Time Well Spent

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:4-7 NIV

TIME | MONEY | LIFE

There is an old saying “time is money.” That really isn’t true. The real truth is “time is life.” Life comes down to the time we have on this earth and how we spend it.

The older I get, the more I realize the most precious time in life is when I spend it with the people I love the most. Even after 40 years of marriage, I love spending time with my precious Teresa. One-on-one. Just the two of us. I have never gotten over the fact that … a) she married me, and b) she still loves to spend time with me.

Yet even more amazing to me is that God desires to spend time with me!

In fact, He wants to spend time with you and me so badly that He paid in order to get it. He sent Jesus to remove every barrier, tear down every wall and unlock every door so we could have a personal relationship with Him. In fact, He gave us His Word so we could hear from Him constantly and consistently.

That’s why I love to read my Bible. I know God wants me to have unrestricted access to Him, anywhere and anytime I want. God has a personal side and He wants me to know it. God wants you to get to know Him better so you can love Him fully, hear Him clearly and experience His guidance. This comes by spending time with Him in His Word.

A king by the name of David wrote a song about the benefits of spending time with God, showing us why this should be a top priority of our life.

Spending Time with God Causes Me to Reflect God’s Character

Just as I enjoy spending precious time with my wife, God is delighted when we are delighted in Him! He loves to be our eyes and ears so He can speak into our heart.

Have you noticed the more time you spend with someone, the more you become like them? As we spend time with God and His Word, He changes us so we become more like Him. God changes us so He can use us to change other people. You simply cannot spend time with God, hear His Word, know Him better, love Him more and be the same person.

Spending Time with God Causes Me to Receive God’s Blessings

God promises that when we delight in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart. Now this is not a “your wish is my command!” promise. As we spend time with God, we will delight in Him. His desires become our desires because our hearts are tuned to His. He will grant us what we desire, because we both want the same thing!

Spending Time with God Causes Me to Rest in God’s Will

As we spend time with God and His Word, our faith and trust in Him will grow. Fear is replaced by faith, and worry is replaced by worship. Spending quality time with God and consistently studying His Word grows our confidence in His power and our commitment to His plans for our lives.

:

SO TODAY … SET ASIDE TIME TO SPEND WITH THE ONE WHO IS ABOVE ALL TIME.

It will be time well spent.

Heavenly Father, thank You for wanting to spend time with me and inviting me to spend time with You. Help me prioritize this time with You, knowing it is the path to divine power and meaningful productivity in the time You have given me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Published Originally: 2017, January, 5. | By Dr. James Merritt | Devotional Source: crosswalkmail.com
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How do these signs suggest that Christ’s return is at hand?

Waiting For a Sign This is it feature

What about earthquakes, global crime, and the many strange activities presently occurring in space? How do these signs suggest that Christ’s return is at hand?

Earthquakes

When they read Matthew 24:7, Mark 13:8, or Luke 21:11, some men foolishly observe, “We’ve always had earthquakes. How can this be a sign?” The Lord made this prediction around A.D. 30. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, from 1890 to 1930 there were only 8 quakes measuring 6.0 or larger. From 1930 to 1960, there were only 18. From 1960 to 1979, however; there were 64 “killer” quakes. And from 1980 to the present, there have been more than 200. Think of it! More than 200 major quakes in less than three decades-an earth-rattling reminder that the Rapture is near.

Crimes against Humanity

Christ went on to say in His pronouncement of signs, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). What a portrait of modern-day America and the world! The U.S. Justice Department reports that about 30 percent or more of the nation’s households are victimized by serious crime every year. The U.S. attorney general says that on average one of every sixteen American families is brutalized by violent crimes such as murder, rape, and aggravated assault. The FBI index also paints a grim picture, giving us the unsettling information that a murder occurs every twenty-four minutes, a forcible rape each seven minutes, a robbery every sixty-eight seconds, and an aggravated assault each fifty-one seconds. The total figures show that a violent crime is committed every twenty-seven seconds, a property crime every three seconds. Judge for yourself: Are things getting better or worse? The answer is obvious.

Signs in Space

Matthew 24:27-31 tells us: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

I quote from these scriptures in Matthew because many believers are confused by this scenario. It is important to note that the reference here is to the Revelation-the revealing of Christ to the entire world as He returns to earth as King of kings-not the Rapture. The elect mentioned in this text are the elect Israelites of Romans 11:28. He gathers them together “from the four winds.” Gentile believers are not listed with the twelve tribes who mourn as Christ returns. Again, these are Jewish signs pointing to Christ’s coming as King of kings and LORD of lords. The people of the Tribulation Hour will know when the momentous event is near because Matthew 24:29 pinpoints the time: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” The space signs are for the close of the Tribulation Hour. There is no way that they could point to the pretribulation Rapture, for we Christians will be gone when the dreadful bombardment of earth, probably with meteorites from space, occurs.

Luke adds to this account, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26). These signs point to the close of the Tribulation Hour because they signal the return of the King to earth. Verse 27 adds, “Then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” This describes the coming of Christ to set up His glorious millennial reign (Revelation 20:4).

Space signs, which are to take place at the conclusion of the Tribulation Hour or almost seven years after the believers’ departure via the Rapture, are already showing partial fulfillment. Such feats as humans walking, driving, and planting a flag on the moon make us realize these signs are only for twentieth-century citizens-for you and me. If a person had made such a prediction at the turn of the century, he would have become a candidate for a mental hospital. Space activity has become so commonplace today that no one even talks about the first step Neil Armstrong took on the moon in 1969.

“We have always had signs,”

“Nothing has changed. It’s the same as it was in Grandma’s day.”

some skeptics say.

get your head out of the sand and fix your eyes on the heavens.

My response to that ostrich stance is simply to

The Space Age is with us, and Christ’s prophecies are occurring with such rapidity that only a hardened heart could doubt it. Each new venture will incorporate additional methods of placing the potentials of space on earth. Christ’s astounding prophetic statements about space are beginning to fill the skies. Some scientists and space writers are raising the possibility that the next large-scale war could be fought entirely in space. This possibility means that Satan and his demonic hosts could use the world’s inventions for the war of wars described in Revelation 12:7-9: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

The Signs and Space Phenomena

I believe the rash of reports about UFOs are connected with the spirit world. The question “Is there life on other planets?” is unimportant. There is life in the heavens, for they are full of live, demonic spirits. This could easily explain the thousands of saucer sightings in recent years. Ezekiel 1 and 2 Kings 2:11 talk about angels and chariots of fire. Whoever controls them is incidental. What is important is that these strange signs in space are prophesied for the latter days. Those days are now upon us and should make us realize the coming of the Savior is near.

Do Old Testament signs primarily speak of Christ’s return to earth? 
What about the signs in the Epistles?

I am asked this question repeatedly. While the Old Testament and four Gospels are filled with scores of references to Christ’s return or the Revelation, the Epistles also contain a rich storehouse of scripture that speaks about Christ’s return to earth. Look at the description in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Let’s look at several of the signs-as recorded in the Epistles-concerning the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to earth.

Selfishness

“Men shall be lovers of their own selves.” What a picture of the hour in which we live. You do not need to watch CNN for more than a few minutes to understand that people are living a life dedicated to self. Moreover, it is not only unbelievers who live such lives. When church members are so busy satisfying their flesh with the world’s goodies and pleasures that they have no time to pray or witness to lost souls-that is the height of selfishness. You will remember the Bible passage about the scribe who came to Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40 and said, “Master, which is the great commandment… ? Jesus said unto him. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

How different are we today, really? We, too, are lovers of our own selves. A person might expect this attitude in the ungodly world of pagans, but how sad when it occurs among those who are supposedly of the family of God. As selfishness accelerates and becomes the central theme at the beginning of a new century, you can be sure it is a sign that the end of the age is near.

The Love of Money

In the first century, Peter could say, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee; In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). Churches today have incredible wealth. We build huge buildings and enjoy elaborate campuses. Much of this is good. However it is also a problem for many ministries, because the tail is wagging the dog. Furthermore, money does not have the power to perform miracles. As we approach the return of Christ, we need to recognize that we are living in the Laodicean age. Revelation 3:15-16 declares, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” God is saying, “You lukewarm parishioners make Me sick!” Why? “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (v. 17).

In our churches, many regard themselves as “upper crust.” They have money, power, and influence. Many of these Christian elite personalities feel they are too important to help others or to carry out acts of kindness in the Savior’s name-no time for anything except to earn a few more dollars. God declares, “The love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).

Pride

God says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10). Satan fell because of pride. Moreover millions more have followed in his wake. Imagine the gall Satan must have had to say, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14).

Satan has infiltrated the hearts of millions of Christians. A man with tears in his eyes once came to me and said, “I was trying to win a young lady to Christ. She was poor and needy. Her parents are alcoholics. She was so destitute that all she had to wear was an old tattered dress. I took her to our church-a Bible-believing fellowship. When she and I walked down the aisle to our seats, I overheard a few snooty people behind me say, “Why do they bring that kind of trash to our church!'” That kind of story breaks my heart, and I hope it breaks yours. However, if you feel your pedigree is better or more important than others, then I pray that God will speak to you and show you that you are one of the signs that Jesus Christ is coming again. Our Savior said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

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Christmas: The Purpose of the Incarnation

Jack van Impe feature

The goal of this posting is to thoroughly cover the reason that the eternal God had a birth date into our world.

An eternal plan

Why did God come through the channel of a virgin’s womb?

Why was it necessary for God, in spirit form, to take upon himself a body?

Philippians 2 explicitly explains this great theological truth.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Philippians 2:5-8

The phrase, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross is the focal point of this discussion. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit held a meeting in eternity past and planned the entire program of redemption. All three were, at that time, in spirit form. God the Father was and still is a spirit (see John 4:24). The Holy Spirit was and still is a spirit (see John 16:13). Christ was a spirit because He was (past tense) in the form of God, which we have already proven to be a spirit form (see Philippians 2:6).

However, at this meeting of the Trinity in ages past, it was agreed that one of the three would eventually become a human with a covering of flesh, and Christ was the elected member to fulfill salvation’s plan.

This can all be proven from the Holy Scriptures. 

Who [Christ] verily…was manifest in these last times for you.

1 Peter 1:20

Messiah means “sent one.

If He is the sent One, He did not originate at Bethlehem’s manger.

Instead, Galatians 4 pictures the facts as they occurred.

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.

Galatians 4:4,5

Does this simplistic doctrinal truth penetrate your reasoning processes? Hear it again. God sent forth his Son, made of a woman. There it is-Christ’s deity and humanity. His eternity and birth. God sent the Son who was in His presence, meaning that Christ existed as God before coming to earth. However, He was made of a woman when He was sent. This is, of course, the virgin birth which took place in the manger centuries ago when God became man.

When the Trinity outlined the plan, all the events of future history were foreknown. Remember, God knows everything. The plan progressed according to the omniscience of the Godhead. Since God knows everything about everything and all things about all things, the following points were known thousands, yes, millions of years before they occurred:

1. Man’s disobedience and fall.

 God placed man in the garden of Eden with certain restrictions.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surety die.

Genesis 2:17

The slithering serpent came along and said in Genesis 3

Ye shall not surely die.

Genesis 3:4

Instead of listening to Jehovah God, Adam and Eve listened to the devil. Say, all of us are so much like them. We certainly are chips off the old block.

Genesis 3 states, 

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3:6

This wicked, disobedient act against the Lord God Almighty brought judgment upon the entire human race.

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [Christ] shall many be made righteous

Romans 5:19

Not only did God foreknow the fall of man, but:

2. The Trinity foreordained the temporary sacrifice.

Hypothetical-instance-icon

I imagine the conversation in the heavenlies went as follows:Because man will yield to temptation and fall, there will need to be a sacrifice offered. 

Since sinful flesh is responsible and since the life of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11), the decree is established in the counsels of eternity that the shedding of blood, which typifies DEATH to the flesh, will be the eternal sacrifice offered. It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11). Animal blood will be temporarily offered until one of us goes to present the permanent sacrifice.

Let’s investigate the facts and see if God’s program was instituted. After Adam and Eve sinned they knew that they were naked (see Genesis 3:7).

The pangs of a guilt-ridden conscience over sin were being experienced. They wanted to cover their bodies and did so by making fig leaf aprons. However, fig leaves that would shrivel up and die in a few days could not satisfactorily handle the situation. Also, dry fig leaves were bloodless and could not make an atonement for the soul.

So God, in the cool of the day, visited this couple and covered them adequately-physically and spiritually. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them (Genesis 3:21). The skins of animals adequately covered them physically and spiritually. Why? In providing the skins, the blood of the animals was shed.

We see the same story unfolded in Genesis 4 concerning Cain and Abel. Their parents, Adam and Eve, had taught them this soul-saving story about the animal skins. Now when the boys were of age and wanted to bring a sacrifice to God, Cain presented an offering of fruit and Abel, of animals.

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.

Genesis 4:3-5

If you should think that I am stretching the point by stating dogmatically that Cain’s offering was rejected because it was devoid of blood, I invite you to confirm this truth in your heart by studying Hebrews 11:4 which emphatically presents the teaching just considered. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent [more acceptable] sacrifice than Cain.

Notice they brought their offerings as a sacrifice.

God had decreed that blood alone could make an atonement for the soul. Abel, by faith, brought an animal. Notice why he did it. It was by faith. Romans 10:17 says, So then faith cometh by hearing. If he brought it by faith and faith comes by hearing, it is only a logical conclusion to say that he heard the story from the lips of his parents, accepted it, and practiced the shedding of blood because he believed God.

Cain, the first liberal or modernist, said, It’s all bunk. I will offer my fruit which contains no blood, and God will have to be satisfied.

But God said, Cain, I reject your bloodless sacrifice.

Many have rejected the only method of salvation God has given the world-the shedding or sacrifice of blood for the remission of sins. Self-righteous efforts, good works, prayers, creeds, and religious observances are but offerings of fruit.

The Sermon on the Mount, the Golden Rule, and the observance of the Ten Commandments are but the waving of fig leaves in the face of Almighty God. Many of these things are good to practice because one is a Christian, but any method of trying to enter into eternal life that avoids or bypasses the blood will only result in eternal separation from the God who made the decree.

It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

Leviticus 17:11

Now, let’s go one step farther.

3. The Trinity foreordained the permanent eternal sacrifice.

Hypothetical-instance-icon

Again we hear the three members of the Godhead speaking in eternity past: Animal blood will be only a temporary solution because it cannot take away sin, only cover it. 

Man’s blood is tainted through Adam’s sin. Therefore only one option or course of action is possible. One of the three of us will have to go to earth and take flesh as a covering. This will be necessary because flesh contains the blood of the body. The One who is chosen to go will have to shed that blood to take away the sins of the human race which animal blood only covered.

The One who goes and takes upon himself that body must have a special birth, because all humans born through natural generation or through the regular channels of birth inherit the old wicked sinful nature of Adam. Therefore, the One chosen will have to have a special birth in the womb of a virgin. The very body will be created and placed in that womb. By this special act of creation-detouring the normal means of reproduction through intercourse-the Saviour will be born into the world. When His blood, holy and pure, is shed, it will take away sin.

The eternal truth

Does this conversation of the Trinity in ages past seem farfetched to you? Are you wondering if this entire plan presented is really in the Bible?

Listen to Revelation 13

[Christ was] the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 

When? In God’s mind it was planned at the time of the foundation of the world.

Revelation 13:8

That’s right, even before Adam and Eve were created. Christ’s shedding of His blood did not take Him by surprise nearly 2,000 years ago. Rather, it was part of the plan He had helped initiate before the world was formed.

That’s why Acts 2:23 states, Him [Christ] being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. In other words, the wicked only did to Christ what the foreknowledge of God had planned.

Did it happen?

Yes. God came into the world in human flesh to take a body that contained blood. It was special blood that did not have the taint of Adam’s sin integrated into it by Christ’s having a human father. Instead, the Father and the Holy Spirit placed this created miracle into the womb of the virgin without an act of intercourse or human insemination so that pure blood might course through the Redeemer’s veins. Then He shed that blood at Calvary to take away sin that had only been covered by animal sacrifices.

The proof of these truths is in the following scripture.

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Notice, animal blood could not take away sins.

Hebrews 10:4

The Old Testament word atonement means “to cover“-only “to cover.” The priest offering the animal blood would say, “I know that this blood only covers the sinner’s sin until your sacrificial Lamb comes, dear God.

Who was God’s Lamb?

Wherefore [because animal blood could not take away sin] when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.

Hebrews 10:5

That body was prepared in the womb by God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Luke 1:35

When John the Baptist saw Christ upon the earth, he said in John 1:29, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Praise God, this was the Lamb sent from heaven who could take away that which was only temporarily covered through the blood of animals.

On the cross, Christ cried out, “It is finished.” He was not speaking about His life, but about the plan that had been foreordained before the foundation of the world.

Am I certain of this? Yes.

(We have been) redeemed…with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world

1 Peter 1:18-20

Imagine, this precious blood shed for your sins was planned for you before the world was formed.

Seven hundred times the blood is mentioned as the only-THE ONLY-way of salvation.

Believe it and receive the Christ who shed that pure blood for your transgressions.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

first published by 4cminew 2013/12/23 | updated December 28, 2015
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Usury

Usury USURY WAS STRONGLY CONDEMNED 

Usury = Interest charged or paid on a loan.

Prov. 28:8 (ESV)

v.8 Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit 

gathers it for him who is generous to the poor.

Footnotes: Proverbs 28:8 That is, profit that comes from charging interest to the poor

Ezek 18:8, 13, 17 (ESV)

v.8 does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man,

v.13 lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.

v.17 withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live.

Footnotes:

  • Ezekiel 18:8 That is, profit that comes from charging interest to the poor; also verses 13, 17 (compare Leviticus 25:36)
  • Ezekiel 18:17 Septuagint; Hebrew from the poor

Ezek 22:12  (ESV)

v.12 In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and profit and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; but me you have forgotten, declares the Lord God.

Footnotes:

Ezekiel 22:12 That is, profit that comes from charging interest to the poor (compare Leviticus 25:36)

 

Ps. 15:5 who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

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Take It to the Lord

Word for Every Day feature

…so the power of God could be seen in him.‘ John 9:3 NLT

When Jesus encountered a blind man, His disciples immediately began to discuss the man’s condition. They asked, ‘Was this man’s blindness the result of his own sins, or the sins of his parents?’ Jesus answered, ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.’

Notice four things:

(1) The disciples were eager to attribute the man’s problem to sin. Satan will try to convince you that, because of your sin, you’re disqualified from God’s grace. You’re not! God doesn’t examine your past to decide your future.

(2) When Jesus healed him, the neighbours wanted to debate, not celebrate. They started asking, ‘”…Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said he was…others said, “No…”‘ (John 9:8-9 NLT).

(3) His healing failed the ‘religiosity test’ because the Pharisees said, “…This man Jesus is not from God for He is working on the Sabbath…“‘ (John 9:16 NLT).

(4) Even the man’s parents weren’t free to praise God, because ‘…anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue‘ (John 9:22 NLT).

To the neighbours he was a misfit, to church leaders a topic of debate, to his parents a social stigma, so they ‘...threw him out‘ (John 9:34 NIV). End of story? Thank God – no! ‘ Jesus…found him… and said,…I have come into this world, so that the blind will see…“‘ (John 9:35,39 NIV).

So instead of rehashing your problem and listening to other people’s opinions, take it to the Lord in prayer. When you share it with others, the best you’ll get is sympathy, but when you share it with Jesus you’ll get a solution.

Soul Food: 1 Chr 16-18, Mark 5:21-30, Ps 119:49-56, Pro 21:4-6

Written by Bob & Debby Gass

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

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Ask God

Word for Every Day feature

…in Him we live, and move, and have our being.‘ Acts 17:28 NKJV

George Washington Carver, an agricultural chemist who discovered 300 uses for peanuts, shared these observations about God:As a very small boy exploring the almost virgin woods of the old Carver place, I had the impression someone had just been there ahead of me. Things were so orderly, so clean, so harmoniously beautiful. A few years later in these same woods…I was practically overwhelmed with the sense of some great presence. Not only had someone been there, someone was there…Years later when I read in the Scriptures, “…in Him we live, and move, and have our being,” I knew what the writer meant.

Never since have I been without this consciousness of the Creator speaking to me…the outdoors has been to me more and more a great cathedral in which God could be continuously spoken to and heard from…Man, who needed a purpose, a mission to keep him alive, had one.

He could be…God’s co-worker…My purpose alone must be God’s purpose – to increase the welfare and happiness of His people…Why, then, should we, who believe in Christ, be so surprised at what God can do with a willing man in a laboratory?’

In 1921 Carver spoke before the United States House of Representatives.

 The chairman asked, ‘Dr. Carver, how did you learn all these things?’ He answered, ‘From an old book.’

 The chairman asked, ‘What book?’ Carver replied, ‘The Bible.’

 The chairman enquired, ‘Does the Bible talk about peanuts?’ Carver replied, ‘No sir, but it tells about the God who made the peanut.

 I asked Him to show me what to do with the peanut, and He did.’

Do you need a creative idea or solution today? Ask God!

Soul Food: 1 Chr 6:1 – 7:19, Mark 4:13-25, Ps 119:17-24, Pro 20:22-24

Written by Bob & Debby Gass

Friday, 7 August 2015

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It All Belongs to God (2)

Word for Every Day feature

When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot Me.‘ Hosea 13:6 NIV

Paul writes: ‘Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, Who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share‘ (1 Timothy 6:17-18 NKJV).

Are you ‘rich in this present age’? Almost half the world – more than three billion people – lives on less than $4 a day.

So if your income is more than that, you’re rich by comparison. But prosperity comes with a warning: don’t be arrogant. ‘Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall‘ (Proverbs 16:18 NIV).

The Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle wrote, ‘Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man. But for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity.

God wants you to enjoy things without becoming obsessed with them. Accumulating possessions has a way of eclipsing God, no matter how meagre they may be. There’s a predictable progression from poverty to pride. The poor man prays and works; God hears and blesses. The humble man becomes rich and forgets God. The faithful poor man becomes the proud rich man. As God said through Hosea, ‘When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot Me.’

How can you avoid this trap?

Remember that everything you own comes from God, and He’s the source of everything you’ll need in the future.

So live with a grateful heart, and in total dependence on Him.

Soul Food: 1 Chr 1-2, Mark 3:7-19, Ps 78:65-72, Pro 20:11-14

Written by Bob & Debby Gass

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

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It All Belongs to God (1)

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These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season.‘ Psalm 104:27 NKJV

We fear losing our job, our health insurance and our retirement benefits, so we amass possessions, thinking the more we have the safer we are.

The same insecurity motivated the builders of the Tower of Babel: ‘…let us build…a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth‘ (Genesis 11:4 NKJV). Can’t you hear the fear in those words? Just like us stockpiling pensions, possessions and property, they accumulated and stacked until their tower of belongings grew so tall it reached ‘heaven’. Then they said, ‘We are safe!’ But God said, ‘No, you aren’t!’ The Bible says, ‘Command those who are rich…not to…trust in uncertain riches but in the living God…‘ (1 Timothy 6:17 NKJV).

Riches don’t bring security.

The more you have, the more you have to lose! It’s ironic; the more you accumulate the more protective you become, and the greater your concern that it could all be swept away by events you can’t control. That’s not how God intended you to live. He wants you to save and He wants you to sow. And when you’ve done all that wisdom demands, to trust in nothing but Him. The Psalmist said, ‘...Living things…small and great…all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season‘ (Psalm 104:25-27 NKJV). And He does. God’s the great giver, absolutely generous and utterly dependable.

The resounding message of Scripture is clear: God owns it all. God shares it all. So place your trust in Him – not in belongings.

Soul Food: 1 John 3:11 – 5:21, Mark 2:23 – 3:6, Ps 78:56-64, Pro 20:7-10

Written by Bob & Debby Gass

Monday, 3 August 2015

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Are You Afraid of Losing Someone?

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You will be missed, because your seat will be empty.‘ 1 Samuel 20:18 NIV

Who’s the one person whose death you dread most? Is it causing you anxiety?

If so, begin to put these things into practice:

(1) Ask God for the grace to accept death as an inevitable part of life. Both you and your loved one will eventually die and no one but God knows who’s going to do so first. Therefore, worrying about something outside your control only robs you of your peace and joy.

(2) Maximise each moment. If you knew the exact date of your loved one’s departure, what would you wish you’d done? Or not done? Would you take that trip you’ve always talked about? Would you be less critical and more complimentary? Would you spend more time with them, and tell them more often that you love them?

(3) Don’t give another moment of your time to silly arguments and little irritations.

(4) Make every effort to be sure your loved one is in right standing with God. Then you can be assured they’re at peace, and that you’ll spend eternity together.

(5) Remember, your loved one is God’s loved one, too. And He loves them even more than you do. When the time comes, God will be right there with you. ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me…’ (Psalm 23:4 NKJV).

(6) Try to picture your loved one in Heaven. Jesus said, ‘…I go to prepare a place for you…that where I am, there you may be also’ (John 14:2-3 NKJV). The parting will only be momentary, but the reunion will be forever.

Soul Food: 1 Tim 1-3; Matt 28:1-10; Ps 42:1-5; Pro 19:12-14

Written by Bob & Debby Gass

Friday, 24 July 2015

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On the Home Front

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I will raise up a faithful priest who will serve Me…‘ 1 Samuel 2:35 NLT

Being the high priest in Israel was a prestigious job, and Eli seemed suited to it. Yet he failed badly on the home front. ‘…His sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice‘ (1 Samuel 8:3 NIV). As a result, God told Eli He ‘…would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed against God, and he failed to restrain them‘ (1 Samuel 3:13 NIV).

As a parent and leader you need to answer this question:

If God applied the same standard to you as He did to Eli, how well would you do? Eli ended up losing his credibility, his children, his career and eventually his life.

He missed the mark because he made some critical errors. Let’s look at them and see what we can learn:

(1) He had the wrong emphasis.
He emphasised the Word of God to the people in his congregation, but not to his own children.

(2) He had the wrong expectations.
He thought his children would ‘get it’ because they lived under his roof and worked in the church. But it doesn’t work that way.

(3) He set the wrong example.
Eli failed to live at home what he taught at work. He had 20/20 vision when it came to his profession, but where his family was concerned he was blind to his own weakness. Leadership on the home front isn’t about power and control; it’s about ‘giving yourself’ to the people who should matter most (Ephesians 5:25).

So, how are you doing on the home front?

Soul Food: 2 Cor 11:16 – 13:14; Matt 22:1-14; Ps 17; Pro 16:12-15

Written by Bob & Debby Gass

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

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