verse is dunamis.

    There are two aspects to this Greek word; one relates to that which overcomes resistance (Rom. 6:6, 14, 17, 18), our word dynamite; the second refers to inherent power, the power to reproduce itself (Gal. 2:20; 5:22,23), our word dynamo.

    What power was it that raised Christ from the dead? According to Romans 8:11 it was the Holy Spirit. How do we, then, appropriate this resurrection power? By faith--(Eph.1:15,16,19,20) and by yielding to the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18; Rom. 6:13, 16). It is said of the disciples in Acts 1:8 that they would receive power "after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you." You and I, as children of God, have this power continually at our disposal in this dispensation of grace because of the presence of the Holy Spirit indwelling our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19).

    One of the great tragedies of the Christian life is unrealized, and therefore unused, power. As we will exhibit Christ's physical glory in resurrection, so should we exhibit His moral glory in daily conduct. So often we are willing to believe a divine fact (physical resurrection) but are not willing to be energized and governed by the same divine fact (power for victorious living). Philippians 3:10 must be true in your life before Philippians 3:21can be a hope. Remember, resurrection is a demonstration of Christ's power and Calvary is a demonstration of Christ's love (Rom. 5:6-8).
Unknown Author

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Complaining Again

And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: Exodus 16:2

Many look back to the Israelites, and marvel at their unbelief and murmuring, feeling that they themselves would not have been so ungrateful; but when their faith is tested, even by little trials, they manifest no more faith or patience than did ancient Israel.

God had promised to be their God, to take them to Himself as a people, and to lead them to a large and good land; but they were ready to faint at every obstacle encountered in the way to that land. . . . They forgot their bitter service in Egypt. They forgot the goodness and power of God displayed in their behalf in their deliverance from bondage. They forgot how their children had been spared when the destroying angel slew all the first-born of Egypt. They forgot the grand exhibition of divine power at the Red Sea. They forgot that while they had crossed safely in the path that had been opened for them, the armies of their enemies, attempting to follow them, had been overwhelmed by the waters of the sea. They saw and felt only their present inconveniences and trials; and instead of saying, "God has done great things for us; whereas we were slaves, He is making of us a great nation," they talked of the hardness of the way, and wondered when their weary pilgrimage would end.

The history of the wilderness life of Israel was chronicled for the benefit of the Israel of God to the close of time. The record of God's dealing with the wanderers of the desert in all their marchings to and fro, in their exposure to hunger, thirst, and weariness, and in the striking manifestations of His power for their relief, is fraught with warning and instruction for His people in all ages. The varied experience of the Hebrews was a school of preparation for their promised home in Canaan. God would have His people in these days review with a humble heart and teachable spirit the trials through which ancient Israel passed, that they may be instructed in their preparation for the heavenly Canaan.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Grace to Overcome Deficiencies

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2 Corinthians 6:1

The Lord gave an important lesson to His people in all ages when to Moses on the mount He gave instruction regarding the building of the tabernacle. In that work He required perfection in every detail. Moses was proficient in all the learning of the Egyptians; he had a knowledge of God, and God's purposes had been revealed to him in visions; but he did not know how to engrave and embroider.

Israel had been held all their days in the bondage of Egypt, and although there were ingenious men among them, they had not been instructed in the curious arts which were called for in the buildings of the tabernacle. They knew how to make bricks, but they did not understand how to work in gold or silver. How was the work to be done? . . .

Then God Himself explained how the work was to be accomplished. He signified by name the persons He desired to do a certain work. Bezaleel was to be the architect. This man belonged to the tribe of Judah--a tribe that God delighted to honor. . . "And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee" (Ex. 31:1-6).

Among the multitude were Egyptians, who had acted as overseers for such work, and thoroughly understood how it should be done. But the work was not dependent upon them. The Lord united with human agencies, giving them wisdom to work skillfully.

Skill in the common arts is a gift from God. He provides both the gift and the wisdom to use the gift aright. In order that the earthly tabernacle might represent the heavenly, it must be perfect in all its parts, and it must be, in every smallest detail, like the pattern in the heavens. So it is with the characters of those who are finally accepted in the sight of heaven. Let the workmen in the service of God today pray to Him for wisdom and keen foresight, that they may do their work perfectly.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Free at Last!

And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness: Psalms 105:43

With sandaled feet, and staff in hand, the people of Israel had stood, hushed, awed, yet expectant, awaiting the royal mandate that should bid them go forth. Before the morning broke, they were on their way. . . . That day completed the history revealed to Abraham in prophetic vision centuries before: "Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance" (Gen. 15:13, 14).

In bringing forth Israel from Egypt, the Lord again manifested His power and His mercy. His wonderful works in their deliverance from bondage and His dealings with them in their travels through the wilderness were not for their benefit alone. These were to be as an object lesson to the surrounding nations. The Lord revealed Himself as a God above all human authority and greatness. The signs and wonders He wrought in behalf of His people showed His power over nature and over the greatest of those who worshiped nature.

God went through the proud land of Egypt as He will go through the earth in the last days. With fire and tempest, earthquake and death, the great I AM redeemed His people. He took them out of the land of bondage. He led them through the "great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought" (Deut. 8:15). He brought them forth water out of "the rock of flint," and fed them with "the corn of heaven" (Ps. 78:24). "For," said Moses, "the Lord's portion is his people: Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him" (Deut. 32:9-12). Thus He brought them unto Himself, that they might dwell as under the shadow of the Most High.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Honouring Parents

The Bible teaches that we should respect and honor our parents. If a father is an alcoholic and deserts his wife and children are those children still obligated to honor their father? Is a son or daughter then obligated to go to that father when he is dying?

I believe Ephesians chapter six and verses one through four and also, Colossians three and verses twenty and twenty-one will help us answer this situation.  These scriptures teach us that it is right for children to obey and respect their parents. However, fathers are commanded not to “provoke” their children to anger or wrath. That tells me that there must be some things that a father can do that will cause anger in the heart of his children. God says that it will cause those children to be discouraged. Those children may have a very difficult time over coming the anger, bitterness and resentment they may feel toward their father. In fact, they may never get over it. The ideal reaction for the saved adult who was wronged by their father when they were a child is to forgive him just as Christ has forgiven him or her. However, some are never able to fully and completely forgive and forget what happened to them. Perhaps, those of us who have not experienced what they experienced should not be quick to judge them. Just love the person who is hurting and pray that God will do a work in their heart so that they might someday be able to forgive their father and let go of the bitterness.

Also, the Bible does tell us in Romans 12:18, “ If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” The implication here is that there are times when you may not be able to get along with some folks. In those cases, it is often best just to keep some distance between the two parties. Let’s face facts, some personalities may have a very difficult time working closely together. Recognize that there are some differences and problems and just put some well planned distance between the offending personalities. In the case of the dying alcoholic father, the son or daughter should not feel obligated to visit their father. It would be good if they could visit him just one last time. It really just depends on the individual and where they are in their spiritual growth. They may not have grown in the Lord enough yet so that they could be ready for this level of forgiveness. Who knows maybe that father would want to make things right with his son or daughter before he dies. But he also might not.
David Reagan

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Casting The Children's Bread To Dogs

What did Jesus mean when He said don't give children's food to dogs?

One of the verses to which you refer is Matthew 15:26 - "But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs." In this story (Matthew 15:21-28), a woman of Canaan came to Jesus to ask Him to deliver her daughter from a devil. Initially, He refused with the statement: "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (v.24).

When she persisted and refused to give up, Jesus made the statement in question about giving the bread of the children to dogs. The woman still would not turn away. She pointed out that even the dogs get to eat the crumbs that fell from the table. At this, Christ declared the greatness of her faith and delivered her daughter.

In this story, Jesus is showing us that His main calling during His lifetime was to the Jewish people and not to other peoples of the world. When He sent out the twelve disciples in Matthew 10, He told them, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (v.5-6). Even Paul testified "that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision" (Romans 15:8). When the Bible refers to the "circumcision," it is referring to the Jewish people.

You see, Jesus was born as the Jewish Messiah--as their promised Holy One. He came to them to fulfill all the Old Testament prophecies concerning Him. It was only after He was rejected by them, that the message was offered to all people.

So, the children of Matthew 15:26 are the Jewish people. The dogs are a picture of the Gentiles--that is, everyone who is not a Jew. Jesus came to His own people (John 1:11 ). Just as it would not be right to allow our children to go hungry while we fed our pet dogs very well, Jesus would not spend His ministry reaching the Gentiles when He was called to go to the Jews.

The good news is that Jesus was willing to give crumbs to the woman of Canaan because of her faith even when His ministry was to the Jews. And now, after the rejection of Jesus by the Jewish people, "salvation is come unto the Gentiles" (Romans 11:11). According to the apostle Paul, we Gentiles were "without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:12). Yet through Jesus Christ we "who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:13). We have been given the full blessings of being the children of God. And, though Jesus will again reach out to the Jewish people, we know that He will never turn from us because we are Gentiles.
David Reagan

Monday, September 19, 2016

Children Obey Your Parents

Could you please help me with scripture and what the bible says about children obeying their parents?

The Bible has several passages which teach children to obey their parents. To me, the classic is this one found in Ephesians:
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
From this passage, we can learn the following:
  1. Children are to obey their parents--that is, both mother and father.
  2. They are to obey their parents "in the Lord." This phrase contains a couple of ideas. First, to obey their parents is to obey the Lord. By obeying them "in the Lord" they are also in obedience to the Lord. The reverse is also true. To disobey their parents is to disobey the Lord. Second, this passage gives guidance to those dealing with wicked parents or parents that would lead the child into sin. If they are to be obeyed in the Lord, then obedience is not absolutely required if they are asked to do something that is in direct disobedience to God. For instance, if the child is told to steal something by one of his parents and the child knows that this is a sin against God, the child may refuse to obey this commandment. As you can understand, this usually deals with older children with ungodly parents. Even then, the instances are unusual.
  3. They are to obey their parents because it is right. They are not simply to obey because of fear or necessity. As they grow in the Lord, they should learn to obey because it is the desire of God and it is the right thing to do.
  4. They are to honor their father and mother. This goes beyond obedience It means to hold high; it means to give a special place of respect. Obedience will be the result of such honor, but obedience can be performed without honor.
  5. The command for children to honor their parents is one of the ten commandments and it is the first of the commandments that had a special promise attached to it. The promise is twofold: that "it may be well with thee" refers to the quality of life while "thou mayest live long on the earth" refers to the quantity of life. The children who honor their parents will have a better life and a longer life. Does this mean that all these children will live to 90 and beyond? Of course not. But they will extend the length of their life and improve the quality of their life by their honor and obedience.
There are too many verses to give a further survey, but one parallel verse deserves a mention.
Colossians 3:20 states, "Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord." In this verse we learn that God is pleased when children obey their parents.
The child who minds Mom or Dad gets a big smile from God. What a blessing is this matter of obedience!
David Reagan

Sunday, September 18, 2016

What Children Learn From Their Parents

David Reagan

Genesis 26:1-35

In the midst of a famine, Isaac leaves the Promised Land to search for better pastures (v.1). In this, he followed his father Abraham (12:10). He goes to sojourn with Abimelech the king of the Philistines (v.1). In this, he followed his father Abraham (20:1-2). In fear for his life, he tells the lie that his wife is his sister (v.7). In this, he followed his father Abraham (20:2). His lie is discovered and he is forced to answer for his deceit (v.8-11). In this, he followed his father Abraham (20:10-16). Is it not interesting the things that children pick up from their parents?

Isaac leaves Abimelech and begins to dig again the wells of his father Abraham (v.18). He even calls them after the names that were given to them by his father (v.18). In this, Isaac wisely follows the leadership of Abraham. In order to have revival, we need to go back to the wells of our fathers to find the water that they drank. The Philistines fought Isaac over the first two wells he dug, but Isaac just kept digging. Finally, he dug the well of Rehoboth and there was no strife.

We should be learning from those who went before us but we should be careful what we learn. The Puritans are a good example of this precept. They erred in numerous ways but in certain areas (like their exaltation of God, their emphasis on holiness, their rich application of scripture) they have much to teach us. What are we learning from our fathers? What mistakes did they make that we are going to avoid?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sorrow Is Better than Laughter

Ecclesiastes 7:3

Author: Ray, Andrew 
Scripture Passage:
Sorrow Is Better than Laughter - Ecclesiastes 7:3 


If the average person were asked whether they would rather laugh or cry, the answer would be obvious. Yet, our thoughts are not always in line with God’s thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). According to the Bible, "Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better" (Ecclesiastes 7:3). Laughter is much more enjoyable than sorrow, but we learn very little in laughter. Sorrow, on the other hand, teaches us and molds us into better servants for our Lord. This is by no means to say that laughter is evil or harmful, but that sorrow is better from God’s perspective. Solomon spoke of laughter in Ecclesiastes 2:1-2. He gave himself to mirth and pleasure, but in the end found it to be vain.


  • (For smaller children) Even though we don't like sorrow, it brings us closer to God. When the psalmist found troubles and sorrow, he prayed (Psalm 116:3-4). Troubles also caused him to learn the word of God (Psalm 119:71).
  • Laughter is enjoyable, but often ends in heaviness (Proverbs 14:13). In what ways does laughter offer a temporary escape from the cares of the world?
  • How is sorrow a better teacher than laughter? What are some times of sorrow in your life where you learned the most? What are some times of laughter where you learned?


  • Ask the Lord to help you see things from His perspective.
  • Ask the Lord to give you laughter and sorrow in His time.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Window of Time to Serve

Acts 13:36

Author: Ray, Andrew
Scripture Passage:
A Window of Time to Serve - Acts 13:36 


This life offers only a window of time to work for the Lord. Youth and old age both offer their own hindrances to service. In many ways, though not entirely, youth should be spent in learning, middle age in doing, and old age in teaching. Many of the greatest servants of the Lord found in scripture began their journey in youth by learning of the Lord and His ways (1 Kings 18:12; Psalm 71:5; 2 Chronicles 34:3; Job 29:4; Ecclesiastes 12:1). As they approached the prime of life, they put their learning to use by serving the Lord (Numbers 8:24-25). As they passed their prime, they would pass their knowledge on to the next generation in hopes the work of God would go on (2 Timothy 4:1-8).


  • (For smaller children) What can you do for the Lord? You can be like Timothy and learn your Bible verses (2 Timothy 3:15). Practice what you know to do: obey Dad and Mom; listen in Sunday School and church; be helpful. You will be able to help others (2 Timothy 2:2).
  • In what age group would you be at this point in your life? Are you serving the Lord to the best of your ability? Are you learning of Him, serving Him, and teaching others about Him?
  • How is each time of life just as important as every other time? How can one’s failure to learn in youth affect his service in his prime? How does it hurt others when the older refuse to teach?


  • Ask the Lord to help you be faithful in each phase of life.
  • Ask God to help you make the best use of your window of time.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Christ, Sacrificed for Us

1 Corinthians 5:7

Content Author: Ray, AndrewChrist, 
Sacrificed for Us - 1 Corinthians 5:7
God demands righteousness, and when His demands are not met, He calls for the shedding of blood for the remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22). Throughout the Old Testament, sacrifices majored on the blood of animals, but they could never take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). God, in mercy, sent His Son to give "himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour" (Ephesians 5:2). Unlike the Old Testament sacrifices, the Lord Jesus was a onetime sacrifice that offered forgiveness of sin for all. In shedding His blood, the Lord Jesus Christ became man’s sacrifice, and man need look no further than the shed blood of Christ for a means by which God is satisfied.


  • (For smaller children) When a person sacrifices, he gives up something so that others can be helped in some way. Christ gave up His life so that we could live forever in heaven (John 3:16; I Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18).
  • How is the life, death, and resurrection of Christ best described as a sacrifice? How does His sacrifice for our salvation cancel the need for any other sacrifices?
  • To what extent did Christ’s sacrifice of Himself for our sins cost Him? What was the nature of His heart in offering Himself for us?


  • Thank God for the sacrifice of His Son.
  • Ask God to give you a heart of thanksgiving for His sacrifice.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Rebel Refuses to Hear

Deuteronomy 1:43


A sure sign of rebellion involves the rejection of God’s word. Throughout scripture, the Lord associates rebellion with a willful decision on the part of an individual or people group to refuse to hear. In Psalm 107:11 the Bible says, “Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High.” In Nehemiah 9:26 the scripture declares, “Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs.” Those who make their necks stiff in rebellion will not incline their ears in order to receive instruction (Jeremiah 17:23). They may accept the counsel of others but refuse the Lord’s counsel (Isaiah 30:1).


  • (For children): God wants children to obey their parents (Colossians 3:20). When they refuse to do so, they are rebellious (Deuteronomy 21:18-20). How well do you obey your parents? Would you be considered rebellious?
  • (For everyone): Will you listen to biblical counsel? How do you feel when others offer you scriptural advice? Do you choose rather to hear worldly counsel that better suits your desires?
  • How did the Lord describe rebellious people in Isaiah 30:9? Does the description fit anyone you know? Does it fit you? What can you do in order to quell your rebellion?


  • Ask the Lord to give you a desire to hear His words.
  • Ask God to give you a respect for His commandments.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Friend Had a Miracle

by Carter Conlon
Psalm 34, beginning at verse 5: “They looked to Him, and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”

I have a friend who was once so addicted to drugs that he laid on his apartment floor in a fetal position, unable to even get up and open his own door. Fearing that he’d come to the end of his life, he cried out out loud that if God was real, that He would come and help him out of this prison which had become, for him, a personal hell on earth. Suddenly, as he says, the room filled with light. His addiction was completely broken in an instant, and the victory that Jesus had won for him was made known fully to his heart.

He’s a minister of the truth of God today and leads a campus church. My friend had a miracle.

It’s time to pray.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Goliath Had a Brother

Francis Frangipane
Here's the scene: You are in a battle against sickness, oppression or some similar struggle. You seek God, and in some way, the grace of God touches your life. Your victory may have come through a word or prayer or some other encouragement, but you absolutely know the Lord has delivered you. Using the five smooth stones of divine grace, you defeated your Goliath.

But then, a few weeks or months or perhaps years later, all the old symptoms suddenly return with a vengeance. If you were struggling with an illness, it manifests itself now worse than ever; if your battle was regarding a relationship, it seems as though all progress has been lost and you are back to square one.

Have you ever been there? These negative experiences can drain the faith from your heart. You lose the anticipation and power of faith, and a spiritual paralysis immobilizes your soul. You may still attend church, but your faith is unresponsive. When others testify of deliverance, you worry secretly that they, too, will "lose their healing."

For many, the result is one of faith-shaking disillusionment. Scripture says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Prov. 13:12). This "heartsickness" is a spiritual disease that can cripple your walk with God. Remember, faith is the substance of the things you hope for; if you lose hope, your faith becomes hollow. How can you trust God when it seems as though He let you down? You wonder: Did I lose my breakthrough, or was I only deceiving myself and never really had it?

Dear one, it is very possible that what you are experiencing is not a loss of God's blessing but an entirely new spiritual battle. This new war is a very clever and effective deception that Satan uses to try and worm his way back into the lives of those delivered by God.

I had been praying about this very thing, this recurring battle, when the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: Goliath had a brother. I was immediately reminded of David's war against the Philistine giant. We all know that David became a great hero by trusting God and defeating Goliath. However, things changed as we see in 2 Samuel 21,

"Now when the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David went down and his servants with him; and as they fought against the Philistines, David became weary. Then Ishbi-benob, who was among the descendants of the giant . . . intended to kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped him, and struck the Philistine and killed him." (vv. 15-17). 

Years after David became king he had to face other giants. In fact, 1 Chronicles 20:5 reveals that at least one of those warring against David was "the brother of Goliath" and four were his children (see 2 Sam. 21:22). We can imagine that these giants, being Goliath's kin, looked like Goliath, boasted like him, dressed like him and probably even smelled like him. The Scripture says while fighting one of the descendants of Goliath that "David became weary." The Bible is silent as to what might have been going through the king's mind as he battled these giants. Perhaps he wondered, I thought I killed Goliath. What is he doing back? But Goliath had not come back; he was dead! David was actually fighting the giant's kin. It just looked like the same battle!

Likewise, you also have had many successful victories. Just because the current giant you are facing looks like one you defeated in the past, do not buy the lie that you never really won the first battle! By the strength of God's grace, you trusted the Almighty and conquered your Goliath. The first giant is dead. Satan is masquerading as your former enemy so he can slip past your faith and regain entrance into your life. Resist him. Do not accept the lie that you were never delivered. Stand in faith (see Eph. 6). Faith is the victory that overcomes the world (see 1 John 5:4). 

The living God who helped you conquer Goliath will empower you to overcome his brother as well.

Father, I come to You as Your servant. Like David, I have become weary with fighting an enemy I thought I had defeated. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, however, I expose the lie that this is the same foe I previously conquered. In Jesus' name, I rebuke the enemy. I ask You, Lord, to send angels to strengthen me supernaturally, just as angels often strengthened Jesus. In the name of the Lord, Amen.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

How to Spot a Healthy Church in 30 Seconds

by Joe McKeever

Something about those children intrigued me, but I couldn't figure out what it was.

For the past week or two, I have noticed these three small children playing in their yard near the Mississippi River levee. Normally, in my daily walk I don't travel as far east as their house, but recently I began lengthening the walk by another mile, trying to lose more weight. That's when I began noticing them.

The oldest child seemed to be seven or eight. There was a younger brother and a little sister. In the yard was all kinds of play equipment. No matter how cold it was, they were out there laughing and running, jumping and hiding, having a big time. You could hear them a block away.

Something about that made me smile. "Whatever the parents are doing," I thought, "its working."

Yesterday, the children were out once more, enjoying life. As I reached my turning-around point and headed back, I noticed they were doing something different. They and another boy had several large-wheel vehicles at the top of the levee which they were riding down to their yard across the grassy expanse. Two women sat in chairs near the house, keeping an eye on them. One was the mother, I assumed.

As I neared them, all the children rode off the levee except the oldest boy. As I approached, he looked in my direction and said, "Hi. I'm Harley." I was so taken aback, I had to ask, "That's your name?" He said it was. I said, "Hi, Harley. My name is Mister Joe." He smiled a big grin and said, "Hi, Mister Joe!" Then, off the levee he went.

I walked away thinking my first impression of that family was right on. The parents are doing many things right. Here is a little kid with a great friendly attitude, confident enough to introduce himself to strangers, and enjoying life to its fullest.

One day soon I plan to introduce myself to the parents. I'm going to predict that I will find the family does not have a television set and the children do not own computer games. There's more to that family than this, of course, and I want to find out what it is.

From the first, I had felt there was something so attractive about that family.

And that's what started me thinking about churches. Is it possible to do a drive-by of a church and within a few seconds determine that it's a healthy church?

I've run that question by a number of friends.

My friends and I have decided it's easier to tell an UNHEALTHY church in a few seconds than a healthy one.

As one pastor put it, "If the building is in a state of disrepair and if the people are unfriendly, those are dead giveaways. If there are no greeters for the church and no helps for first-time visitors, you decide very quickly this must be an unhealthy church."

Other signs are so obvious they require very little comment: a sparse crowd, lackluster singing, uninspired sermons, and unfriendly congregations.

But the question is: How would you tell that a church is healthy in a few seconds?

Corey gave several possibilities. "You might notice that the people are excited to be there. That works for me. A healthy congregation."

He continued, "If the people are generous, that's a great sign. Not necessarily rich. The people of Macedonia were generous but dirt-poor (II Corinthians 8)."

"If there is strong pastoral leadership, if everyone is in the right place in serving. Those are great signs. It's what I call a 'good Ephesians 4' model."

"If the people love their ministerial staff and follow them, they are going to be a healthy church in most cases."

Mike said, "I need a little more than 30 seconds to determine if a church is healthy. I want to hear their preaching and learn what the preacher is telling the people theologically."

I posted the question of Facebook today, as to how we could tell in 30 seconds that a church is healthy. Here are some of the answers, and then I'll give you mine.

·        people are friendly and speak to me.

·        I see signs of mission involvement and evangelism.

·        there's an air of expectancy.

·        the church has children.

·        people are carrying their Bibles.

·        warmth.

·        a variety of age groups.

·        in the parking lot and at the front door, servants are showing me Jesus in their very actions.

If I could choose one moment, one sliver of time, that would tell the story on a church and allow me to decide on the health-status of the congregation, it would be: How they handle a conflict.

For years, I thought Acts 6:1-6 was all about the origin of the first deacons in the church. Finally, it hit me that that is a very minor part of that story. The major theme of that story is how the church dealt with a challenge to its fellowship and peace.

You and I cannot sit off to the side and watch the Jerusalem congregation deal with the dissension that arose when one group of widows began complaining that they were being neglected in the daily distribution of food in favor of the majority group. We can't, but plenty of others in the city were watching.

They watched and they were most impressed by what they saw.

And what exactly did they see? They saw the leaders, the Apostles, move quickly as soon as the dissent arose. They saw them defer to the congregation, instead of handling the matter themselves. They saw the congregation do the most amazing thing: select seven good men from among the dissenting group and put in charge of the food distribution. They saw how it pleased everyone and how the congregation settled back down in harmony. And they made a decision.

They wanted what these Christians had.

Acts 6:7 reads, "So the preaching about God flourished, the number of disciples in Jerusalem multiplied greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith."

Question: When was the last time your church impressed the outside world by the way it dealt with conflict?

When was the last time newcomers walked into your fellowship and were so impressed by what they saw, within one minute they were ready to sign on the dotted line? What could they have possibly seen that would have brought about that kind of reaction?

I do not have all the answers on this. However, this would be a great subject for a discussion with your church leadership.

I know this: many of the first-time visitors to your church will be making a decision on whether to return within the first minute or two after they get out of the car. What they see will either draw them in or turn them off.

Scary stuff.

Baked Garlic Butter Chicken

Garlic Butter Chicken with fresh rosemary and cheese. The perfect one pan dish for a weeknight! Super quick, easy and SO delicious.
5 minPrep Time
35 minCook Time
40 minTotal Time

  • 4 (16-ounces) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 stick (1/2-cup) butter*
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Reduced Fat 4-Cheese Italian
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Lightly grease a baking dish with a pat of butter.
  3. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper; arrange chicken in a single layer in prepared baking dish and set aside.
  4. Add butter to a skillet and melt over medium heat.
  5. Stir in garlic and cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring very frequently. DO NOT burn the garlic.
  6. Stir in the rosemary and remove from heat.
  7. Pour the prepared garlic butter over the chicken breasts.
  8. Bake for 30 to 32 minutes, or until chicken's internal temperature is 165F.
  9. Sprinkle with cheese and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  10. Remove from oven and let stand a couple minutes.
  11. Transfer chicken to serving plates; spoon a little bit of the garlic butter sauce over the chicken and serve.
Recipe Type: Dinner
*Though we're using an entire stick of butter for the sauce, we're only ingesting about 1/2-tablespoon of the butter per serving.

WW SmartPoints: 7