Newsletter Clippings
(Page Two)


Shared With You By
Kraig J. Rice
Bread On The Waters (BOW)
www.breadonthewaters.com

TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Clicking on these internal links will move you down this page)

The Great Commission by Johnny Lee Four Vital Qualities Which Guarantee Achievement
Singles And Sex, Logical And Loving Limits How I Learned To Pray (Intercessory Prayer)
Where To Look In The Bible By David Buttram Cow Hides and Battery Cells By unknown author
Missing Heaven By 18 Inches By Paul W. Empet The Power Of A Positive Praise Life
A Smile By David Buttram Shifting the Burden By L. Nelson Bell
The New Propriety By Roger William Bennett Christ the Reconciler and Divider
Love Your Enemies By Naldy Garcia How to Tame Your TV by Kevin Perrotta
Law Versus Grace By David Buttram How Do You View It? By Steve Webb
The Miracle In The House By John Hagee Where Should We Put Mary? By John Witmer
Getting A Handle On Holiday Stress By Don Colbert Security In The Storms of Life By Billy Graham
God Of Covenant By John Hagee Depressed? Learn From A Prophet By Skip Heitzig
For Our Admonition (sanctification) By Roger Johnson What I Learned On Summer Vacation
More Than Conquerors By David Buttram  

The Great Commission
by Johnny Lee

"If the congregations of the top 15 churches in North America decided not to construct ultra-modern, eye-catching, conversation-piece posh buildings for their sanctuaries, but instead reasonably functional edifices with Spartan surroundings, minus all the trappings that they could easily do without; they could have generated enough missionary funds, hands down, to take the Gospel to everybody in the world in no time. But what of reality?

By and large, all missionary agencies, including denominational missions boards have to be content with shoe-string operations, often being forced to beg for nickels and dimes. More often than not, the missionary aspect of the church's reason for being, which is the core of each church's responsibility, is set aside as a leftover service or reluctant handout.

The brick and mortar, the carpets, musical instruments, stained-glass windows, oakwood pews, soaring ceilings with breathtaking beams, spotless walls— all these come first. And then, assuming that something is left over, a meager amount is given to missionary programs. This misplaced priority is actually nothing new.

William Carey, considered by many to be "the father of foreign missions," was called a madman when he at the age of 36, told his congregation and fellow ministers that the supreme task of the church was to evangelize the world. Once in India, Carey was harrassed and ridiculed not by the native people, but by his own people back in England!

Something is wrong— terribly wrong. Too glaring is the sin of disobedience. The majority of Christians are caught up in the mad rush, driven by greed. So blatant is this "me first" selfishness. Mammon speaks— and we listen. Complacency soothes Christians to a comfortable slumber— while a world that is hurting, crying, despairing and lost is heading for eternal doom.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness", Jesus defines our priority, "and all these things shall be added unto you." That's what Matthew records in the first Gospel. But have we not reversed it? In our priority and lifestyle are we not saying, "Look, I want to add all these things first, and then, if I can, I will seek your kingdom and your righteousness"?

Listen to the 35 human words that Jesus uttered immediately after His resurrection: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." These words are recorded in the last chapter of Matthew, verses 18 and 19.

Is this commission, mandated by the Lord, in the past tense to you? Was it intended only for those 11 who were with Him? Or is it in the present tense— directed to every Christian living today, including you? Is the Great Commission given only to an isolated group— pastors, evangelists, missionaries— but not you?

The second Gospel spells out the Great Commission this way: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature"
(Mark 16:15). What does "all the world" mean to you? Canada is not "all the world." Neither is China. Neither is Iceland or Japan. They are all a part of it. "Go into All the world" means just that.

What does "every creature" mean to you? Obviously, Jesus is not talking about cats and dogs or horses and fish. He means p-e-o-p-l-e: human beings created originally after God's own image but who disobeyed God and fell. Who is "every creature"? Every man, woman, boy and girl. Everybody.

Who is "ye" in the "Go ye..." commission? An American? A Korean? A Nigerian? A Brazilian? An Italian? "Ye" means you. The "ye" in the context of the Great Commission is every Christian. Where you live, what language you speak, how wealthy or poor you are, what denomination you belong to, what color of skin you are born with, your age— all these are irrelevant. You are saved to serve. Serve whom? Serve others— especially those who have had no opportunity to meet Jesus Christ— by sharing with them what you have received freely: the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You, Christian, are commissioned to India and Iceland, to Russia and the Solomon Islands, to name just four of "all the world," to preach the gospel.

"How on earth can I go to all these places and preach the Gospel to every African, every Chinese, every Portuguese, every Mexican, every Cuban, every Vietnamese?" You can't— not alone.

Jesus knew that. He did not expect Peter to go to "all the world." He knew James could in no way preach to "every creature" alone. Jesus knew that Paul, alone, could not evangelize everybody in the world. That's why the Lord provided the Christians in Antioch to help Paul reach "all the world"; providing him also with Timothy and Silas. The Apostle himself did not expect every member of the Corinthian church, which he had founded, to go to Rome, Athens, Macedonia and Egypt. But he did expect every newborn Christian to do his part to fulfill the Great Commission.

No missionary can go out to the mission field until a church supports him and his family. No church can support a missionary until there is a missionary willing to go. No missionary program can be implemented until a group of Christians come together to pray and give. No Christian can pray and give until there is a vision and a plan to go to "all the world" and preach the gospel to "every creature." The Great Commission is not for a single church or one individual Christian; it is mandated— and mandated by the risen Lord Himself— to every Christian, and together it can be done!

What does all this mean in practical terms?

First, we need to reorder our priorities so that our day-to-day living reflects the "seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness" desire. In allocation of our time and money, business and hobbies, it must become transparent to everybody that the Great Commission comes first. All "these things" are secondary.

Secondly, we need to educate ourselves about the world outside our own country— "all the world" and "every creature." We cannot go to "all the world" unless we know where they are. Set aside a reasonable time every week to study the geography of Africa; buy a book on China and learn something of this fascinating people. Memorize the name of every country in the world— from Japan to Vanuatu. Order a recent map and touch every country with your hand.

Thirdly, carefully examine your current daily activity cycle. Find out when would be the best time to be in a meditative mood. At first, take about 15 minutes, set aside from all other chores and work of the day, to pray for the Great Commission— a Great Commission prayer period. Once the time period is set— 10 minutes, 15, a half hour— dedicate it totally to specific Great Commission- related matters. Get some prayer tools: a map, a notebook listing the prayer subjects, a newsletter from missionary organizations you support, or newspaper clippings. Ask your pastor to give you the address of the mission headquarters of your own denomination to get information. World Vision Internanational publishes an excellent book every year called "Mission Handbook" which will help you to digest missionary information. Such inter-mission agencies as the Interdenominational Foreign Missions Association (IFMA) and the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association (EFMA) will be glad to provide you with whatever information you want for your daily Great Commission prayer time.

Fourthly, we need to structure or restructure our monthly family budget in the light of the Great Commission.

One way to check our priority is to compare the amount we spend on clothing and entertainment expenses with how much we give to evangelize the world. Another barometer would be how much we spend for food (of course, we have to eat!) and the amount we give to support missionary undertakings. If our budget priority list has the giving for world evangelism at the bottom we are not Great Commission Christians.

After almost 30 years of involvement in world missions, I am absolutely convinced that in the pocketbooks and bank accounts of Christians, there are more than enough financial resources to reach everybody in the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ if we take the Great Commission seriously enough. What's lacking is not money but vision— a world lost without a vision. Without money people perish? No. Without a vision the people perish.

Be a Great Commission Christian!
Don't be content being an American Christian or a Canadian Christian!
Be a Great Commission Christian!
Don't be satisfied being a denominational Christian.
Be a Great Commission Christian!
Don't be a spectator Christian but a participator Christian!
Be a Great Commission Christian!

Is Coca-Cola a better product than the Good News? Are blue jeans more needed than the Gospel? The Coca-Cola Company and the manufacturers of blue jeans spend billions of dollars selling their products in the boondocks of Africa and the jungles of the Amazon. What's wrong with the church of Jesus Christ spending billions to bring the Good News to every man, woman, boy and girl in "all the world"?

This article quoted from the
Everybody Newsletter, World Literature Crusade, 1982, Volume 1 No. 2, pages 4-6.

The Man who walks with God
Always gets to his destination

Four Vital Qualities Which Guarantee Achievement
by Daisy Osborn

1. The power of faith to see beyond what is obvious.

2. The courage to know that you are never defeated unless you give up.

3. The knowledge that you are in absolute control of your reaction to any circumstance.

4. The adventure of growing through change by RE-BEGINNING.

We learn to conquer these negative attitudes:
1. The selfishness that shrinks us.
2. The prejudice that blinds us.
3. The indifference that isolates us.
4 The envy that erodes us.
5. The greed that consumes us.

We WIN in life when we believe that we can RE-BEGIN.
(page 10)

Four Impressions— Four Qualities

There are four impressions to keep in proper focus, in order to be a WINNER:

1. The deluding impression that what you see is fact.
2. The despairing impression that failure is final.
3. The restraining impression that change will ruin things.
4. The fatalistic impression that you are the victim of circumstances.

There are four vital qualities which guarantee achievement:
1. The power of faith to see beyond what is obvious.
2. The courage to know that you are never defeated unless you give up.
3. The knowledge that you are in absolute control of your reaction to any circumstance.
4. The adventure of growing through change by RE-BEGINNING.

To never RE-BEGIN is to never hope again.

To abandon hope is to say "I don't believe in God." It is to say, "I don't care about life — not mine, not yours, not anybody's."

But as long as human persons are lonely and hurting, forsaken and unloved, and as long as you and I can team up with Jesus Christ and initiate RE-BEGINNINGS for the good of ourselves and of others with the potential of lifting their burdens, of healing their hurts, of consoling their sorrows and of solving their problems, we have marvelous reasons to RE-BEGIN and to WIN.

Learning for Winning
Erich Fromm says: "Not the one who has much is rich, but the one who gives much. Whoever is capable of giving of themselves is rich."

We re-begin to feed the hungry and we are fed.

We re-begin to visit the sick and those in prison and we re-discover Christ.

We re-begin to clothe the naked and we find ourselves dressed in newness.

We re-begin to give water to the thirsty and we discover a new fountain of life.

As we give, we receive.
As we lift, we are raised."

This article quoted from the
OSFO Magazine, Faith Digest, volume 32 ED1-1987, pages 10 and 14
Osborn Foundation World Missionary Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma

If you have a pulse
You have a purpose

Singles And Sex, Logical And Loving Limits
By Dean Sherman

" Many people think God is unfair. That He made us sexual beings and then tells us don't! Almost every young person I know faces this problem. "Well, when you really like somebody, and you really get close to them, it's really hard to control yourself." Why does God limit our behavior towards one another in sexual areas? Let's take a look at the character of God and find out the reasons behind His logical loving limits.

God is, by nature, not a restrictor but a fulfiller. When He limits our sexual activity to certain situations, He's not trying to steal our fun but has logical and loving reasons. God thought up sex. It was 100% His idea. He created our bodies and our responses. The devil wants us to believe he's the sex expert- that if we get too close to God, or too holy, we'll miss something. It's a lie that we'll miss something if we do it God's way. To the contrary, we'll miss something if we don't.

Most people feel that God is trying to push them into a corner and cramp their style. If you have too much fun or too much pleasure, you're not going to be saved and He won't like you anymore. They think God wants you lying on beds of nails to prove you're really serving Him. That's not the way God is and that's not Christianity.

God saw you in your mother's womb and said, "Oh, have I got something for you!" And He got so excited (and He's still excited) about every human being on the planet. Some are greatly disappointing Him and hurting Him, but every one of us made Him exceedingly excited when He saw us in our mother's womb. And He had this thing in mind, and it was that He wanted the highest possible spine-tingling... oooh... depth of fulfilling experience for you. That is His plan for you in relationship to the opposite sex. But few of us really believe it. We think, "If I'm really gonna have what I want, I'll have to get it myself. I know what's going to fulfill me better than God does." And most of us blow it because we don't know God. We don't understand that He created pleasure.

The God Of Taste Buds

Did you know that God didn't need to give you taste buds? You don't need them. This ought to tell you something about God and what He's into. Food is simply to maintain and repair your body, and you don't need to go mmmm... over chocolate sundaes. There's only one reason for taste buds, friends, and that's pleasure. If God is the God of pleasure and wants me to enjoy what I eat, then I ought to be able to enjoy any amount at any time in any way. Wrong! That's not logical. I know my stomach holds two quarts, so to eat a bale of hay a day is not really smart. It's best that I limit my enjoyment. Likewise, we can't reason that because God has given us sexual ability or the gift of attraction, that any amount is good at any time.

Man-Created In The Image Of Chemicals?

Many of the things we learn about sex come from songs, movies, and T.V. We're taught by people who think we are a barnyard animal or just a bag of chemicals. If it's true that we're just a bunch of pieces of matter, then we don't matter... and we can do anything to anybody at any time. By contrast, God's thing is love. He knows we are a delicate, finely-tuned personality made in His image. Therefore, we do matter and can only be fulfilled by loving Him and by truly loving others. We cannot let materialists define love for us.

The Corinthians had some of the same misconceptions that many of us do. They thought they had a body that operated separately from their spirit. They said, "Well, Jesus is in my spirit so my spirit will go to heaven, but my body will rot in the ground so it doesn't matter what I do with my body."
(See I Corinthians 6:13-20)

Paul wrote them and said, "Hey, wait a minute! Your body is a container for your spirit. It's a temple. Your bodies are members of Christ." What you do with your body always touches your spirit. Sex, therefore, is never just a physical thing as some would have us believe. "Did you love her?" "No, it was just a physical thing." Sex never has been and never will be just a physical thing, like playing tennis or dancing. Sex is an intermingling, or a blending of two entire personalities- body, soul, and spirit.

(Some verses about God's standard for us are
Romans 13:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Ephesians 5:3-5, Colossians 3:5,
Hebrews 13:4, Revelation 22:13-15).

Tearing The Heart

I Corinthians 6:18 says, Flee fornication (sex outside of God's limits). Every other sin that mankind commits is outside of the body, but the one who commits fornication sins against his own body (or being). What in the world does this mean? Preachers get up and say, "You kids out there committing fornication are going to ruin your bodies!" Don't try to tell a medical student you can damage your body through sexual involvement. It's a function that God created your body for, for goodness sake. So, what is Paul trying to say? He is trying to show that we are an integrated being, that you can't do something with your body that doesn't touch your spirit.

We damage our being in every sexual act committed outside of God's limits because we become one with someone else. Blended and intermingled. And then in a few minutes we tear that oneness apart into two beings again. It doesn't rip our body, but it rips our mind, will, emotions, and spirit.

The mind is now damaged because it has memories and knowledge it was not equipped to cope with apart from a lifetime commitment. The will is damaged because it has been bent like a wire against our conscience saying "no," and is made weaker. The emotions have been traumatized by the pulling back that comes after being intermingled. And we get a deep wound in our spirit, because death is ministered to us instead of life.
(See Proverbs 5:3-6; 6:26-29, 32-35; 7:21-23)

God screams to us "No" and we say, "God, you just don't understand how much we love each other. It seems so right." God does understand. He invented the whole process. He is for us, but in His love He tries to prevent us from damaging our lives.

How does this sound, "Oh, I love you so much. I need to damage you." That doesn't sound like love to me. The reason we say, "It's so hard to contain myself when I love him soooo much," is because we haven't understood what God has known all along. We damage each other. Without exception, your inner being is damaged in every case regardless of how mature you are, how committed you are, or how long you've been going with each other. There is always damage and God doesn't want us to be hurt.

Marriage- Not Just A Ceremony

Another reason sex outside of marriage is wrong is because there's a lack of commitment. One girl said, "I see nothing wrong with it if you know you love each other and you're really committed. What difference does a piece of paper and a ceremony make?" My answer: If you are not married, you are not commited, because marriage is the commitment.

Marriage is the legal, publicly witnessed and binding commitment between a man and a woman. Nothing else is. In marriage. God fuses two into one
(Matthew 19:5). The Bible doesn't say, "What therefore sex has joined together" but "What therefore God has joined together..."
(Matthew 19:6). So it's not just a physical joining, it's a spiritual joining of two people.

In sex outside of marriage there is an intermingling which is ripped into two again. It's the difference between tying branches on the Christmas tree for looks, and the ones that grew there. It's not smart or loving for you to intermingle your whole being together with someone who is not committed to you for life. Anything less than marriage is not commitment.

God also says no because you're not protected. Protected from what? Protected from the devil. Oh... we forgot about the devil. Wouldn't it be great if we could get carried away in our little sexual things and there was no devil, or he would just turn his back? That would be nice, but it's just not true. Have you ever asked yourself why Satan is so interested in sexual things? Why he pushes this sin so hard, worldwide? It's because sex is not just physical, it involves the spirit realm.

In Old Testament times, people worshiped the devil through sexual involvement. It's the same today in witchcraft and the occult. Satan becomes a participant. He receives an honor, or a worship, from rebellion against God's truth and protection. When you back away from the Lord, you naturally back into the hands of the devil.

God has known this the whole time. In marriage, I believe God has not only supernaturally joined you, but He also puts a ring of protection around you. This keeps the powers of darkness from messing around in what God wanted to be private, relaxed, guilt-free, and fulfilling. Outside of marriage (even the day before), Satan still has access to bring guilt, tension, bondage, etc. God's ways are so much more loving and logical.

How Many Can Share Intimacy?

Sex with someone other than your marriage partner destroys a certain amount of intimacy. Intimacy is defined as: that which is alone or shared by a maximum of one other person. The enjoyment of taking a lovely, hot shower would be lost if we had to do it in front of a crowd of people. Being alone with our beloved somehow loses its preciousness when our little brother comes around the corner. This is another thing that separates us from animals and sex according to instinct. We love and need intimacy. God made us that way.

If we share ourselves with more than one, in nakedness and sexual pleasure- petting included- we have diluted the intimacy our whole being craves. God wants the highest pinnacle of fulfillment for us. We settle for less. Less than a totally unique and creative experience with only one.

Sex outside of marriage will also have an adverse effect on your marriage- even if you marry the same person. I have never heard of one couple having difficulties in marriage because they lacked experience. Some have problems from lack of knowledge, and if you are going to marry, you need to know some things. But you don't need experience. However, thousands of couples are having difficulties in marriage because of previous experience. It's a lie of the enemy that you should arrive at your wedding night experienced. It puts a weight on you that you can well do without, and marriages fail every day because of that weight. Some of the effects on people are:

Guilt: "I feel dirty and used. I just can't feel right about it. We got off on the wrong foot." It's not enjoyed because it's associated with wrongness.

Fear: "I just know something is going to happen to this baby because of what I used to do." Or "Will my teenager do what I did?"

Lack of Trust: He told you when you were dating, "I don't know about other guys, but I'm just too much of a man to contain myself." Since he broke the rules with you, now that you're married you wonder if he can control himself on his business trips. The fornicator before marriage can more easily become the adulterer during marriage because he has learned to cross the line of his conscience.

Flashbacks: Memories of being with others that can't be forgotten.

Comparisons: "I wonder if I'm like the others?"

Lack of Relaxation: You can't condition your responses for eight years in tense times of wondering if someone will "catch you" and then just all of a sudden relax with your husband or wife.

The "Bad is Exciting" Syndrome: We develop an excitement in doing wrong. "Oh, don't." "We shouldn't." We've perverted our responses, and we now look for something else that's wrong to excite us. "Now that we're married everything is okay and it's become boring."

Because sex is a sharing of entire beings, the more partners and experiences we have outside the marriage container, the more pieces of ourselves we give away, and the less fulfillment we end up with. The wounding brings a shallowness in our emotions, and we have trouble finding depth of fulfillment. This can bring disinterest, lack of satisfaction, and frustration. We don't draw as much from the "well" as we expected, or as God intended.

A River Of Beauty And Joy

God's intention was depth, satisfaction, and fulfillment. He limits our behavior before marriage, not to take away, but to channel this beautiful flow like banks channel a river. It is stupid to knock down the banks of a river to give it "freedom" or "liberation." If the river said, "I'm going to flow where I want to flow when I feel like flowing," we would end up with a flood instead of something beautiful. Say "no" to destruction and "yes" to God and His logical and loving limits. Once we understand why God said what He said, it won't be as hard to control.

What if it's too late?

If you've already violated any of these areas, your life is not over or ruined. God is a redeemer. He will forgive, cleanse, heal, and restore. You can have a great marriage and future, so don't despair. I've heard women who were once prostitutes say that on their wedding night it felt like the first time. God can do a mighty work in your life! Come to Him and admit that He really knew what He was talking about, and you were wrong to second-guess Him. Repent and then by faith let Him reverse the damage and set your feet on a road with guardrails. He'll give you a bright future. Nobody has gone too far. He'll make all things new. Let Him direct the river of your sexuality as a river within its banks, and it will become a thing of beauty and fulfillment in your life."

This article quoted from the
Last Days Magazine, Last Days Ministries, Volume 9, Number 2, 1986, pages 25-30

Seven days without prayer
Makes one weak

Spiritual Warfare-
How I Learned To Pray
(Intercessory Prayer)

By unknown author

(How to pray for your prodigal relative)

"Believers everywhere are burdened for unsaved or backsliding loved ones. However, many are praying in the spirit of fear and worry instead of in faith.

This has caused me to seek for definite light on how to pray, feeling the need of praying the right prayer and also the need for a definite promise or word from God on which to base my faith when praying for the unsaved. Praise God— He never fails to give such needed help.

Perhaps because the salvation of some seemed to me to be an impossibility, the first verse of scripture that was given to me was
Mark 10:27: "With God all things are possible."

The next Scripture verse had occupied my attention for some time, but it took on a new meaning: "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations (speculations) and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ"
(2 Corinthians 10:4-5). This shows the mighty power of our spiritual weapons. We must pray that all of this will be accomplished in the ones for whom we are concerned; that is, that the works of the enemy will be torn down.

Finally, I was given the solid foundation for my prayers— the basis of redemption. In reality, Christ's redemption purchased all mankind, so that we may say that each one is actually God's purchased possession, although he is still held by the enemy. We must, through the prayer of faith, claim and take for God in the name of the Lord Jesus that which is rightfully His. This can be done only on the basis of redemption. This is not meant to imply that, because all persons have been purchased by God through redemption, they are automatically saved. They must believe and accept the gospel for themselves; our intercession enables them to do this.

To pray in the name of the Lord Jesus is to ask for, or to claim, the things which the blood of Christ has secured. Therefore, each individual for whom prayer is made should be claimed by name as God's purchased possession, in the name of the Lord Jesus and on the basis of His shed blood.

We should claim the tearing down of all the works of Satan, such as false doctrine, unbelief, atheistic teaching and hatred, which the Enemy may have built up in their thinking. We must pray that their very thoughts will be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

With the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus, we must claim their deliverance from the power and persuasion of the Evil One and from the love of the world and the lust of the flesh. We should also pray that their conscience may be convicted, that God may bring them to the point of repentance and that they may listen and believe as they hear or read the Word of God. Our prayer must be that God's will and purposes may be accomplished in and through them.

Intercession must be persistent- not to persuade God, for redemption is by God, but because of the enemy. Our prayer and resistance are against the enemy- the awful powers and rulers of darkness. It is our duty before God to fight for the souls for whom Christ died. Just as some must preach to them the good news of redemption, others must fight the powers of darkness on their behalf through prayer.

Satan yields only what and when he must, and he renews his attacks in subtle ways. Therefore, prayer must be definite and persistent, even long after definite results are seen. And we must pray for the new Christian even after he begins to be established in the faith.

We will find that as we pray, the Holy Spirit will give new directions. At one time I was interceding for a soul and began to feel that my prayers were largely ineffective. Then the Holy Spirit inspired me to begin presenting that person to God in the name of the Lord Jesus. As I obeyed this leading, praying, "I present so-and-so to God in the name of the Lord Jesus," I felt that my prayers were gradually becoming more effective. It seemed I was drawing that person from deep within the very camp of the Enemy. Then I was able to proceed as usual, claiming every detail of that life for God, using the power of the blood against the Enemy.

This is true warfare in the spiritual realm. Thank God that our spiritual weapons are mighty and that our authority in Christ is far above all the authority of the rulers, powers and forces of darkness, so that the Enemy must yield. But it takes faith, patience and persistence.

Missionaries on foreign and home fields can resist the Enemy in their districts, communities and schools by using the power of the blood of Jesus against the powers of darkness, sin and unbelief. With the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus they can demand that the Enemy retreat.

Note that "it is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing"
(John 6:63) and that "the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life"
(II Corinthians 3:6). Therefore, we must constantly seek the motivation of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, in our faith, in our prayer and in our testimony. It is most important also that we confess our own sins and have them forgiven. The Enemy will use every possible means to silence our intercession and to block our attack against him. We must not only understand our Enemy, our authority in Christ and how to use our spiritual weapons, but also how to wear the armor that God has provided for our protection.
(Ephesians 6:13-18). Thus equipped and protected, we need not have any fear. But let us always remember that we have no power and no authority other than that of Christ.

"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ"
(II Corinthians 2:14). "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world"
(I John 4:4).

This article quoted from the
Life Messenger Newsletter, Life Messengers, June 1979, Volume 35, Issue 6, page 3

Fight truth decay
Study the Bible daily

Where To Look In The Bible
By David Buttram

"WHEN TEMPTED
Psalm chapter 139; I Corinthians 10:13

WHEN WEARY
Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 8:31-39

WHEN BEREAVED
I Corinthians chapter 15; Revelation chapter 21

WHEN THINGS LOOK "BLUE"
Isaiah chapter 40

WHEN FACING A CRISIS
Psalm chapter 46

WHEN DISCOURAGED
Psalm chapter 23

WHEN BORED
Psalm chapter 103 & chapter 104; Job chapters 38-40

WHEN BUSINESS IS POOR
Psalm chapter 37

WHEN LONELY
Psalm chapter 27

WHEN ANXIOUS FOR DEAR ONES
Psalm chapter 107

WHEN PLANNING YOUR BUDGET
Luke chapter 19

WHEN SICK OR IN PAIN
Psalm chapter 91

WHEN TRAVELING
Psalm chapter 121

WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
II Timothy chapter 3

WHEN MAKING AN INVESTMENT
Matthew 6:19-34

WHEN FRIENDS FORSAKE
I Corinthians chapter 13

WHEN GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY
Joshua chapter 1

WHEN FACING A BATTLE
Ephesians chapter 6

WHEN YOU HAVE SINNED
John 3:1-21; Isaiah chapter 53; I John 1:7-9

WHEN FEARFUL OF DEATH
John chapters 11 and 12; John 14:1-6; II Corinthians chapters 4 and 5;
Romans chapter 8; Revelation chapters 7, 21 and 22"

This article quoted from the
Gospel Tract Harvester Newsletter, November 1986, page 1

Read The Bible...
It Will Scare The Hell Out Of You!

Cow Hides and Battery Cells
By unknown author

"Learning to read God's Word is not easy in Maasailand, Kenya. One first starts with the inside of a cow's skin which has been dried and toughened, the same kind of skin used for the shields of Maasai warriors. The next step is to make paint from dry battery cells. The black substance in the interior of the battery, when mixed with water and fat, becomes a good black paint for the inside of the skin. When dry, the skin is now a serviceable blackboard— which every literacy student must have.

Instead of chalk, a special white clay is used, the same white clay with which the Maasai people daub themselves when they celebrate traditional ceremonies. A piece of sheepskin makes a very good eraser.

One other item of equipment each pupil must have is a "pointing stick" in order to indicate words or sentences as they are read. These sticks are made from long blades of grass which are cut and sharpened. In the beginning, letters are written on the ground with these pointers, so they must be strong enough and long enough for this purpose.

The class can now begin.

For hundreds of thousands of New Readers in Kenya one of the first "primers" they receive in class is a Bible Society New Reader Scripture Selection. Government education officials have acknowledged that the material received from the Bible Society for these classes is among the best available. This is due in part to the decision of the Bible Society of Kenya six years ago that it would assist in the promotion of literacy in the country so that people who were learning to read and write could be introduced to the Word of God.

One important reminder given to those who attend literacy classes is that if they do not practice their reading, they will likely become illiterate again. Most of those who are spending time and effort in learning to read do not want that to happen to them. They want to read on. But because the government's Department of Adult Literacy is not well enough equipped to give them the kind of literature they need, new readers have turned to the Bible Society with the question: "What do you have to offer?" The Bible Society is responding by using all available resources to provide them with New Reader Scripture Portions at various reading levels which will lead them to the point where they are able to understand a New Testament or a Bible.

With only half of the people in Kenya presently able to read and with at least 10 language groups numbering more than 100,000 speakers, the task of making His Word easily accessible to everyone presents a challenge that cannot be ignored. The Bible Society is hopeful that with the help of members and friends of the American Bible Society and other Bible Societies around the world, all of the people of Kenya will some day be able to read for themselves the wonderful words of life as revealed in His Word."

This article quoted from the
Record, the newsletter of the American Bible Society, February 1987, pages 5-6

Eternal life
Is
A gift of God

Missing Heaven By 18 Inches
By Paul W. Empet

"Does this title startle you?

How can anyone get so close and yet in the end hear the Lord say, "I never knew you: depart from me"?
(Matthew 7:23).

However, this will be the terrible result of many in our churches today who are professing Christians, often with responsible positions, but who have had only a head acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ. Tragically enough, even teachers, preachers and religious workers are not exempt from the possibility of this chilling indictment.

The distance between the head and the heart is 18 inches. Unfortunately, a head knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, fully knowing and giving mental assent to the plan of salvation, without also a heart acceptance that brings the personal relationship that the Bible demands, avails nothing to any man.

Listen to St. Paul's heart cry concerning Israel as he spoke under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge"
(Romans 10:2-3). He was speaking about misdirected efforts, energies expended in the strength of the flesh, but not under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The lack of power today in many of our churches as well as the lack of power today in the lives of many professing Christians can be laid directly to this.

It is only as we see ourselves in the mirror of God's Word as without excuse and without hope, utterly lost and undone, that the truth of the Scriptures convicts us, for the Bible clearly reveals that this is how God sees man.
(Romans 3:10-18).

Then, when the glorious Truth of the Gospel brings us to a recognition of our own sinfulness, and in true repentance we cry out to God asking forgiveness and help, asking Him to come into our hearts, not our heads, we experience the New Birth.

Jesus Christ said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me"
(John 14:6).

The Bible also tells us that "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life"
(I John 5:12).

Furthermore, the Bible promises "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation"
(Romans 10:9-10).

Christ wants your heart, not just your head because "The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart"
(I Samuel 16:7).

It is vitally important that you make sure it is not just head knowledge and mental assent you have given to Jesus Christ. He needs the complete surrender of your heart and life so that you may be truly born again.

Eighteen inches can mean an eternity with Christ or an eternity without Christ. Are you sure of your personal relationship to Him?

Why not settle the question in your heart once and for all now?"

This article quoted from the
Gospel Tract Harvester Newsletter, July-August 1986, page 5
(It is also available in tract form from the Gospel Tract Society)

We're too blessed
To be depressed

The Power Of A Positive Praise Life
By David Buttram

"First: God is very pleased with our praises.

Second: A defeated Christian is one who does not praise the Lord.

Third: Words of praise will absolutely lift you from defeat to victory, from sickness to health, from despair to joy, from bondage to liberty.

Fourth: To practice a positive praise life requires willpower and boldness, for the natural man doesn t like to praise the Lord.

Fifth: Lack of praise and thanksgiving is a spirit of these last days.

Sixth: Bold unceasing praise ushers in the fulness of the Spirit. Continual praise is a definite evidence of the Spirit-filled life.

Seventh: Discipline your lips to praise the Lord. You will possess tremendous power, enjoy good health, and keep Heaven busy working in your behalf."

This article quoted from the
Gospel Tract Harvester Newsletter, July-August 1986, page 15
It is also available in tract form from the Gospel Tract Society

Peace starts with a smile

A Smile
By David Buttram

"A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a second, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

No one is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and no one is so poor but that he can be made rich by it or share it with someone else.

A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the sign of friendship. It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged sunshine to the sad, and is an antidote for trouble.

Yet, it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away.

Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as no one needs a smile as much as he who has none to give."

This article quoted from the
Gospel Tract Harvester Newsletter, January 1986, page 10

Fear not tomorrow
God is already there

Shifting the Burden
By L. Nelson Bell

"A RECENT NEWS REPORT told of the discovery of the world's third largest diamond. It was about the size of a hen's egg and worth eight to nine million dollars. Imagine the excitement and the joy of the finder!

Similarly, there are times when the implications of one of God's promises to his children suddenly strike the mind as though with a blinding light, when a truth revealed becomes a precious assurance that can be put to practical use and will bring both joy and comfort.

For some weeks now the admonitions and promises of
Philippians 4:4-7 have been on my mind. Accepted at face value and acted upon, they can bring untold blessing.

The passage reads, "Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in him at all times. Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of your Lord. Don't worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God, which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus" (Phillips).

Human existence involves anxiety, worry, burdens, care, concern. Problems, problems, problems— there seems to be no end to matters that interfere with tranquility and peace of mind. Yet though anxiety is an inevitable part of the drama of human life, there is a supernatural remedy offered to those who will accept it.

The underlying cause of much of our apprehension is a distorted sense of values on the one hand and on the other our foolish attempts to be our own burden-bearer. We permit the cares of this world, the false glamour of money and material things, worldly ambitions, and a host of other things to crowd in on our conscious and subconscious lives until we feel ready to explode.

When the Apostle Peter wrote, "You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern"
(I Peter 5:7, Phillips), he meant exactly the same thing the psalmist did when he said, "Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you"
(Psalm 55:22).

This promise of relief from worry is also found in Jesus' words, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light"
(Matthew 11:28-30).

The way to freedom from anxiety can be called transference: we simply turn the problem and its solution over to our Lord and rest in him.

There are apt to arise within us worries about health, and about having enough money to pay our bills (we forget Jesus' promise in
Matthew 6:33 that all the necessities of life will be provided if we put him and his Kingdom first)
. Hard decisions, dangers to ourselves and loved ones, matters of occupation and obligations, concern over the world situation and over the seeming triumph of sin— all these matters crowd in upon us. They are worrisome and frightening for us, but not for the One who waits for us to confide in him and leave the outcome in his hands!

Does not our trouble lie in the fact that our conception of God is too small? Do we not forget that he is all-loving, infinite in his wisdom, knowledge, and power, and that for him no problem exists other than our lack of understanding and faith, and our limiting him by our own human limitations?

We are not spiritual orphans left to our own devices. Our Father is always interested in us, and he is nearer than hands or feet.

This passage of Philippians (4:4-7) tells us that the ultimate source of our joy and delight should be the Lord Jesus. This relationship is not fitful, transient, or subject to change. It is as constant as the Rock of Gibralter.

A complete surrender to the Lord and joy in him even changes our personalities, producing gentleness, forbearance, moderation, and magnanimity. Our Lord's gentleness and lowliness of spirit blossom in our own lives.

For years, when I read this passage in the King James Version I thought of the nearness of the Lord in terms of his return. But the thought here actually is that he is near us all the time and that we should constantly lean on his presence.

This transference of anxiety involves telling all the details to him— not because he doesn't already know, but because he wants us to talk to him about our troubles for our own good. He is simply waiting for this expression of our faith in him in order to take over the problem and handle it in his own way, for his own glory.

And because we have turned the matter over to the sovereign ruler of the universe, as he has directed, we can praise and thank him for the solution to our anxiety even before we see how he will answer. It becomes a matter of resting in his loving hands, just because we know he is able and willing to be our burden-bearer.

There is a certain and precious result: anxiety vanishes and his peace fills our hearts— a peace beyond human explanation but real, a peace born of his presence that fills and keeps our hearts and minds (our thoughts) with a sense of resting in and on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Is this too simplistic? Is the Apostle Paul's injunction to the Philippian Christians irrelevant to the pressures and anxieties of life today?

With all my heart I believe we have in these four verses the key to living as the Christian should. How could we more clearly demonstrate the relevance of our faith than by meeting the difficulties and anxieties of life by turning them all over to the Lord? For by so doing we prove not only that our delight and joy is in him but also that he is both able and willing to provide us with the solution.

In the midst of writing this article I received a letter from a business executive, only thirty-eight, who is recovering from a coronary occlusion. His doctor says the chances are good that he will have another within five years.

This man is an active Christian, willing to know and do God's will for his life, but in this letter he suggests that "anxieties about my job and my insufficient faith to trust my problems to the Lord were contributing factors to my having a heart attack." The promises in this passage of Scripture would seem to hold the answer to his problem.

The words of the old hymn— "0 what peace we often forfeit, 0 what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!" —are still wonderfully applicable in our day.

The psalmist says, "Thou dost keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee"
(Psalm 26:3). Every Christian needs to learn the extent of his own ineffectiveness and God's complete ability to fulfill his promises."

This article quoted from the
Christianity Today Magazine, JUNE 23, 1972, page 33

Some make the future
Some wait for the future to make them

The New Propriety
By Roger William Bennett

"There is a spirit growing among young Americans, the spirit of the new propriety. Theological radicals tend to fawn over it, trying to nurse it into its "full stature," that of a new morality or situation ethic. Evangelicals try to crush it among their youth, before contributions to their schools wither or the name of Christ comes into disrepute.

Both the gleeful and the fearful miss the point. Myopically self-centered, they dwell on appearances and interpret them as fundamental changes, either good or bad.

Young Christians have accepted cultural manifestations ranging from dress to dance. The cinema has come into its own as an art form, and young believers, no longer suspecting celluloid to be demon-possessed, freely choose which films to attend. Bad cinema can be more boring or nauseating than pernicious.

In an age of coed dorms and off-campus apartments, young Christians at secular schools watch television, study, play games, and talk together in the once forbidden privacy of their rooms. Most committed Christian students have a sense of spiritual responsibility both to Christ and to others. They know that their lives are constantly on display before the non-Christians who are their roommates and neighbors. Segregated-by-sex dorms do not stymie students bent on immorality, even on Christian campuses (fraudulent sign-out destinations and other subterfuges provide alternatives).

Coed dorms and long hair are manifestations of a new propriety, not a new morality. This change has come about slowly and naturally, by circumstance rather than by design. Away at school and free of the usual restrictions, the younger generation has formed a new culture, and young Christians are a part of it. It is not that they have departed from the faith. Rather, they are living it out amid new social patterns.

As C. S. Lewis pointed out in Christian Behavior, "a girl in the Pacific Islands wearing hardly any clothes and a Victorian lady completely covered in clothes might be equally "modest," proper, or decent, according to the standards of their own societies. . . ." Young Christians may accept the cultural phenomena of shortened skirts, lengthened hair, and twenty-four-hour visitation privileges without changing their moral standards. Few Christian girls venture out in public conspicuously braless. But while Christians do not succumb to the prevailing morality, neither do they recoil in horror and set up a monastic counter-counter-culture.

No one should impose a guilt complex on the young. As long as they use their discretion and do not act to excite passion or give occasion to sin, they are guiltless. Those who are older need not lose sleep or agonize in prayer over long hair and coed dorms. The young need (and grudgingly appreciate) the prayers of mature Christians for their real problems, but accusation, innuendo, and morbidly probing curiosity serve only to aid the devil. Each generation should ignore trivial differences and pray for the real spiritual needs of the other, for both sides of the "propriety gap" face basically the same temptations, albeit in different surroundings.

Young and old, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us make a testimony to a world beset by schism and close the generation gap in the ranks of the redeemed. The first step together is gaining an understanding of differences in propriety and a mutual tolerance bred of the Holy Spirit."

This article quoted from the
Christianity Today Magazine, JUNE 23, 1972, page 11
ROGER WILLIAM BENNETT was a student at Bradley University and an orderly at Methodist Hospital of Central Illinois, Peoria, at that time.

Running low on faith?
Stop here for a fill-up

Christ the Reconciler and Divider
By W. Stanford Reid

"Man has shown he can solve many of his problems. He has developed microphones and subways and contraceptives and flea collars and erasable bond. He can have his air conditioned and his face "lifted." Awaiting his beck and call are computers, tranquilizers, telephones, and— sometimes— vending machines. He can fly now and pay later, protected during his trip by vaccines and traveler's checks. True, he is still haunted by gigantic problems of poverty, disease, pollution. But he is confident that, given a little more time and a lot more money, he can find cures for these and other remaining ills.

There is one basic problem, however, that he shows few signs of solving: conflict between human beings. Despite all the efforts of idealists, reformers, and even revolutionaries, conflict continues between individuals, between classes, and between nations, thereby contributing to many of man's other problems.

Men have been wondering for centuries about this apparently ineradicable tendency to fight. Immanuel Kant blamed man's irrational loyalties and desires: all would be well if only man could order political and international affairs more rationally. Karl Marx held that the cause of the trouble was class conflict arising from the unequal distribution of wealth: let everybody be reduced to one class with the whole economic mechanism owned by all, and everything would become peaceful. Friedrich Nietzsche attributed the constant struggle to "the will to power." Others have named other causes. But they all have missed the point. Man's tendency to fight his fellows springs from the depths of his own personality. Each one of us is an egotist who wants to play God, at least in his own little world. We seek to be free to do our own thing without being constrained by either man or God. The problem is, in a word, spiritual; strife in economic, political, and social spheres usually is rooted in man's spiritual condition.

Behind man's conflicts lies his alienation from God, and his separation from his Creator, Sustainer, and Lord, who wants to be at the true center of his being. In his sinful desire to be God, man has declared his independence. He has cut himself adrift on a sea for which he has no map. And the Pole Star, the sovereign God, is clouded from his sight by his own rebellion and by God's wrath against his sin. Knowing God, as Paul says in
Romans chapter 1, man yet denies him, rebelling not only against his Lord but also against his own true self. He suppresses the knowledge of God and of his own creaturely nature, bringing dire consequences to himself and to all around him.

That man's denial of God affects the whole creation is very evident in his self-assertive destruction of the environment. Furthermore, because of man's rebellion, God's judgment rests upon all of creation. But sin's most obvious consequences appear in man's relations with man; when men no longer submit to and trust God and when they assume that no one else does either, trust between "neighbors" disappears. And, as Max Lerner pointed out in one of his syndicated columns, where trust disappears, society breaks into universal conflict. Unbelieving, disobedient man then seeks to force stability by setting up some sort of dictatorship to overcome the disintegration he has caused. Only the grace of God restrains man from destroying himself and his world.

Into this situation came Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the express image of God's person, the Creator, the Sustainer and Ruler of all things
(John 1:1 and following; Colossians 1:15 and following). He came not for some economically, socially, politically revolutionary purpose but to reconcile the world to God. He came to satisfy the demands of God's justice and at the same time to remove the cloud between man and his Creator and turn man back to the true center of his life, the sovereign Triune God. Only Christ could accomplish this, for he alone was and is both God and man. By Christ's life, death, and resurrection God reconciled the world unto himself.

Yet man refuses to accept God's offer. The idea that he must humble himself before God, acknowledging that he is a sinner who can be reconciled to God only by divine grace, is unappealing. Man prefers to think he can earn God's acceptance. But the Holy Spirit has been sent to open man's eyes to his condition before God and to the availability of God's offer of reconciliation. When the Spirit effectively calls a man, he is "born again" as a new creature, for he then returns to his true condition and status as God's child, giving to Christ the preeminence in all things
(I Peter 2:25). Reconciliation to God is thus completed in and through the gift of the Spirit.

But this is only the beginning of a process. Before regeneration, a man's life is off center for he considers himself the hub of his own existence. But Christian man recognizes and accepts his position not only as a forgiven sinner but also as a creature of God placed in this world to serve Christ his Lord. The world around him is no longer a chaos of random happenings; it is all part of God's creation, operating according to his plan.

This realization changes the Christian's attitude toward his fellow men. Faced with the fact that all men are his neighbors whom he is to love as himself, he accepts the need to be trustworthy, doing to others as he would have them do to him. He also recognizes that, since God in his grace still preserves and maintains in all men some vestiges of the divine image, men should trust one another, for only then can any form of society exist.

Yet true fellowship and mutual trust in the highest sense are possible only between those who together acknowledge and serve Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. As Paul pointed out to the Ephesians, Christ has broken down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile; all partitions dividing those who are in Christ have fallen, for they are all one body in him
(Acts 15:17 and following; Ephesians chapter 2).

This should have very practical effects. Not only to fellow Christians but also to unbelievers, the Christian should manifest the love of Christ in his life and deeds. In so doing he may win some to Christ
(I Corinthians 9:19 and following). But even if he does not, his attitudes and his actions will have a healing effect on human relations. By his influence he will be a peace-maker, a true sign that he is a child of God
(Matthew 5:9).

He must go beyond merely manifesting an attitude, however. As a citizen, an employee or an employer, a son or a daughter, a husband or a wife, the Christian should work for reconciliation, for "peace on earth to men of good will." As the salt of the earth, Christians should work to overcome all causes of discrimination and to help all those in need. The Christian, because of the love of Christ in his heart, should be the Good Samaritan of the world
(I Corinthians chapter 13).

The Christian never reaches sinlessness in this life. He still has attached to him the graveclothes of his old nature with its egotism, selfishness, pride, and rebelliousness. Constantly faced with temptation, he repeatedly disobeys and comes short of God's perfection. The result is continual conflict with God. Consequently his reconciliation to God, while in principle complete in Christ, is never fully achieved; he must continually repent of his sins and seek anew God's forgiveness.

The imperfection of the Christian's life leads not only to transgression of the divine law of holiness but also to conflict with other Christians. Conflicts appeared among Christ's disciples while he was on earth and among his followers after his ascension, and, as most of us know well, they have continued in the Church down to the present. Bitter quarrels often break out in churches and other Christian groups because of Christians' egotism, pride, greed, and fear. Yet Christians should always strive for reconciliation with one another, for they are members of one family. Harmonious relations will require confession and repentance toward each other, steps that are very difficult for our stubborn hearts. With the help of the Spirit and the grace of God, and with constant prayerful attention to maintaining a loving attitude, conflicts can be reduced and reconciliation increased.

At the same time Christians must live in a world that rebels against Christ's universal lordship. However successfully they manifest the love of God to man, the world will rarely appreciate their effort. To the unbeliever Christ is simply a usurper seeking to take over a world that rightfully belongs to man. Still, by the influence of their words and lives, Christians may stimulate a certain amount of external reconciliation between man and man, yet at any time the rebel world's suppressed hostility and aggressiveness, sometimes sparked by Christian boldness and sometimes by Christian's lack of tact, may break forth in opposition to— even persecution of— those who represent Christ and his rule in this world.

The outcome is constant, unresolvable conflict between the people of the Kingdom and those who reject Christ's lordship. While many Christians, stressing Christ's office as the Prince of Peace, insist that whenever the Gospel is preached peace will result, this has not proved to be so. Although those who believe will find peace with God that changes their attitude toward others, Christ promised his people not peace but tribulation in this world
(John 15:18 and following; 16:33). Furthermore, he told his disciples he had come to bring not peace but a sword that would divide even families. Therefore, throughout the whole of history the Gospel has brought both reconciliation and conflict
(II Corinthians 2;16; I John 2:15 and following; 3:1).

This ambivalence will be resolved only at the end of history, at the final reconciliation when every tongue shall confess that Christ is Lord, and the restored creation will be submitted unto the Father, that God may be all in all
(Philippians 2:10; I Corinthians 15:24). And yet the Scriptures never speak as though this means that all men will be accepted by God. The rebels will be cast into outer darkness— the darkness of knowing their own stupidity and futile rebelliousness. Though forced to acknowledge Christ as Lord, they will be separated from him forever.

Those who have known and accepted his gracious reconciliation, on the other hand, will experience its fullness in the completeness of God's eternal grace. And all creation, restored and healed, will show forth the glory of the Triune God. Reconciliation will finally have won out over conflict."

This article quoted from the
Christianity Today Magazine, SEPTEMBER 29, 1972, pages 14-16
W. Stanford Reid was professor of history at Wellington College, University of Guelph, Ontario, at that time. He received the Th.M. degree from Westminster Theological Seminary and the Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jesus died for you and you
Now, will you live for Him?

Love Your Enemies
By Naldy Garcia

"Sometimes the Lord allows the devil to interfere in the affairs of a person whom he chooses so that His plan will be accomplished! For example, we find in
Job 2:16, "And the Lord said unto Satan, "Behold he is in thine hand, but save his life." A modern day example of this follows:

One night Peewee Garcia was stabbed by a group of unknown thrill killers. They slashed his abdomen in great pleasure. Peewee was not a Christian at the time, but he is the brother of one of our Chi-Alphan staff workers. Peewee did not know it, but much prayer had gone up in his behalf for many years...

Peewee fell on the pavement with much groaning and pain as blood oozed from his body. The thrill killers escaped when they thought Peewee was finished. Their night of work was over...

Rushed to the nearby University of Saint Thomas hospital, unbeknown to his attempted killers, Peewee was revived! Praise God! While lying in the hospital bed, Peewee started planning how to get even with his assailants. He was going to execute a vengeance. (This is very popular here in the Philippines. If someone does something to offend or hurt you, you then have the right to get even.)

God, however, had a much better plan for Peewee. The Lord sent Mark Weber to visit him in the hospital. (Mark is an Intern missionary from California who has worked with the Chi-Alphans for six months.) Mark opened the Bible and shared with him what the Scripture had to say about those who wronged him and, most important, how to respond...love your enemies!

Peewee was struck the hardest when he learned how the Lord Jesus suffered from the hands of his people. And, Jesus did not strike back.

After the sharing, Peewee accepted Christ as his Lord and Saviour. But, the most amazing thing of all was the decision of this man to forgive his assailants and give them up to God.

Yes, it is possible to love your enemies! "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me"
(Philippians 4:13). Peewee is out of the hospital, and he and his family are now regular attendees of Chi-Alpha Christian Fellowship!"

This article quoted from the
Far East Focus, the newsletter of the Oriental Missionary Crusade, February 1982, page 3

If you are headed in the wrong direction
God allows U-turns

How to Tame Your TV
by Kevin Perrotta

"What is a Christian approach to television that takes into account both its strengths and weaknesses? How can we use television to enrich rather than impoverish our homes— and our minds?

Many of television's negative effects can be removed simply by reducing the amount of time we spend watching it. Here are some steps toward that goal.

Locate the problems:
Before we can eliminate harmful ways of using television in our home, we must find out what they are. We might begin by examining the stress points in our family. What are the chronic difficulties, the constant points of tension? Perhaps there are disagreements between husband and wife about money or work, or struggles with the children about free time or choice of friends.

How often, when these points of tension appear, do we say or hear things like, "I didn't have the time," "I'm too busy," or "We didn't have a chance to talk about it"? To what extent has television been the cause of this? Asking questions like these may help us pinpoint the actual costs we have been paying for our hours spent with the television.

Ask why. The second step is to examine the causes of our excessive viewing. Are we trying to escape difficulties in our relationships with the people around us? Are our children having problems in school or with friends that are causing them to withdraw to the comfort of the screen? Are there frustrations in our jobs which are causing us distress? We may need to look for solutions to these problems before we are able successfully to adjust our viewing habits.

Accurate measurements:
It may be helpful to keep a log of our viewing. Putting a diary on the television set and recording when and what we watch may be quite revealing. We may be watching more than we thought. Also, a log may help us see more clearly what times of the day we are depending on television. Those are the times we will have to work particularly hard to find substitutes.

The difficult decision. The big step is to decide to reduce the total amount of time we are spending with television. As we poise the blade, ready to slash our viewing time, the hand trembles. We confront external and internal resistance. One of the external obstacles may be that not everyone in the house or apartment is equally enthusiastic about the move.

The internal resistance to watching less television comes from our acceptance of some secular assumptions. The society we live in presumes that leisure is in itself one of the highest goals of life. And it believes that liberal amounts of entertainment through the mass media— television, movies, newspapers, magazines (most of which seek to entertain as well as inform)— are an important component of any normal person's life. We have been formed in this cultural pattern. We accept it. We like to be in touch with what's happening in the secular culture, trivial as well as important. We feel abnormal if we are not.

Certainly entertainment plays a part in life. Leisure and recreation strengthen the bonds between people and refresh us for exertions ahead. But if we take our call from God seriously, we will ask ourselves how much leisure, entertainment and media stimulation we need. How much prepares us for the work to come; how much distracts us from our duties? "The door turns on its hinge," Proverbs says, "The sluggard turns on his bed." Does the modern sluggard turn on his television?

Turn it off for a couple of weeks. This might come as a shock to the system. The advantage, however, is that everyone gets to see that life without television is possible. Two weeks is long enough for people to begin finding other things they are naturally interested in. Then, when television is reintroduced, plans can be made to continue and enlarge on these natural interests. Also, it is easier to get to a greatly reduced level of viewing if one approaches it from a temporary experience of no television at all.

How much? How much television is enough? Some people I know have adopted an hour a day as a guideline; others, two or three hours a week. These seem like reasonable levels.

Should some people stop watching altogether? At least one group of people should seriously consider doing so—those for whom television is simply out of control. Doing without television entirely is far better than not being able to cross one's living room without feeling an irresistible urge to turn on the television. To give it up completely is preferable to spending large amounts of time— almost against one's will— stupefied before the screen.

Wilderness preserves:
In addition to reducing the total amount of time spent with television, it may be helpful to set aside times when television will almost never be watched— a kind of wilderness preserve in the weekly schedule. One such time might be the dinner hour. A family might decide that dinner is a crucial opportunity for everyone to pause together on their way to other things, keep each other up to date on what is happening at work or school, make plans, pray a little, and enjoy each other's company. Television viewing interferes with this; therefore, no television.

The living room or family room itself might be designated a television-free zone. Most homes have one room that is dominated by a television set. Some people are trading in their massive stationary set for a portable that can be put away in a closet when it is not in use. This helps to get everyone's mind off television when viewing is not scheduled.

Planning:
Making viewing decisions ahead of time has three advantages.
(1) It is an aid to keeping within whatever guideline we have established for total viewing hours per week. We are likely to watch more than we intended if we do not plan in detail.
(2) It helps us be more selective. And
(3) it reduces the acrimony of disagreements over what should be watched. Last-minute arguments ("But, Dad, the game's on now!") are harder on the nerves than discussions held at the beginning of the week.

Children:
Some people say that parents should never use television as a babysitter. Strictly speaking, this is unrealistic. Whenever parents are not actually watching with their children, television is in some sense acting as a babysitter. The children are occupied with the television program, and Mom and Dad are free to do something else. It does not seem reasonable for parents always to be there when their children are viewing. How much Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch can a mother stand?

What does seem important is that parents know what their children are watching. Parents should determine what is acceptable and unacceptable. Turning a child loose with the television with the mere rule that he average no more than an hour a day would be irresponsible, considering what is available to fill that hour.

Television will only have a useful, balanced role in our lives if we are also carrying out our responsibilities and having our minds shaped according to God's Word. Reducing our viewing time and changing some of our viewing habits are part of the movement toward balance. The other part consists of the positive changes we make to dedicate our time to fulfilling God's purposes and understanding His ways."

This article quoted from the
FOCUS On THE FAMILY Newsletter, FEBRUARY 1983, pages 12-13
Kevin Perrotta was managing editor of Pastoral Renewal at that time. He also was the author of a book titled Taming the TV Habit.

Free Trip to heaven
See Jesus for your free ticket!

Law Versus Grace:
David Buttram Answers Your Questions

By David Buttram

"Question: In a recent Harvester you wrote: "Christians have nothing to do with Moses' law." Do you mean to say that we are not obligated to obey those laws including the one commanding us not to kill?

Answer: Yes, I meant exactly what I wrote, for we of the New Testament church are not bound by the old law. From the number of letters I have received about this, I sense a widespread misunderstanding of this matter.

Throughout the history of mankind, God has made covenants to establish a relationship of responsibility with certain people, under specific conditions. In the case of Moses, a conditional covenant was made that had 2,277 commands embodied in 445 laws which Israel was to abide by. These commands were collectively called the law, and directed Israel in its religious and moral conduct until Messiah would come to establish a new covenant- an unconditional covenant of grace.

Of those many laws Israel had to obey, the ten commandments are a summary or basis on which they rest. They were for a certain time
(Galatians 3:19), in a certain place- Palestine (Deuteronomy 5:16), and for a specific people- the Jews
(Deuteronomy 5:3).

When Jesus the Messiah came, He fulfilled the prophetic role of establishing a new covenant- a better one that would include all people of all lands for all time
(Matthew 26:28; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:13). The book of Hebrews is mostly about how the new covenant is better than the old one.

Over the years, Jewish teachers and leaders had set up hundreds of commandments based on Moses' law. No one could keep them all, so it was important to determine which ones to obey and which ones not.

In establishing the new and better covenant, Jesus set forth two commandments for His church to follow. The first and greatest is to "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." The second greatest is to "Love thy neighbor as thyself"
(Matthew 22:37, 39). Jesus continued by saying that all the past laws and all the ordinances of the prophets hang on these two commandments. Note that "love" is the active verb in both commands, and it is the greatest provision and duty of human life.

When Jesus spoke of love as being man's chief duty, He was speaking of the loyalty and commitment it brings to man's behavior. It is the pivotal point of all of our relationships.

We as gentile Christians are not, nor have we ever been, subject to the Mosaic law
(Romans 2:12-16; Ephesians 2:12). Early Christian leaders at the general council in Jerusalem determined that Christians were not obligated to be circumcised, keep sabbaths, or observe any other part of the old law of Moses
(Acts 15:1-41).

While we should be guided by the two great commandments of Jesus in Matthew, there are many other commands in the New Testament that are more specific. In fact, there are 1,050 such commands. Some are repetitive and can be classified into 800 headings, covering every phase of human life.

In reply to your question about doing away with the commandment to not kill, I say that I am guided by the higher commandments to "Love thy neighbor as thyself"
(Matthew 22:39), be reconciled to a brother (Matthew 5:24); be kind in brotherly love
(Romans 12:10), be gentle to all men (2 Timothy 2:24), and do violence to no man
(Luke 3:14).

Thus, nine commandments are reiterated by Jesus and others in the New Testament under the New Covenant. The sole commandment not applying to gentile Christians and therefore not mentioned is the fourth commandment to observe the Jewish sabbath.

The last and greatest blessing promised to believers is in Revelation 22:14 which promises the right to the tree of life and entry into the Holy City to those who keep Jesus' commands."

This article quoted from the
The Gospel Tract Harvester Newsletter, October 2000, Page 14

No one is good enough to save himself
No one is so bad
That God cannot save him

How Do You View It?
By Steve Webb

"The doctor tells you that your unborn child probably has serious birth defects...An aged parent will require constant care involving sophisticated life-support systems...Tragedy strikes and your neighbor's child is killed in an accident...The co-worker in the next office says he's through trying to make his marriage work...Your local school system announces that only the evolutionary approach to the origins of man will be presented in the classroom.

How would you respond to these difficult, real-life situations? Do we as Christians have valid reasons for our beliefs and actions? Are we prepared to speak in a biblically consistent way to these and other problems which raise volatile issues? We can be, if we have carefully searched out our approach to life. Philosophers and others call it our world view.

World view— the term itself does seem to smack a little bit of the vague rumblings of philosophy. And for that reason many of us either ignore or avoid the subject. "I don't need to bother with philosophy," we often think to ourselves. "I'll let the humanists and atheists worry about that. Besides, my most important duty is to learn the Scriptures and pattern my life after them."

But to ignore the vital issue of our world view is to miss an area that could lend us a hand where we need it the most. As Christians, if we want our lives to be under God's control we must learn to think biblically. Thinking biblically will help us live more Christlike lives and also provide some great tools for our evangelism and discipling efforts.

The Christian's thought life is perhaps his greatest concern. The Scriptures admonish us to take "every thought captive to the obedience of Christ"
(2 Corinthians 10:5). Further, they tell us that "as [a person] thinks within himself [i.e., with his mind], so he is"
(Proverbs 23:7). The believer whose thought life is under the control of the Scriptures and who is able to make sense out of the world around him is in a position to minister to a confused or lost person.

So a world view is a person's attempt to make sense out of the world around him, the world of ideas and experience. It is simply one's philosophy of life, and all people are philosophers. You and I, the man next door, his wife, even his kids— everyone has a world view. Not many people can articulate their world view, however, because they may not even be aware they have developed one. But they have, and it directly influences the way they live their daily lives. The problem is it may be faulty, and because so many people simply absorb their views unconsciously and uncritically from the world around them they are susceptible to many other equally false ideas.

We may liken a world view to our glasses through which we see the world. Because of sin our lenses have become smudged, and without Christ it is impossible for them to become clear enough for us to see reality as it actually is.

The issue here is truth. Most people seek after it by one method or another. We can learn by observation through our senses and experiences. Another method is through the mind. These two are valid means of discovering truth but they are incomplete. We as Christians understand that there are some things we cannot know except by a third method— revelation. We recognize that God has spoken to us in two ways: through our experiences with His creation and with Christ, and through His written revelation— the Bible.

A Christian world view, then, is built on a biblical frame-work. It is learning to look at all of life, whether it be science, art, music, literature, or even television and the daily newspaper, through lenses colored by Christian truth. It is learning to interpret life's experiences, both its joys and tragedies, from a set of biblical presuppositions which we hold to be true.

For example, the most fundamental presupposition the Christian makes is that God exists. He observes that the universe is orderly and that it must be the work of a superior intelligence. He reasons that therefore God must have created it. But most importantly the Christian receives the revelation of God through Christ and His Word and in these God's existence is confirmed to us.

Why should we take the time and effort necessary to think through the issues and develop a consistent and thoroughly Christian world view? I see at least two important benefits. First, it helps to give us solid answers to the crucial questions of life.

Here is a list of six of the critical questions which every person must deal with and attempt to answer:
1. What is ultimate reality?
2. Who is man? What is his purpose on earth, if any?
3. What happens to us at death? Do we exist eternally in some form or do we simply cease to exist?
4. How can we know what is real? What is our basis for knowledge?
5. What is our basis for morality? On what do we build our ethical system? Is morality relative or is it based on absolutes?
6. What is the meaning of history? Does it have any meaning at all?

These questions may at first seem to be somewhat remote from our everyday lives, but think again about the problems mentioned above. Each question relates directly to these and other vital moral, political, and social issues which our society is wrestling with at this moment.

During my own college days I watched a group of campus intellectuals tear into a young Christian's faith in a way that almost left her devastated. During a rap session between morning classes she had innocently mentioned to this group of skeptics that God was the answer to our problems. What ensued was a discussion that led well into the afternoon— she trying to explain her faith in Christ and they trying to convince her that God did not exist at all.

Praise God for the faith He had given her! Instead of responding to their attack with a quick retreat, anger, or undue dogmatism, she began to study in the very areas where her faith was challenged— and remained a steadfast friend to the group. She dug in with mental sweat, courage, and the faith that God's Word was worthy of any challenge. And because she believed these efforts would bear fruit she saw most of the group come to respect her biblical positions and one person even came to know Christ.

How would you have responded to these young skeptics? What advice would you have given this young believer to aid her in her ministry to them? Could your Christian world view withstand such an onslaught? This happened on a college campus but the same kind of discussion could easily come up in your office or shop, or over dinner at a friend's house. Learning to think in world view terms gives us confidence that we can meet these tough, universal questions with solid answers, knowing our world view can stand up to any attack.

A second value of a biblical world view is that it helps us to deal with new information and ideas we come in contact with. We are always confronted with new ideas that either agree or disagree with our world view. If we are certain our position is true we can judge the new idea accordingly. If it is in harmony with our world view it is true; if not, it may be false or we may need more information to form a correct judgment.

A series of incidents which illustrates this value of a Christian world view is the rash of so-called "life-after-life" experiences in which people claim to have passed through death into eternity. Almost without exception their descriptions of what they encountered are in direct contradiction to biblical truth. While these people may present their claims with great enthusiasm and may convince many of their truth, the Christian with a firmly biblical world view can rise above the emotionalism and judge them by an objective standard.

Let me offer some practical suggestions for building a consistent Christian world view.

(1) Our most obvious need is to know God's revelation, the Bible. So pray over it, read it, study it, and memorize it. Nothing else will take its place in your spiritual development.

(2) Get hold of some books by people like Francis Schaeffer and C. S. Lewis who have written with great insight on a Christian view of the world. Begin to study in areas where you may have interests.

(3) Learn to pick out the basic assumptions (presuppositions) behind your everyday reading, conversations, and television viewing. See how others attempt to answer those six questions we mentioned earlier. For example, test a television program to see how the characters and writers view human nature, God, or death.

(4) Teach your children to think in this way. Help them analyze television programs or even editorials in the newspaper.

(5) Test what you have observed against what the Bible says. If it is out of harmony with the Bible you know you are dealing with a false world view.

(6) Read a book like James Sire's The Universe Next Door (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press) to familiarize yourself with other world views and their presuppositions.

The world has its eyes on us as evangelical Christians. Much of the sparkle and popularity have gone out of liberalism, humanism, and communism, and the search for reality is once again turning back toward a biblical viewpoint. It will take some work on our part to understand how others answer the basic questions, but once we do we can show them the consequences of a faulty world view: many unanswered questions, a life out of harmony with God's created universe, and a false hope (or blatant despair).

Because we can have confidence in a biblical world view we must take the initiative to understand the views of others without fearing the results. We have no reason to retreat from the challenge. God has enabled us to deal with all false ideas: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ"
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Through the power of the Holy Spirit and God's Word we can lift the standard of a world view that answers clearly the major questions of life."

This article quoted from the
Kindred Spirit Newsletter, Dallas Theological Seminary, Winter 1981, Volume 5,Number 4, pages 4-6

Faith is the key

The Miracle In The House
By John Hagee

"Sooner or later you are going to need a miracle. What does God require of you to pour out a miracle that can change your entire life in a single day?

Many of today's churches tend to forget that our God is a miracle working God! Miracles did not stop occurring in Biblical times. They are not reserved just for the Old Testament. Think of all the miraculous things the Lord has done.
• He breathed into a handful of dirt and created man
• He parted the Red Sea
• He rained manna from the heavens
• He muzzled the mouths of lions for Daniel
• He healed the lame, deaf and blind
• He resurrected the dead...
Jesus said to His church, "Greater things than these shall you do!" The season for miracles is not over! The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever! What happened 2000 years ago can happen today. The Word of God says, "These signs shall follow them that believe, in my name they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover."

The living Word of God does not change nor does it return void.
• You are what His Word says you are
• You can do what His Word says you can do
• You can have what His Word says you can have

It says that "NOTHING is impossible with God!" and that "Whatsoever you ask in my name, I will do it." People sell themselves short by not expecting miracles. Many think that because they may not fully understand miracles, they will never experience one. The point is this, if we are only willing to experience what we can understand, we will live an empty, shallow life without miracles. Do you understand how electricity works? Nobody can exactly explain what makes it work, yet none of us hesitate to flip the switch on our wall everyday. We can either "flip the switch" or sit in darkness. If you need a miracle then it is time to flip the switch- have faith in God!

No matter what you face, nothing is either too great or too small for God to handle. "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they are?"
(Matthew 6:26)

The Lord God almighty in His infinite power makes sure the birds in the air are taken care of; think of what He wants to do for you! Whenever you face sickness or disease, the Word says that: "Bless the Lord 0 my soul and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all of your diseases."
(Psalm 103:2-3)

God forgives not in part but in full. He forgives ALL our sins and heals ALL our diseases. We must remember that Jesus Christ has carried our sins away, He has carried our sickness away, and He is our burden bearer. He took all of this from us at Calvary, when He said, "It is finished," he meant it. Death was defeated, and sin and disease were conquered at the Cross. There are no exceptions when it comes to those Jesus will heal. The healings of Jesus are not exceptional, they are universal. Jesus never turned anyone away "He healed all that were sick," and "as many touched Him were made perfectly whole." What Jesus did for people then, He intended for us today.

In the Book of Mark, the Lord gave us the Great Commission to "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved and he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe. In my name they shall cast out demons, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover."
(Mark 16:15-18) The Lord gave this commission to the church and it has not changed. It is still His will for us to lay hands on the sick and for them to recover. Look to the proof in the word: "Is any sick among you, let him call the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord Jesus, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick and the Lord Himself shall raise him up and if he have committed any sin they shall be forgiven him."
(James 5:14)

This is God's prescription for disease. This is God's plan. The Lord said that, "Beloved I pray above all things that you may prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers." God is always with us. His presence has never left the earth, and His love has never been removed. His power to heal, save, to deliver, and to set the captive free has never been diminished. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Do you need to be healed? Do you need a miracle? Then go to the Word- speak it, believe it and stand on it! There is more power in one page of the Bible than in the entire medical world. When we stand on the Word of God, the only thing that can happen to us is a miracle!"

This article quoted from the
John Hagee Magazine Newsletter, November-December 2004, pages 4-5

Nothing ruins the truth
Like stretching it

Where Should We Put Mary?
By John Witmer

"Mary the mother of Jesus is a major figure in the traditional Christmas tableau. Yet the place Mary holds in the Christian community has stirred great debate and even conflict in the past and at present. Through the centuries of Christian history she has suffered at the hands of her friends, with sharp division as the result.

Two extremes can be noted. On the one hand some exalt Mary far beyond what the Bible warrants. Her exaltation began in the ancient church with the development of the teaching concerning her perpetual virginity and the ascription to her of the title "Mother of God." In addition Mary is called the "Queen of Heaven" and is paid a special level of reverence.

In reaction to this the other extreme virtually ignores Mary and by a conspiracy of silence minimizes both her unique role in God's redemptive work and the vitality of her spiritual model. This reduction of Mary to a wooden, silent figure in the manger scene is as much an unbiblical extreme as is her undue exaltation.

Unfortunately, both sides distort the biblical portrait of Mary and obscure the practical spiritual lessons we can gain from her life as recorded in Scripture. We can help to strike a proper balance between these two poles by examining the Bible's witness concerning Mary. After the incident in the temple at Jerusalem when He was twelve, Jesus returned to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph "and was obedient to them"
(Luke 2:51). But He had already made it clear that His mission for God the Father came first
(verses 49-50).

Jesus certainly did not shirk His responsibility to His mother. Even in His agony on the cross He committed her to the care of "the disciple whom he loved"
(John 19:26-27). Nevertheless, on at least two other occasions— one at the beginning of His public ministry
(John 2:1-4) and the other near the middle
(Matthew 12:46-50; also Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21) — He also plainly indicated that Mary's wishes were subordinate to His ministry for His Father. She was present in the group of Jesus' followers who gathered in the upper room following His ascension
(Acts 1:12-14) — the last time she is mentioned in Scripture— but only as one of the group with no special authority or recognition.

But we need to remember that Mary is unquestionably a key person in the history of God's plan of salvation. She is crucial to the truth of the incarnation of the eternal Son of God and the reality of Jesus' genuine humanity. From its earliest creed the church has insisted that Jesus was "born of the Virgin Mary." In addition Mary is an outstanding role model whose life and ministry are exemplary for all who believe in Jesus Christ and seek to serve God. She must surely be Included in the "great cloud of witnesses" of Scripture whose examples stimulate Christians to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us"
(Hebrews 12:1).

The Bible makes it clear that Mary was God's chosen instrument through whom His eternal Son would take on flesh as Jesus, the Messiah of Israel and Savior of all who would believe in His name. To be the mother of Israel's Messiah was the dream of every Jewish maiden, but Mary alone fulfilled the great assignment. As a result she holds a special niche in the divine design for our salvation. Mary seemed to recognize this herself when she said, "From now on all generations will call me blessed"
(Luke 1:48).

In a very real sense Mary was the right person in the right place at the right time. Paul the Apostle later observed, "But when the time had fully come. God sent his Son, born of a woman"
(Galatians 4:4). Despite living in the obscure Galilean village of Nazareth she had inherited the royal blood of the Davidic line of Messianic promise. So had the carpenter Joseph, to whom she was engaged. Israel's Messiah had to be in the family of David, but he also needed to escape the curse God had pronounced against the heirs of the evil Old Testament king Jehoiachin
(see 2 Kings 24:8-16; Jeremiah 22:24-30), who would be in the direct line to the throne. This God accomplished with Mary; her blood ties with David were through his son Nathan (who was not a descendant of Jehoiachin). Joseph's ancestry through Solomon gave Jesus legal right to David's throne.

Mary was indeed God's chosen instrument, just as the Apostle Paul
(Acts 9:15) and the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-9), for example, were specially fitted for their tasks. In fact, her example reminds us that the same is still true for each of us as Christians in our world today. Each believer holds a unique place in God's design. The Bible declares that He "chose us in him [Jesus Christ] before the creation of the world" and "in love...predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ"
(Ephesians 1:4,5). As a Christian you are important and strategic to God.

Mary's character was as important to God as her ancestry. She was a godly young woman whose moral life was above reproach. By her own testimony
(Luke 1:34), that of the angel who appeared to Joseph
(Matthew 1:23), and the Gospel writer (Luke 1:27). Mary was a virgin. Even though her engagement to Joseph was as binding as a marriage they had not had sexual relations. God dramatically reassured Joseph of Mary's purity and the supernatural nature of her conception
(Matthew 1:20-24).

The depth of Mary's spirituality, however, went far beyond moral purity, important as that is. Her heartfelt devotion to the living God is displayed in the saturation of her mind with the words of Scripture. Her spontaneous song of praise to God in
Luke 1:46-55 contains more than a dozen phrases from Old Testament books woven together with her own words of rejoicing.

Many of these phrases come from Israel's hymnbook, the Psalms, which is to be expected in a song of praise. But she also drew from Genesis, the books of Samuel, Ezra, Job, Isaiah, Micah, and Habakkuk, which demonstrates the breadth of her familiarity with the Scriptures of Israel. No doubt Mary shared the psalmist's delight: "Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long"
(Psalm 119:97)

In this respect Mary is a challenging example for us as followers of the Lord today. Does the Word of God so permeate our thinking that we express ourselves in the thoughts, even the words, of Scripture? Whether we can say it poetically, does praise to God for His person and His goodness to us well up spontaneously in our hearts and pour freely from our lips? Is our devotion to God so deep and our communion with Him so intimate that our daily lives are pure and righteous? No wonder the angel told Mary, "You have found favor with God"
(Luke 1:30).

The apex of the biblical picture of our Lord's mother is her total submission and instant obedience to the will of God for her. Mary's only question to Gabriel's announcement of God's plan was "How will this be ... since I am a virgin?"
(Luke 1:34). She was not doubting God as was Zechariah (Luke 1:18-20) but was merely seeking information as to God's procedure, which Gabriel supplied
(Luke 1:35,37). Mary's immediate response was then "I am the Lord's servant...May it be to me as you have said"
(Luke 1:38).

In the Gospel of Luke God draws a curtain of silence over the turmoil in Mary's mind as the implications of His purpose for her strike home, but it is not hard to imagine her thoughts. "What will Joseph think?" must have been her first question. "How can I tell him? How will he react?" Then she must have wondered about the reactions of her friends, family, and neighbors in Nazareth. Would anyone understand? Could she stand the whispering behind her back, the knowing nods and side-long glances as she went about her daily chores?

I believe that in that crisis moment God brought to Mary's mind the example of Abraham. God asked him to do an almost impossible thing too; kill his son of promise as a sacrifice to Him
(Genesis 22:2). Without hesitation Abraham took steps to obey God and would have offered Isaac had not God stopped him and provided a substitute
(verses 3-19). Strengthened by this remembrance of the father of Israel Mary responded in trusting obedience to God, "Behold the slave of the Lord" (literal translation of
Luke 1:38).

Paul also delighted to call himself "a slave of Jesus Christ"
(Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Titus 1:1) but Mary actually preceded him in the use of that term. It reveals much about her attitude, because a slave had no rights; he existed only to obey and serve his owner and master. The will of the slave had to be submitted to the will of his master. God calls those who are related to Him by faith in Jesus Christ His children and friends; but from the believer's own view-point he is a slave. Mary knew this and responded to God accordingly. And what about us? The best evidence of our faith in Jesus Christ is our obedience to Him. We too must learn to respond with Mary to the revelation of God's will, "Behold the slave of the Lord."

This article quoted from the
Kindred Spirit Newsletter, Dallas Theological Seminary, Winter 1981, Volume 5, Number 4, pages 21-22.

If you need a helping hand
Look on the end of your arm

Getting A Handle On Holiday Stress
By Don Colbert

"When I was asked to write an article on holiday stress I thought, what stress? The holidays are the least stressful time of the year for me. Generally speaking, men have it fairly easy during the holidays, except for carrying the financial burden. However, when I asked my wife, she answered that the holidays were definitely the most stress-FULL time of the year for her. Let's take a few minutes and look at some common causes for stress and how to deal with them.

There are many stresses that people face at holiday time. Probably the most common is financial stress. We place a lot of pressure on ourselves by spending too much, running up our credit cards, and getting into debt. Another common stress many of us face is striving to accomplish too much in too little time. We shop in crowded malls with long lines and drive through heavy traffic, trying to locate items on a person's wish list. By the time we get to where we're going and learn that the thing is sold out, we're worn out, disappointed, and frustrated. Other stresses we deal with include decorating the Christmas tree, shipping presents to relatives, delivering gifts to friends and family, figuring out the appropriate gift for each individual, and being forced to be around family members whom you are usually able to avoid the remainder of the year.

In addition to working a job, cleaning the house, running errands, and taking care of the children, mothers usually have to prepare Christmas dinner for their family and sometimes for relatives and friends. To add to this, a number of individuals have suffered the loss of a loved one or they may have gone through a divorce. This can cause a great amount of mental and emotional stress. Actually, statistics show that most suicides are attempted during the holidays. This often results from people reflecting on the good times they used to have and believing their present situation is hopeless. This is especially stressful for those who live alone. Their minds flash back to the good times they used to have and remember laughing and celebrating together. They especially remember the things they used to have and now don't.

So how can you reduce your stress? Get organized ahead of time. One way of doing this is to determine from the beginning how much money you can spend, and then budget yourself and your family accordingly. If your married make an agreement with your spouse not to get caught up in the trap of emotional spending. It's also very helpful to make a list of gift items in advance and begin shopping early. This alleviates the rush and a lot of the pressure, plus it gives you an opportunity to catch things on sale. Furthermore, look for alternative methods of gift giving, which are usually less expensive and less time consuming. Examples include gift certificates from their favorite restaurant, a home repair store, the mall, department stores, and specialty shops. Another option is giving gifts that you have baked or cooked. You can always consider giving a good book or tape series to improve their walk with the Lord. Above all, avoid putting yourself under the pressure of having to get everyone a gift.

What about dealing with difficult people? When forced to be around family members that tend to be abrasive, look at it as an opportunity to practice walking in love. I suggest before the planned gathering, take a few moments to pray and make a list of any good quality they have that you can think of. As
Philippians 4:8 says we are to fix our minds on whatever is lovely, lovable, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Once you find something you genuinely appreciate about the person, offer it as a compliment when you're in conversation with them. This will usually disarm them and make your visit more tolerable— maybe even enjoyable.

The other thing I recommend is that you stop focusing on the people you want to avoid. Instead, spend time focusing on the people you want to see and fellowship with the most. This will increase your level of joy and inner peace and release you from a lot of inner tension and turmoil.

How can you deal with the loss of a loved one? Without question, it's going to take time to go through the grieving process, but being around others can bring us a long way. If you have lost a loved one or live alone, I encourage you to make it a point to spend part of the holiday with other loved ones. These people can be friends or family, but they need to be someone you love and who loves you. The bottom line is we need each another, and holiday times are about sharing the love of Jesus.

On the practical side, make sure that you get your rest— at least eight hours a night. I'd also encourage you to drink two quarts of filtered water a day and limit your intake of sugar, since sugar weakens your immune system. As best you can, maintain your normal exercise routine. This will help burn off internal stress chemicals. And lastly, take time to read, meditate, and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Remember, if you try to please everyone, you'll stress yourself out. So just make it your aim to walk in love with others, plan ahead, and follow the Holy Spirit's promptings. As you do, you'll find yourself becoming more and more free from stress and able to enjoy the holiday season."

This article quoted from the
John Hagee Magazine Newsletter, November/December 2004, pages 20-21

People who are never born again
Will someday wish
They had never been born at all

Security In The Storms of Life
By Billy Graham

"Where is God during the storms of life? Where is He in all the troubles of the world? Why doesn't He stop the evil? The Bible assures us that God will abolish evil when Jesus Christ returns.

But Jesus did not tell us when He is coming back: "However, no one knows the day or the hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows."
(Matthew 24:36). But Jesus said that there would be certain signs that we could watch for. They are called "The signs of the times"
(Matthew 16:3).

A group of disciples came to Jesus privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"
(Matthew 24:3).

THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS:
So Jesus sat down with them and began to teach these things. His answer, recorded in
Matthew chapter 24, speaks to the troubles of our own times: "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."
(Matthew 24:6-8).

We are living in a time of storms: famines and plagues of many kinds, tuberculosis, AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases. Turmoil, political and social chaos, change and uncertainty. Deepening poverty and homelessness. Racial division and crime. Physical and sexual abuse, and the disintegration of the family. Alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography, and other dangerous behaviors eating away at society. Earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes, and other natural disasters of many kinds.

Jesus said that these events are merely a warning of things yet to come, that this is only the beginning of sorrows. These warnings are not just parables or myths that we read about in the book of Matthew; they are the very headlines of our day. They are the evidence of Christ's prophecy fulfilled before our eyes.

But, Jesus said, the true Church would grow through persecution. It would spring forth from darkness and neglect even as the churches in oppressed countries have sprung full-blown from the soil of despair: "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations," He told them, "and then the end will come."
(Matthew 24:14).

THE FINAL HOURS:
When the work of the Church is nearing fulfillment on earth, Christ told His followers, there would be signs that the final hours had come: "The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken"
(Matthew 24:29).

Jesus told them, "The sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other"
(Matthew 24:30-31).

Jesus told His followers this in concrete and vivid detail. To be sure that they understood that what He had been telling them was real, not myth or metaphor, He offered the following parable: "Learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, at the very doors. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things are fulfilled. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be"
(Matthew 24:32-37).

By using a parable, Jesus illustrated that what He had told them about the end of the age was to be considered as fact. In those images, in Christ's own words, we have a glimpse of what the final storm will look like.

Imagine how shocking and unsettling these teachings must have been to the disciples of Jesus. Today also many people have difficulty seeing and believing these words.

A TIME TO LIVE:
For me, the importance of this passage is not that it gives such vivid detail of the End Times but that it assures us of the eternal security of those who put their trust in Jesus Christ. Suffering and death are nothing to look forward to, but death is all around us. It is inevitable.

The Bible says, "It is appointed unto men once to die"
(Hebrews 9:27). All of nature is in the process of dying, yet most people are living their lives as if they will never die. All over the world men and women are living for today with barely a thought of the possibility of eternity.

But death is not the issue here; Jesus was talking about the ultimate promise of eternal life with God. The words of Jesus Christ are good news for a world in crisis. For He gave us the good news that God loves us, that He is a God of mercy and that He will forgive us if we confess and forsake our sins and have faith in Him. He gave us the Gospel of hope.

FAITH IN TIMES OF CRISIS:
The marvelous security of the Christian faith is that it is specifically designed for overcoming the storms of this life and giving us the certainty of the life to come in Heaven. The scriptures tell us that the world's days are numbered. But for those of us whose hope is in Christ, we know that we shall overcome.

The Prophet Isaiah, in a passage that foreshadows the coming of Christ, wrote, "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
(Isaiah 40:31). That is the hope of every believer.

When Jesus Christ comes again, He will set up His Kingdom of righteousness and social justice where hatred, greed, jealousy, war and death will no longer exist. Jesus Himself promised the end of the present evil world system and the establishment of a new order called the Kingdom of God.

Jesus used images that were dramatic and compelling, but He did not engage in fantasy. He told His followers, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," and He was Truth and Veracity personified. Jesus indicated that when certain things come to pass, we can be assured that the end is near. He said, "Because of spiritual blindness, you cannot read the signs of the times"
(Matthew 16:3). He indicated that only those who have spiritual illumination and discernment from the Holy Spirit can hope to understand the trends and meanings of history.

Most of us are familiar with these memorable words: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
(Isaiah 9:6-7).

These words are the best promise of security in a world of tension and turmoil. If you want to have peace with God and find security for these times of trouble, you must answer one important question: Who is the ruler of your life?

ARE YOU TRYING TO BE THE MASTER OF YOUR OWN FATE? ARE YOU TRYING TO BE THE CAPTAIN OF YOUR OWN SOUL? DO YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN NAVIGATE LIFE'S STORMS WITHOUT THE MASTER AT THE HELM?

OR IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD WITHIN YOU? THE KING OF KINGS IS THE HOPE OF EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD OF EVERY NATION, AND HIS KINGDOM IS FOREVER.

This article quoted from the
Decision Magazine Newsletter, September 2001, pages 2-5

God remembers faithfulness
Longer than we do

God Of Covenant
By John Hagee

"Covenant is the most important word in the Bible. It is not just another topic in scripture; instead covenant is the foundation of Christianity. Covenant is the key which ties together the Old and New Testaments. God wants to enter into covenant with you.
Psalm 25:14 says "God's secrets He will show to those who walk with Him in covenant."

Some of the covenants the Bible talks about are the Blood Covenant, the Marriage Covenant and the Salt Covenant.

Every blessing that you have is the product of covenant. If you are born again, you are walking in the benefits of a blood covenant from the Cross that says that your sins are totally forgiven, never to be remembered against you. You are adopted into the royal family of God!

What is a blood covenant? It is a bond for life between two parties. It always has an oath that is spoken and requires the death of two wills and the birth of one unified. When you make a covenant with God, your will must die.

Every Christian is born into the body of Christ by the blood covenant of Calvary. We are blood brothers and sisters. It is not possible to be separated by race, wealth, or position because we are one! Jesus prayed in
John 17:21 "Father that the church may be one as you and I are one that the world may know that you have sent me." A divided, bickering church is a testimony to the world that Jesus Christ is a fraud.

The communion that you take on Sundays is the covenant meal. When you take communion, you are saying that you are bound by blood to Christ and to the people of His church.

Next to accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, the marriage covenant is the most important covenant you will make on this earth. The Bible says "Husbands love you wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it." In marriage, you both have to crucify your will for the relationship to be strong.

A covenant man loves his wife. If you do not love your wife, then you are in rebellion against God. Self love destroys God's love. A covenant man will put his wife and children's best interests ahead of himself. He will gladly give his life for their betterment.

A covenant woman fears the Lord. Proverbs 31:31 says "A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." She is strong both spiritually and morally.

God will bless covenant fathers and mothers for having the spiritual strength to shape the destiny of their children.

The salt covenant is a covenant of loyalty. Loyalty means the ability to walk in a covenant relationship even when having to make painful sacrifices. The church has not learned how to be loyal to one another or to God. In the book of Micah The word "mercy" also translates to loyalty. God loves mercy. Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy themselves. Mercy is evidence that you are becoming like God because man is inherently self-centered.

Mercy and loyalty search for a way to restore a fallen brother. Paul said in
Galatians 6:1, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself." The religious will say, kick him out, he got what he had coming to him, but loyalty says, let's forgive and restore him.

Salt symbolizes loyalty because it does three things. It preserves against corruption. It irritates. Finally, it holds together. A large salt block can stand up to the nastiest of weather.

Loyalty holds relationships together. There are powerful forces in the world that want to see Bible believing Christians silenced and scattered. The solution is for Christians to become salty! We must stick together and stand up for the cross because Satan is terrified of a united church.

A person without loyalty is worthless. Be loyal to one another. Salt covenant relationships can endure the heat. Satan can't rip you apart.

Salt is the basis of peace. In Mark 9:50, we find, "Salt is good,..have salt (loyalty) in yourselves and have peace with one another." The point is that peace is not possible without loyalty. You cannot have peace with God unless you are loyal to Him.

We should be loyal to God because of Jesus' triumph over death. When the Prince of Glory shouted, "It is finished," you became royalty. The curse of the law has been removed and you live by the grace of God. "For whom the Son set free is free indeed." Because of His triumph, you have peace that surpasses all understanding. Demons tremble when you pray because the atomic power of heaven is released when you whisper the name "Jesus."

Through the cross, Jesus reached into the lowest gutter and took your sin stained hand and placed it on His blood soaked chest. He reached into the highest heavens and took his Father's hand and placed it on yours. You deserved death, His wrath and judgment, but He gave you peace.

Have you been to the cross of Jesus to accept this blood covenant? The first evidence is that your life changes from what it had been before. "You become a new creature in Christ Jesus. Behold old things have passed away and all things have become new."

The blood covenant is the central theme of the Word of God. In the Old Testament, men sacrificed animals because without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. John the Baptist said "Behold the lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world." The only thing a lamb could do was die. That was God's purpose for sending Jesus to the earth.
In Matthew chapter 16, "and from that time, Jesus told his disciples how he must go to Jerusalem, suffer many things and be killed."

Jesus' triumph over death meant that Satan has been defeated. Though Satan's purpose is to rob, kill and destroy, through the blood covenant, we can cast out demons, heal the sick and comfort the afflicted. The church should be the recruiting center for the victorious army of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Consider the triumph of Jesus over sin. Sin will entice, charm, lure, and try to devour you. It is a crimson stain removed only through the blood of Jesus. Paul said, "But God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of Jesus Christ by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world?" Crucified means you are dead to sin!

It's very important for every person to understand the concept of covenant as God sees it. God does nothing with man that is important or permanent without covenant.

The Bible from Genesis to Revelation places a premium on being a person of integrity who gives their word and keeps their word. The inability of people to say what they mean and mean what they say is a great weakness of our generation.

Covenant is the secret of divine revelation. God has a secret that he shared with those who entered into covenant with Him. Covenant holds the secret to self-confidence, health, prosperity, relationships rich in love, but most of all the salvation of your soul. If you have not already done so, enter into a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ today."

This article quoted from the
John Hagee Magazine Newsletter, March/April 2006, pages 4-5

He who angers you
Controls you

Depressed? Learn From A Prophet
By Skip Heitzig

"Often referred to as "the common cold of mental illness," depression can sneak up on us, chilling the heart and even sapping the will to get out of bed. At some time everyone deals with "normal" depression, which is defined as a short-term response to loss, rejection or disappointment. More serious levels of depression can result in self-destructive behavior and a lack of ability to function in day-to-day life. Some depression comes from physiological problems rooted in hormonal imbalance.

FROM THE MOUNTAINTOPS:
Christians are not immune to experiencing depression. Elijah was a man who, despite his great faith, fell into a time of despair and depression. Prior to this period, however, he was on top of the world, having experienced one miracle after another. When a severe drought and famine fell on the land of Israel due to the nation's flagrant idolatry, God provided for Elijah by directing him to a brook of running water and supplying meals of bread and meat delivered to him twice daily by ravens.

Later, when the brook dried up, God sent Elijah to a city where God supplied a poor widow with enough oil and flour to feed not only herself and her son but also Elijah. Then the widow's son became ill and died. Elijah carried him to an upper room and prayed, and God raised the young boy back to life.

By the time Elijah made it to Mount Carmel to confront a crowd of antagonistic idol-worshipers, his faith must have been soaring high! There on the heights, in sight of hundreds of people, Elijah called down from heaven fire that consumed his sacrifice. The people were shocked into the realization that only the one true God of Israel could pull this off. Elijah then ordered the prophets of Baal to be captured and executed. As an extraordinary result of this, God removed His judgment, and the rain commenced.

TO THE VALLEYS:
Although Elijah had experienced God's provision and had stood before the nation calling down fire from heaven, one woman's threats terrified Elijah. And in the span of four verses, we see Elijah spiraling downward to a state of utter despair: "He prayed that he might die, and said, "It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!"
(1 Kings 19:4).

PRESUMING THE OUTCOME:
Elijah learned that Jezebel wanted him dead within 24 hours, and the terrible gulf between his expectations and reality became too much for him. Elijah fled into the wilderness, alone and depressed. He had set the outcome in "mental concrete," so there was no room in his expectations for God's plan or the choices of other people.

Have you ever looked forward to something and had the outcome all mapped out when suddenly the plans changed? It can be terribly disheartening.

We need to guard against having unrealistic expectations by remembering that God is sovereign, and that we are not. We must never presume upon His perfect will.

FOCUSING ON THE PROBLEM:
On Mount Carmel Elijah was focused on the power and greatness of the Lord God. Elijah's eyes were on God and His provision. But Jezebel's murderous threat consumed his attention and overwhelmed him. In panic Elijah viewed the enemy's power to destroy him as greater than the power of God to deliver him.

INDULGING IN SELF-PITY:
When our selfish focus makes us the center of the universe, it's a natural progression for us to feel sorry for ourselves. Elijah was in the depths of self-absorption and pity when he said, "I am no better than my fathers!"

Elijah's focus had shifted from God to his circumstances, and then from his circumstances to himself. We need to examine ourselves before God and confess our sins, but we always need to have God in view.

PHYSICAL EXHAUSTION:
Exhaustion may cause us to succumb to depression. When we don't get proper rest, our bodies' internal resources become depleted and our immune system can get out of whack, making us vulnerable to depression. On Mount Carmel Elijah had been at a high emotional and spiritual pitch. But afterward he ran ahead ofAhab's chariot all the way to Jezreel. And then, when Elijah learned that Jezebel wanted to kill him, he ran to the wilderness. By the time Elijah got down to Sinai, he must have been weak from exhaustion.

God's prescription for the despondent Elijah was simple: rest. When he awoke, it was to a meal prepared for him by a sovereign, loving God! Slowly but surely, Elijah became rejuvenated.

GETTING A NEW FOCUS:
God's plan was to take Elijah from his attitude of self-pity to a place of being used again by God. While it is healthy to vent our feelings, we need to change our emotional and mental perspectives as well.

Once God had Elijah's attention, God set out to readjust his expectations. He told Elijah to go outside and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord God. In contrast to what he was anticipating, Elijah realized that God was neither in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire. Instead, God readjusted Elijah's expectations by coming to him as "a still small voice."
(1 Kings 19:12). Elijah was learning that God's work was sometimes an inner work of the heart.

TAKE OBEDIENT ACTION:
When Elijah was at the end of his rope, he told God that he wanted to die. God responded by telling him to get up and get moving.
(1 Kings 19:15). God wanted him to make a choice of godly action based on his obedience rather than on his feelings.

Many people believe that the pressures of life lead to depression. However, we have a choice about how we handle those pressures. When depression comes, we need to remain obediently focused on God. He loves us unconditionally. When we focus on Him, we can know that our self-worth is anchored in Christ."

This article quoted from the
Decision Magazine Newsletter, September 2001, pages 18-19

A clean conscience
Makes a soft pillow

For Our Admonition
(sanctification)

By Roger Johnson

"The sins committed by ancient Israel were recorded "for our admonition"
(1 Corinthians 10:6, 11) that we might not make the same mistakes. Many great men have failed God because they were found in the wrong places. In the form of a question, we introduce several of the "wrong places" where some great servants of God failed.

Are you on the slippery path of DISHONESTY as was Abraham when he went down to Egypt
(Genesis 12:10-20)? Since his wife, Sarah, was such a beautiful woman, Abraham feared that the Egyptians might kill him in order to have her. To prevent this, Abraham deceived them by telling them she was his sister. It was only a half-truth for Sarah was Abraham's half-sister
(Genesis 20:12). We have a modern name for what Abraham did- situation ethics, the philosophy which says that one's ethics are determined by the situation in which he finds himself. According to this concept, there is no absolute standard of morality, no objective basis for conduct. Thus, one may lie, cheat, commit immorality, etc., if the situation "called for it." However, God has always abhorred the practice of dishonesty
(Deuteronomy 25:13-16) no matter who was involved. Christians are to "provide things honest in the sight of all men"
Romans 12:17).

Are you giving way to IMPURITY as did David when he walked upon the housetop
(2 Samuel 11:2)? David yielded to his lower base instincts when he saw the beautiful Bathsheba bathing. The immorality led to further sin- murder! It all began when David was at the wrong place at the wrong time. The Christian, whose mind should be on things above
(Colossians 3:2), would do well to avoid people, places, and literature which may tempt you to yield to unholy passions.

Are you sitting under the juniper tree of DISCOURAGEMENT as did Elijah
(1 Kings 19:1-18)? Elijah's great victory at Mount Carmel was followed by despondency when he learned that Jezebel was out to kill him. He sat down under a juniper tree and prayed that God would let him die. Despondency frequently comes after a mountain-top experience, does it not? When it happens we want to crawl under our "juniper tree" and let the rest of the world go by. Remember, God is still on His throne and rules the world
(Psalm 45:6 ).

Are you sailing on the ship of DISOBEDIENCE as did Jonah when he fled to Tarshish
(Jonah 1:1-17)? Jonah's prejudice prompted him to disobey God when he was told to preach in Ninevah. Is it possible that you are "on the way to Tarshish" when you should be "on the way to Ninevah?" Did you obey the Lord in becoming a Christian, but you have now boarded the ship of disobedince, and are fleeing away from your Redeemer?

Saints in the wrong places! Maybe we can learn something from them, and avoid their mistakes."

This article quoted from the
The Gospel Tract Harvester Newsletter, October 2000, Page 15

Sinful pleasures
Always
Hide the price tag

What I Learned On Summer Vacation
by Preston Gillham

"During the summer before my junior year in high school, I lived in San Clemente, California, and helped with the youth program at a church. My parents' goal was for me to be exposed to a healthy spiritual environment, to live with people (other than family) who loved Jesus Christ, and to grow in my faith through the process.

The youth director's family, with whom I stayed, and the youth group welcomed me with open arms. I was regularly asked to read the Scripture aloud at the beginning of a Bible study, partly to acquaint everyone with the passage, but mostly so that they could listen to my Oklahoma drawl. With white-blond, shoulder-length hair, a suntan and faded swimming trunks, I settled into a summer routine appearing to be very much Californian, until I opened my mouth.

I slept on the hide-a-bed in the youth director's living room. Late at night, after the family had gone to bed, the house would grow quiet and solitude would move into the room with me. It was as though this friend waited at the screen door to enter on the sea breeze as soon as the opportunity afforded itself.

Lying on my stomach, propped up on my elbows, I read the Scriptures and asked God to teach me. For the first time in my life I was away from home for an extended time. My parents weren't around to interpret the Bible for me or to introduce God's thoughts from His Word. Now it was up to me to learn as the Holy Spirit did His work.

One night, settling down in front of the screen door, I read from Romans chapter 6: "Shall we keep on sinning so that God can keep on showing us more and more kindness and forgiveness? Of course not! Should we keep on sinning when we don't have to? For sin's power over us was broken when we became Christians. ...Your old evil desires were nailed to the cross with him; that part of you that loves to sin was crushed and fatally wounded, so that your sin-loving body is no longer under sin's control, no longer needs to be a slave to sin; for when you are deadened to sin you are freed from all its allure and its power over you.- ...So look upon your old sin nature as dead and unresponsive to sin, and instead be alive to God, alert to him, through Jesus Christ our Lord."

It was as though the Spirit Himself sat beside me and instructed me in the meaning of this passage. In my heart I realized that because I was a Christian, I no longer had to sin. Not only was I free to say "no" to Satan's temptations, I was responsible to say "no." Not only did I want to say "no" to temptation, I could say "no." The power that held me in bondage to sin was a toothless tiger.

After work the next day I made my way to the beach astride my gnarly, overhauled, trash-bag green, three-speed bicycle. The beach was accessed through a residential area via a drainage ditch that ran under the railroad tracks. Past the tracks was a narrow, sandy trail lined by waist-high weeds that ended at the beach, about 50 yards from the breakers.

I parked my bike and began to walk the trail, all the while studying a fellow sitting in a beach chair smack dab in the middle of the trail. As I approached, I could see that he was reading a "girlie" magazine. Right on cue, the enemy attacked, tempting me. "I ought to be able to get a good look at the pictures on my way by," I thought.

But just as quickly the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and offered an alternative. "I don't have to look," I thought. "God said so in Romans chapter 6. I'm dead to sin." I recognized the voice of the Holy Spirit and the truth of God's Word from the night before. I knew that I was free and that I had a responsibility and the desire to say "no."

I turned off the path and walked deep into the weeds, avoiding the snare that Satan had set for me in the middle of the trail. In so doing I realized that I was following my heart's true desire.

In San Clemente, on my summer vacation, I learned how to body surf, how to fix a three-speed bike, how to get to Costa Mesa and how to run a youth program— and I learned to look for snares set in the middle of the trail. And I learned that I can say "no," that I don't have to give in to Satan's temptations to sin. I want to please my heavenly Father. The old guy I was in Adam is dead in Christ, and I am a new man, with a new heart."

This article quoted from the
Decision Magazine Newsletter, September 2001, page 44-45

Count your blessings
Not your bruises

More Than Conquerors
By David Buttram

"...in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us"
(Romans 8:37).

By dying on the Cross at Calvary, Jesus Christ not only bore your sins, but He carried you to the Cross where you are crucified with Him. God doesn't patch up your old life, but calls upon you to consider it crucified with Christ. You then take from Him a new life.

What is more, Jesus, through His death on the Cross, utterly conquered Satan
(Colossians 2:15). The Christian shouldn't have even a trace of fear of Satan. He is an absolutely conquered foe to the soul who knows:

The Victory of the Cross

The finished work of the Cross ends the fear of death for the Christian
(Hebrews 2:14, 15), and fear of the prince of death.

On the Cross, Christ took away our sins, and they are blotted out through His Blood. The wicked spirits of Satan can't bring them up to us now and remind us of them. God Himself has blotted them out, saying, "...their sins and iniquities will I remember no more"
(Hebrews 8:12).

For those who have accepted their new life with their sins blotted out, there are three areas of the victorious life in the Cross that need to be understood.

Victory over Sin

The sinner saved through the death of Christ can say, in the Name of the Conquering Jesus, "No sinful habit has a right to me. I absolutely refuse, in the Name of the One Who died for me, to be in bondage to it." As a redeemed soul you have a right to say this, because on the Cross the work has been done for you, and you are to lay hold of all that Christ has obtained for you and make it your own
(Romans 6:1-14). He obtained the forgiveness of sins for you; He obtained the victory for you over sin and death.

Let us get hold of the truth that Satan is a conquered foe. When you stand on Romans chapter 6, reckoning the old life crucified, your spirit becomes joined to Christ. He is the Conqueror, and you are part of Him. "...greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world"
(I John 4:4). But if the old life is not kept constantly crucified at every moment, it is where Satan puts his "fiery darts." These darts have fire from the pit at their tip
(James 3:6), and when they get into you they burn and blaze
.

Do you sometimes "fire up" and say things that you shouldn't say? Do you blurt out unkind things? This is not the fight that wins, but the fight that fails every time. We are in a battle with the lion of hell, and when the fiery darts come at us, we need the Spirit of the Lamb in us, no matter how people may mistreat us. There must not be any blaze in us, which some may call "righteous indignation." This is the importance of Romans chapter 6.

Victory in Suffering

This aspect of the victorious life is to be found in Romans 8:35-39. The Apostle says, "...we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter...in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." "More than conquerors" when we are mistreated, and when for Christ's sake we are counted, like Christ, a lamb only fit for slaughter.

If you do well and suffer for it and take it patiently, this is grace and acceptable with God
(1 Peter 2:20). This is the triumph of the Spirit of the Lamb, in suffering "for Jesus' sake," and this is victory over the world. Enduring grief, suffering wrongfully with patience and a loving spirit is the true spirit of one who is joined to Christ. Be a "lamb" towards people, be patient with them, love them, be "more than conqueror" by showing the Spirit of the Lamb to them.

Victory over Satan

In having victory over Satan you conquer in quite another way- you must take an attitude of resistance against the devil, according to
1 Peter 5:8,9 and James 4:7.

Ephesians chapter 6 depicts the victorious life in resistance to the enemy. When the Lord Jesus was the "Lamb" towards men, He was a "Lion" to the devil. We are told that He shook off from Himself the principalities and powers and put them to open shame, and what was defeat in the eyes of men was victory in the eyes of God. Towards Satan and all his wicked hosts Christ was a LION- the Lion of Judah.

In Ephesians 6:10-18 we read of the spiritual warfare against the powers of darkness. On the human side, Christ was crucified through weakness, but He was strong- stronger than the "strong man." "...when a stronger than he shall come upon him"
(Luke 11:22). So Christ's name is the "Stronger than he." To the believer standing in Christ and facing Satan, the message is "Be strong." You may be weak in yourself, but you must be "strong in the Lord."

One of the devices of the devil is to get the children of God to accept weakness, because of the "weakness" of the Cross
(2 Corinthians 13:3-4), but that is the human side towards men. In the spiritual realm the rousing words are "BE STRONG!" The Bible doesn't say, "Try to be strong." It says, "Be strong." "Let the weak say, I AM STRONG!"
(Joel 3:10). Why do you have to say it? Because words create in the spiritual realm. Christ said, "He shall have whatever he saith." In the spiritual realm there are no empty words; what you say is what comes about. You need to be careful of your words; if you walk in the spiritual realm you will need to watch that you do not contradict your faith by your words.

If you say "God tells me to be strong; therefore I am strong through His strength," then strength comes in. The devil knows the laws of the spiritual world and he whispers, "Oh, you aren't strong enough to stop doing those things you used to do!" Instead of saying, "I am strong through Christ," you say, "I'm not strong enough!" and you find yourself really going down! This is the law in the spiritual world, yet few of us understand the power of words in that realm. "Let the weak SAY, I am strong!"

BE STRONG! Not in yourself. No, be strong IN THE LORD. Keep your faith set on the fact: I am in Christ and Christ is in me. I am personally weak, but Christ is strong. I am powerless, but Christ is mighty. I am strong in Christ; I have His strength. I am more than a conqueror!

Let us therefore go forward with God in steady hourly victory until the Lord comes and we are gathered unto Him."

This article quoted from the
The Gospel Tract Harvester Newsletter, February 2003, Page 6
(This article is available in tract form from Gospel Tract Society)

My Hope For You:

It is my desire that God, who gives hope, fill you with joy and peace as you believe in Him. Let His power through the Holy Spirit overflow in you. He sends His Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. He cares for us daily. He works out all things for our benefit. And He is preparing for us an eternal home of perfect joy. Praise God! To Him be glory evermore.
-Kraig J. Rice


If you have not already invited Jesus Christ to come to live inside of your heart then click on the above banner if you want to learn how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and receive spiritual encouragement in your heart and soul.

In some small way I hope that God has been able to encourage you through these articles.
shared with you by Kraig Josiah Rice
www.breadonthewaters.com

  • Index of Newsletter Clippings

  • Encouragement when you are hurting

  • The 7 I Wills that God has promised you

  • How to overcome discouragement

  • Keep looking to God for deliverance

  • A Bible Study About Miracles
    Do you need a miracle to happen in your life? God still works miracles. Maybe He has one for you...

  • Testimonies
    Here are various testimonies that will help you with your faith.

  • You are the apple of God's eye

  • A Sample of Gospel Tract Society tracts
    A miscellaneous evangelism note:
    Grown men in Asia read comics. This is one way to reach them with the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel Tract Society has a great new comic book printed for evangelism purposes. Be sure to order a nice supply for the evangelistic outreach in your area. See the Gospel Tract Society website for details and be sure to include a generous contribution to them when you order their material. Bread On The Waters (BOW) does not print leaflet tracts.


    Newsletter Clippings (page 3)

    Newsletter Clippings (page 1)








    Home



    As of February 22, 2007