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Our Invisible Skyscraper

"This fellow began to build — and was not able to finish!" (Luke 14:30) We are all builders. We may not erect any house or temple on a city street for human eyes to see — but every one of us builds a building which God sees! Life is a building. It rises slowly, day by day, through the years. Every new lesson we learn, lays another block on the building which is rising silently within us.

Every experience, every touch of another life on ours, every influence that impresses us, every book we read, and every conversation we have, Every act in our commonest days — adds something to our invisible building. All of life furnishes the materials which add to our lifewall. Many people build noble character structures in this world. But there are also many who build only

From the Editor base, shabby huts, without beauty — which will be swept away in the testing fires of judgment! There are many, too, whose lifework presents the sorry spectacle of an unfinished building. There was a beautiful plan to begin with and the work was promising for a little time — but after a while it was abandoned and left standing, with walls halfway up — a useless fragment, open and exposed, an incomplete shameful ruin — telling no story of past splendor — as do the ruins of some old castle or coliseum — a monument only of folly and failure! Sin in some form draws many a builder away from his work — to leave it unfinished. It may be the world's fascinations, which lure him from Christ's side. It may be evil companions, which tempt him from loyal friendship to the Savior. It may be riches, which enter his heart and blind his eyes to the attractions of heaven. It may be some secret debasing lust, which gains power over him and paralyzes

his spiritual life. Many are those now among the world's throngs — who once sat at the Lord's Table and were among God's people! Their lives are unfinished buildings, towers begun with great enthusiasm — and then left to tell their sad story of failure to all who pass by. They began to build — and were not able to finish. It is sad to think how much of this unfinished work, God sees as He looks down upon our earth. Think of the good beginnings which never came to anything in the end. Think of the excellent resolutions which are never carried out. Think of the noble life-plans entered upon by so many young people with ardent enthusiasm — but soon given up. Think of the beautiful visions and high hopes which might have been splendid realities — but which have faded out, with not even one earnest attempt to work See SKYSCRAPER on Page 38

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8 Steps To Seeking God’s Will 1. Begin by prayer for wisdom. Do not doubt that God has a wise course of action for you and will make it known. 2. Intentionally seek God’s face even more than His answers. “In Your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9). 3. Seek to be willing to take any course that God would have for you. Be thorough in your work on yourself. Often people miss God’s will because they are not fully willing to be submissive to God whatever He leads them to do.

4. Carefully seek to discover if there are any directives already given in Scripture which could guide you. Are there illustrations, commands, principles, which speak to this issue? Meditate on these and see if Scripture promotes or rules out any action you are considering. Try to find not only what God permits and does not permit, but what God likes, what is dear to His heart. Go directly to any passage which deals with the general subject to see if there is help to be found which you had not discovered before.

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Always read the Bible in context. 5. List each possible course of action, and in a prayerful frame of mind write out what are the pros and cons of each option. Put these options before the lens of Scripture one by one to see if God has spoken on these issues in some way. You will find more being said about most issues than you might first believe. 6. When helpful, seek objective counsel from godly and wise men or women you can trust. 7. Finally, examine your will again. If you are willing to do anything God might direct and that is certain in your mind, then you are free to pursue what God may be placing in your thinking related to the issue. Is there a long-term righteous desire in you? 8. Now, act in faith. If God in

His perfect cadence intervenes so as to cause everything to turn again, this is His business. For your part, you are required to take action along the lines of the wisest choice you can biblically make. Rejoice and do God’s will! Save the Nations Ministries >

Table of Contents From the Editor




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Feature Article


Personal Revival


The Christian Journey


Guiding Light


The Triumphant Christian


Spiritual Warfare


Christian Living


The Cross




Book Reiew


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How Is “Doing Good” Part Of Our Calling As Christians?

The reputation of Christianity these days has taken a serious hit. Our influence has been undermined and marginalized across all sectors of society. It’s not a problem that we as believers can just delegate to pastors or church leaders. It’s a problem we’ve all got to own. I won’t take space here to expound upon the causes. I want to share one solution. We Christians need to actually live like Christians. You are the greatest Christian some people will ever meet, in their whole life. Do you realize that? It’s a sobering thought, isn’t it? They may not know any other practicing followers of Christ until they encounter you. What definition of Christianity will they come away with? Will they see Christ at work?

Will they get a sense of God’s character? Will they feel loved, accepted, healed, and drawn to God Himself? One aspect of our calling to live like a Christian is to do good. The Apostle Paul, writing in (Titus 3:1), commands us to always “be ready to do whatever is good.” I grew up around people who said they loved Jesus and told me I should love Jesus. I heard all their Bible stories but I didn’t see Christ in their lives. I didn’t see faith in action. Maybe you live life this way without even being aware of it. The Holy Spirit may live inside you, but you kind of just go to work, attend church a couple of times a month, occasionally pick up the Bible, pray


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Men a bit—like in an emergency or when your kids are sick—without ever letting God engage the world around you through good works. A life like this misses the mark of our calling because it denies God’s purpose He has for your life. Paul writes in (Ephesians 2:10), “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Think about that! One, God created us to do good work. And two, He has them all planned out! For some of us, shifting our lives toward this kind of life is not just an incremental tweak, it’s a radical redesign. And the ultimate motivation is the love of Christ and our love FOR Christ—it’s not just a list of things to do because we’re supposed to. Doing good is powered by the right character—Christ-like character—not by perfect conduct. The goal is not to earn a divine seal of approval. It’s to show God’s divine love. There are at least four key advantages to doing good in our fallen world. It pushes back the darkness and reveals God’s passion for people. In fact, you might even say His grace-filled passion, His loving passion. Secondly, doing good in our hurting communities rescues people from destruction. Thirdly, doing good among neighbors and strangers reveals our priorities and connects our hearts to others. And fourth, it provides us with unex-

plainable, God-infused joy. Christ came to this world to illustrate God’s passionate love. He is grace embodied–our example of doing good. “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people” (Titus 2:11). We have to let the light of our good works shine through every moment of every day. How are you doing at consistently living out what you say you believe? Let’s follow Paul’s instructions and “devote [ourselves] to doing what is good” (Titus 3:8). Today, fellow Christians, let’s start living out our calling as Christians who are devoted to doing good. Copyright © Living on the Edge. All rights reserved. >

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Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts Me; and whoever accepts Me accepts the One who sent Me. John 13:20

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is surrounded with difficulties. One false step (and how easy it is to take that if grace is absent), and down we go. What a slippery path some of us have to tread! How many times do we have to exclaim with the psalmist, "My feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped." If we were strong, surefooted mountaineers, this would not matter so much; but in ourselves, how weak we are! On the best roads we soon falter; in the smoothest paths we quickly stumble. These feeble knees of ours can scarcely support our tottering weight. A feather may divert us, and a pebble can wound us. We are mere children taking our first trembling steps in the walk of faith; our heavenly Father holds us by the arms or we would soon be down. If we are kept from falling, how we should bless the patient power that watches over us day by day! Think how prone we are to sin, how apt to choose danger, how strong our tendency to stumble and fall, and these reflections will make us sing more sweetly than we have ever done, "Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling." We

have many enemies who try to put us down. The road is rough, and we are weak; but in addition to this, enemies hide in ambush and rush out when we least expect them and try to trip us up or throw us over the nearest cliff. Only an almighty arm can preserve us from these unseen foes who are seeking to destroy us. Such an arm is involved in our defense. He is faithful who has promised, and He is able to keep us from falling, so that with a deep sense of our utter weakness, we may cherish a firm belief in our perfect safety and say with joyful confidence Against me earth and hell combine, But on my side is power divine; Jesus is all, and He is mine! © 1994 - 2020 Truth For Life. All Rights Reserved. >


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Take The Sunshine With You To Work By Mary Kassian questions and carefully listening to them. By acknowledging them in this way, we communicate that their ideas and feelings are important to us. Endorsement is the strongest type of affirmation. Not only do we show that we are interested in another’s ideas or feelings, we also agree with those ideas or feelings and/or promote them. It is possible to disagree with the bulk of someone’s ideas or feelings but still endorse the part that we agree with. Compliments, praise, expressions of gratitude, and public acknowledgement are endorsing behaviors. If you are in a negative communication climate, and wish to change The climate of a relationship can be described in weather terms: stormy, cold, cloudy, warm or sunny. The same is true of groups of relationships, such as family, church or workplace. Have you ever been in an environment where criticism, sarcasm, backbiting and suspicion were predominant? A climate where you could "feel the tension in the air?" Or have you had the privilege of experiencing a positive, supportive, affirming environment? If so, you know what a difference communication climate makes. In positive climates, group members notice, engage, acknowledge and endorse one another. In negative climates, they do not. Notice The most basic act of positive affirmation is to take note of an individual’s presence. Noticing others means that we make eye con-

tact, turn our bodies towards and not away from them, approach them, smile, and acknowledge that they are there. Negative communication climates fail in this most basic area. People walk past each other and around each other without indicating that they notice the other’s presence. They avoid eye contact, do not approach, and appear reluctant to connect. Failure to return phone calls is an example of this type of disaffirming behavior. Engage Stronger affirmation occurs when people make the effort to engage. Though the degree of self-disclosure may be low, they willingly and eagerly enter into conversation. Acknowledge People feel even more affirmed when others seek to understand their ideas and feelings by asking

that climate, ask God for the ability to notice, engage, acknowledge and endorse those around you. Perhaps the clouds will part, and the sun will begin to shine through. ~ Father God, help my communication to be full of grace and seasoned with salt. Enable me to take the first step today towards improving the climate where I live and work. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6). © Revive Our Hearts. Mary Kassian. Used with permission. www.MaryKassian.com www. TrueWoman.com >


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is owned by Save The Nations Ministries, Inc. and is Published every other month by On Eagles Wings Unlimited, Inc.

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Changing Times

The Attractive Christian Woman By Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

The New York Times printed an article entitled, “She’s Got to Be a Macho Girl.” It reads, “John Bernard is 16, strapping, handsome, a hormonal hot-pocket of a teenager. Guys like him were once every father’s nightmare. No longer. ‘The girls are way more aggressive than the boys,’ John said . . .. ‘They have more attitude. They have more power. And they overpower guys more. I mean, it’s scary.’” This is the culture in which we

live. And yet Christ calls His followers to be counter-cultural. In fact, Paul says in (1 Timothy 2:9– 10) that two attitudes are to characterize a Christian woman’s approach to her appearance and behavior: modesty and self-control. A Modest Heart You don’t hear the word modesty often today, at least not in a positive sense. It conjures up images of a dour, frumpy schoolmarm. But that’s a misconception. A woman’s


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greatest loveliness comes through a modest heart that expresses itself in modest behavior, dress, and attitudes. Modest comes from a Greek word, aidos, which means propriety, decency. The word also hints at a proper sense of shame. For example, a modest woman would be ashamed if anything about her attitude or appearance dishonored Christ, distracted other believers, or caused men to sin. A modest woman is disinclined to call attention to herself. There’s nothing wrong with having an outgoing personality, but a modest woman does not try to get people to notice her. In her speech, dress, and behavior, she is free from showiness or ostentation. Here are some questions to help you assess your level of modesty: • Do I have a humble view of myself? • Do I have a high view of God? • Am I grieved at the thought of offending God or causing someone else to sin? • Do I wear clothing that is neat, decent, and doesn’t cause distraction or temptation to others? • Am I guilty of promoting myself? • Do I come across as controlling, bossy, or domineering? • Do I talk too much? Scripture says, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking” (Proverbs 10:19, nkjv). Controlled Freedom If you’re like me, you can easily get discouraged by reading passages like (1 Timothy 2:9-10) that spell out God’s standard for our

lives as women. That’s why we need to call out to the Lord: “Apart from You, there is no way I can be the kind of woman that You have called me to be! By the power of Your Holy Spirit, please make me this kind of woman.” If you allow the Spirit of God room to work, He will produce His fruit in your life— including the fruit of self-control. By practicing self-control, you’ll avoid many difficult situations altogether because you’ll make wise, restrained choices upfront—with your tongue, your eyes, your touch, your spirit. As you did with modesty, ask yourself some questions to evaluate your level of self-control: • Do I manage my time well? • Am I disciplined in my work habits? • Am I moderate and temperate in my eating, drinking, and spending? • Is my tongue controlled by the Spirit, or do I blurt out whatever comes to mind? * Am I prone to emotional outbursts? • Am I restrained in my relationships and demeanor with men? The greatest freedom comes when you’re under the control of the Holy Spirit. That’s when you can enjoy healthy and wholesome relationships in the Body of Christ. A heart of modesty and selfcontrol will bring joy and peace in your life—and will make the Gospel believable to unbelievers. © Revive Our Hearts. By Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Used with permission. www.ReviveOurHearts.com >

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Dangers Of Young Men Part 5


By J. C. Ryle

There are some special dangers that young men need to be warned against. (1) One danger to young men is PRIDE (2) Another danger to young men is the LOVE OF PLEASURE. (3) Another danger to young men is THOUGHTLESSNESS. (4) Another danger to young men is CONTEMPT OF CHRISTIANITY. (5) Another danger to young men is the FEAR OF MAN'S OPINION. "The fear of man" will indeed "prove to be a snare" (Proverbs 29:25). It is terrible to observe the power which it has over most minds, and especially over the minds of the young. Few seem to have any opinions of their own, or to think for themselves. Like dead fish, they go with the stream and tide: what others think is right, they think is right; and what others call wrong, they call wrong too. There are not many original thinkers in the world. Most men are like sheep, they follow a leader. If it was the fashion of the day to be Roman Catholics, they would be Roman Catholics, if it was to be Islamic, they would be Islamic. They dread the idea of going against the current of the times. In a word, the opinion of the day becomes their religion, their creed, their Bible, and their God. The thought, "What will my friends say or think of me?" nips many a good inclination in the bud. The fear of being looked at, laughed at, ridiculed, prevents many a good habit from being taken up. There are Bibles that would be read this very day, if the owners dared. They

know they ought to read them, but they are afraid: "What will people say?" There are knees that would be bent in prayer this very night, but the fear of man forbids it: "What would my wife, my brother, my friend, my companion say, if they saw me praying?" Oh, what wretched slavery this is, and yet how common! "I was afraid of the people so I gave into them," Saul said to Samuel, "and so he violated the Lord's command" (1 Samuel 15:24). "I am afraid of the Jews," said Zedekiah, the graceless king of Judah: and so he disobeyed the advice which Jeremiah gave him (Jeremiah 38:19). Herod was afraid of what his guests would think of him: so he did that which made him "greatly distressed," he beheaded John the Baptist. Pilate feared offending the Jews: so he did that which he knew in his conscience was unjust--he delivered up Jesus to be crucified. If this is not slavery, what is? Young men, I want you all to be free from this bondage. I want each of you to care nothing about man's opinion, when the path of duty is clear. Believe me, it is a great thing to be able to say "No!" Here was good King Jehoshaphat's weak point--he was too easy and yielding in his dealings with Ahab, and therefore caused many of his troubles (1 Kings 22:4). Learn to say "No!" Don't let the fear of not seeming good-natured make you unable to do it. When sinners entice you, be able to say decidedly, "I will not give in to them" (Proverbs 1:10). Consider how unreasonable this fear of man is. How short lived is

man's hostility, and how little harm he can do you! "Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth?" (Isaiah 51:12-13). And how thankless is this fear! No one will really think better of you for it. The world always respects those the most, who act boldly for God. Oh, break these bonds, and cast these chains from you! Never be ashamed of letting men see that you want to go to heaven. Do not think it a disgrace to show that you are a servant of God. Never be afraid of doing what is right. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). Try only to please God, and He will soon make others pleased with you. "When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies live at peace with him" (Proverbs 16:7). Young men, be of good courage. Don't worry what the

world says or thinks: you will not always be with the world. Can man save your soul? No. Will man be your judge in the great and dreadful Day of Judgment? No. Can man give you a good conscience in this life, a good hope in death, a good answer in the morning of resurrection? No! No! No! Man can do nothing of the sort. Then "Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool" (Isaiah 51:7-8). Call to mind the saying of Gardiner: "I fear God, and therefore I have no one else to fear." Go and be like him. Such are the warnings I give you. Take them to heart. They are worth thinking about. I am greatly mistaken if they are not greatly needed. The Lord grants that they have not been given to you in vain. GRACE GEMS! A Treasury of Ageless Sovereign Grace Devotional Writings Our Purpose To humble the pride of man, to exalt the grace of God in salvation and to promote real holiness in heart and life. ©GraceGems.org 2020 >

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Changing Times

Christmas - A Personal Promise By Charles F. Stanley

What do you consider most significant about Christmas? Many people would say visiting with relatives, attending parties, or giving and receiving gifts. For believers, however, Christmas is far more than a December holiday with time off from work. It is a personal promise from God to mankind. The significance of this special day is embodied in two scriptural names. In the first chapter of Matthew, an angel of the Lord told Joseph that Mary, his fiancée, would bear a son conceived of the Holy Spirit. He instructed Joseph to

name the child “Jesus” (v. 21). He also announced that the birth would fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy: “‘They shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means ‘God with us’” (v. 23, referring to Isaiah 7:14). Let’s examine the two names in this passage––Jesus and Immanuel. The name “Jesus” is a transliteration of the Old Testament Hebrew word Joshua, meaning “the Lord is salvation.” When the angel said, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (v. 21), he was pointing to the

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significance of that original Christmas: God provided a solution for your sin and mine, as well as for the sin of the entire world—past, present, and future. Seven hundred years before Christ’s birth, Isaiah’s prophesy was a word of hope and encouragement to Judah as it faced a great crisis. The prophet’s message was an indication of what God was about to do then as well as what would ultimately be fulfilled in the Messiah’s advent. Immanuel, a name full of promise, was God’s way of assuring the Old Testament saints that He was with them. Taken together, these two names encompass what we need for our entire life: Jesus, the pardoner of our sins, and Immanuel, the divine presence within us to help and guide every moment of every day. The names and the promises in them are the foundation for every facet of Christian life. So how did God engineer that first Christmas to fulfill the promises of Jesus and Immanuel? His method was the incarnation. On the night Christ was born, the eternal God–motivated by love–entered the human family. He was supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit and physically born of a virgin. Jesus never ceased to be God, and He remained perfectly sinless in His being. If the incarnation hadn’t take place exactly as it did, then we would still be living in our sin. According to Scripture, the punishment for sin is death (Rom. 6:23). The Bible also says that God rejects any imperfect sacrifice (Deut. 17:1). Jesus, because of His absolute sinlessness, is the only one who could save us by offering Himself

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as a payment for our sin-debt. Apart from the birth of God in human flesh, every one of us would have to stand before God with all of our sin resting upon us—and our sins would separate us from Him (Isa. 59:2). So the incarnation is the promise of Jesus— “the Lord is salvation”—for every person in the world. But that was not the full extent of God’s awesome plan. He also promised us His presence, which was fulfilled in the birth of Immanuel. Jesus was “God with us,” the incarnate Deity, who physically lived and walked among men to show us what the heavenly Father is like. Before His crucifixion, Jesus encouraged His disciples with the promise of God’s indwelling presence. Christ said that when He went away, He would ask the Father to send the Spirit of truth, who “abides with you and will be in you” to teach, remind, comfort, and guide every step of the way (John 14:17, 26). Far better than God simply being “with me” is God within me, for me, and through me! And that is His promise to every generation of believers—the incomparable, supernatural, immeasurable God will take up residence inside us and be everything we need. Once He lives within you, there will never be a time you have to walk without Him (Heb. 13:5). In light of the wonderful promise of God’s redemption and presence, believers should be confident and courageous. We don’t have a single need He can’t satisfy. What cause have we for worry or fear when the sovereign, almighty God is with us? So, this year, as you gather on Christmas morning, I encourage you and your family to kneel and give thanks to almighty God. The incarnation is the very essence of Christmas. There’s nothing wrong with the gifts or festivities, as long as they don’t crowd out what belongs in first place: Christmas is about God breaking into humanity, shattering time, and becoming life and hope and help to all mankind. © 2020 oChristian.com. All Rights Reserved >


Christmas Through The Eyes Of A Child By David Jeremiah

When I was growing up, most churches had some sort of a Christmas pageant every year. The average-sized church could pull together enough grammar school-aged kids to be the cast and fill all the roles: shepherds, wise men, angels, the innkeeper, and the various animals that we assume were in the stable that eventful night. The plum roles, of course, were Mary and Joseph, given to a couple of the older, more dependable kids. What a production! Shepherds in sandals and bathrobes with towels on their heads, multitudes of little angels in white choir robes with halos of gold tinsel positioned over their heads and gossamer wings pinned to their backs. I’m sure some adventuresome churches would use a real, live baby to play the part of Jesus, but most just laid a doll in the manger. The cuttingedge churches would run an extension cord to the manger with a lightbulb on the end to bathe the Jesus doll in a soft glow of light in the darkened sanctuary. I read about one church that had the lightbulb-in-the manger arrangement—things were going well until someone offstage tripped over the extension cord, unplugging it from the wall. When the light in the manger went out, one of the shepherds, in a much-too-loud whisper, looked in the direction of the cord and hissed, “Hey! You just unplugged Jesus!” It wouldn’t be a Christmas pageant in church without a goof or two along those lines. And Christ-

mas wouldn’t be Christmas, either, without the innocence of children who seem to “get it” much more easily than we adults. They believe readily and they speak readily. They have no guile, no cynicism, no commercialization. If you tell a child that Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus’ birthday, they’re completely fine with that. One family I read about had a tradition of setting an extra empty chair at their Christmas Day dinner to symbolize the presence of Jesus at their family’s birthday celebration for Him. After all the presents had been opened on Christmas morning, the grandmother asked her little granddaughter, “Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas, dear?” And the little girl replied, “Well, no, but it’s not really my birthday.” On the other hand, I heard about a small church that on its sign out front had the following message: “Remember Who is the reason for the season. Merry Christmas!” The pastor got a call from a lady in the community who was perturbed with the church’s sign. The gist of her complaint was, “I just don’t think the church ought to try to take over every holiday!” The difference between children and adults at Christmas! I know, children aren’t perfect. They sometimes manifest their carnal natures on Christmas morning—they’re human, after all. But when it comes to the joy and innocence and celebratory part of Christmas that we adults so easily lose, children are

our best examples. I believe every adult’s Christmas would be better if they would spend those weeks thinking more like a child and less like an adult. While this principle extends all year long, Christmas is one of the best times of the year to join with children in celebrating a heavenly Father who gives gifts so generously to His children. Not only did God the Father send God the Son into this world as the very first Christmas gift to His creation, He continues to give good gifts all year long as a manifestation of His generous grace. The apostle James calls them “good and perfect gift[s]” (James 1:17). And Jesus himself pointed out how God gives just what we need. When we ask for bread, He doesn’t give a stone. When we ask for a fish, He doesn’t give a serpent. What father would do such a thing? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Jesus said (Matthew 7:9-11). In spite of all the threats of “coal in your stocking,” little children don’t expect to get “bad” gifts from their parents. Our kids trust us! They believe we have their best interests and their unadulterated joy in mind. Could there be a better opportunity than Christmas to convey to a child how much his heavenly Father loves him and that He has a lifetime of good gifts to give? This Christmas, I encourage you to rekindle the wonder of Christmas that you may have had as a child. Be excited, be playful, be as extravagant as you can, and be a model of the excitement God has when He bestows gifts on us. And if you’re feeling blue this Christmas, find a kid and brew up some hot chocolate—and you’ll discover afresh the joys of Christmas. © 2020 Love Worth Finding Ministries, P.O. Box 38300, Memphis, TN 38183, www.lwf.org >

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How To Help Your Children Read The Bible By David Murray

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Earnest Christian parents want to help their children learn to read, understand, trust, and love the Bible. But most of us find this to be a significant, even daunting, challenge. The Bible is big and complex enough to intimidate adults. How do we help our children get to know the most important book ever assembled and begin to develop habits of enjoying it daily? There is no simple formula for success here. Each child is different, and the Holy Spirit works in different ways and at different times with each one. But I have found certain means of grace that generally prove effective. As a parent of five children, as well as a pastor, I’ll share eight that I’ve found helpful. 1. Give Them a Bible They Enjoy Have you ever given your children their own Bible? If they do not have one, invest in one. And buy the best Bible you can afford, one your children will enjoy picking up and looking at, one that communicates how special and valuable this book is. “Each child is different, and the Holy Spirit works in different ways with each one.” Bible publishers produce beautiful Bibles with quality covers and paper. You might consider a children’s study Bible. Crossway has just published the Illuminated Bible, and as soon as my teens saw it, they all wanted to hold it, flip through it, and read it. Give your children a Bible that exudes value, beauty, and quality, one that sends its own powerful message.

2. Give Them an Example to Follow Having said that, the best of Bibles will eventually just sit on a dusty shelf if our children don’t see us reading our own Bibles consistently, enthusiastically, and joyfully. As a child, I could never understand why my father would get up long before anyone else just to read his Bible before going to work. I also remember puzzling over my sick grandmother’s habit of reading her Bible at every opportunity. Why would anyone who’s so old want to read the Bible so much? Although I didn’t understand this as a child, both examples made a deep impression on me that affects me consciously and unconsciously even to this day. 3. Give Them a Compelling Motive One young man I know finds it hard to get out of bed in the morning for work. Sometimes he hits snooze six times. We’ve talked about it, and though he’s a hard worker, he’s lost sight of the why in his work, which makes it hard to stay motivated. The why isn’t big enough to make him want to get up when the alarm goes off. If we want our kids to read the Bible, we need to give them a big why. “Just do it!” is not sufficient. Why read the Bible every day? Because, along with the faithful preaching of God’s word, regular Bible reading is the primary and usual way God speaks to us today. The Scriptures are not just words of wisdom to make our lives better, See READ THE BIBLE on Page 13


READ THE BIBLE Continued from Page 12 but the words of eternal life that can make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). 4. Give Them a Clear, Manageable Plan Once we supply the why, we need to provide the how. How do they go about this? Where do they start? How much should they read each day? Should they read in the Old or New Testament? “If we want our kids to read the Bible, we need to give them a big Why.” We need to give them a clear, manageable plan, or else they will just jump around the Bible, and, with no sense of purpose or progress, they will eventually give up. Ideally, the plan will gradually take them through the most important parts of the Bible in daily, manageable readings. There are many Bible reading plans out there, or you could make up your own plan tailored to your children. (I’ve outlined one approach in Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids.) Don’t think you need to hit on the perfect plan right away. Pray for the Spirit’s guidance and help your

children experiment till you find a plan that seems to work for them. 5. Give Them Questions to Ask When I was a kid, my dad tried various strategies to make me read the Bible, but the most effective was asking questions. Sometimes he gave me a simple question to answer related to what I was reading. This ensured that I had to read the passage to find the answer, but it trained me to ask questions of the Bible. It built a habit of interacting with the Scriptures so that I didn’t read it passively but actively. The questions were usually about the content of the passage, but as I got older, the questions would move into meaning and application. The questions I’ve tried to train my children to ask are: What does this passage teach us about God? About sin? About salvation? About Christ? About the gospel? About life in this world and the next? You might have other questions. But teach them to query the text. 6. Give Them Answers When They Have Questions Your kids are going to have questions of their own about texts they don’t understand or about the Bible’s reliability. You should welcome this. Ask them regularly if they have any questions about what they are reading. Let them know

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that you want them to come to you with questions about the Bible and especially about how it relates to their own lives. They might ask questions you can’t answer. That’s okay. Just tell them that you will study and find out the answer, or ask a pastor or mature Christian for input. Whatever they ask, make sure you take it seriously and always get back to them with an answer if you want them to keep asking. 7. Give Them Encouragement to Keep Reading One of the best habits we formed as a family was to gather for 10–15 minutes when we got home from church on Sunday morning in order to discuss their Bible readings in the past week. We would check if they had answered their questions and provide an opportunity to discuss what they had learned. As the kids have gotten older, we don’t do that as much. Instead, we try to informally talk to them about what they are reading. But just showing an ongoing interest, and communing in God’s word for even a few minutes from time to time, encourages our kids to keep reading. 8. Give Them Grace in Their Failures Like you, your kids are going to

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fail. They’ll forget to read. They’ll pretend they’ve read. They’ll be lethargic and lazy. They’ll give you all sorts of excuses. Don’t give up. Give them grace! “One of the best gifts you’ll ever give to your children is familiarity with the Bible and its message.” If your children aren’t born again, they will disappoint you in this area again and again. Don’t give up. Give them grace! The more legalistic among them might turn Bible reading into works-righteousness. Give them grace. Keep pointing them to the grace of Christ and his gospel to cover their sins and to motivate their obedience. One of the best gifts you’ll ever give to your children is familiarity with the Bible and its message. Give them a Bible they enjoy, give them an example to follow, give them a compelling motive, give them a clear, manageable plan, give them questions to ask the Bible, give them answers to their questions about the Bible, give them encouragement to keep reading, and give them grace in their stumbles and failures. ©2020 Desiring God Foundation. Website: www.desiringGod. org. Email: mail@desiringGod. org. Toll Free: 888-346-4700 >

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Changing Times

The Shy Virtue Of Christmas By John Piper

My favorite Christmas text puts humility at the heart of Christmas. So, this Christmas I am marveling at Jesus’ humility and wanting more of it myself. I’ll quote the text in a moment. But first there are two problems. Tim Keller helps us to see one of them in a recent article in Christianity Today. He reminds us, “Humility is so shy. If you begin talking about it, it leaves”. So, an article about humility (like this one, or like his) is self-defeating, it seems. But even shy people peek out sometimes if they are treated well. The other problem is that Jesus wasn’t humble for the same reasons

we are (or should be). So how can looking at Jesus’ Christmas humility help us? Our humility, if there is any at all, is based on our finiteness, our fallibility, and our sinfulness. But the eternal Son of God was not finite. He was not fallible. And he was not sinful. So, unlike our humility, Jesus’ humility originated some other way. Here’s my favorite Christmas text. Look for Jesus’ humility. Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness

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of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8) What defines Jesus’ humility is the fact that it is mainly a conscious act of putting himself in a lowly, servant role for the good to others. His humility is defined by phrases like • “he emptied himself [of his divine rights to be free from abuse and suffering]” • “he took the form of a servant” • “he became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” So, Jesus’ humility was not a heart disposition of being finite or fallible or sinful. It was a heart of infinite perfection and infallible truthfulness and freedom from all sin, which for that very reason did not need to be served. He was free and full to overflow in serving. Another Christmas text that says this would be (Mark 10:45): “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus’ humility was not a sense of defect in himself, but a sense of fullness in himself put at the disposal of others for their good. It was a voluntary lowering of himself to make the height of his glory available for sinners to enjoy. Jesus makes the connection between his Christmas lowliness and the good news for us: “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). His lowliness makes our relief from burdens possible. If he were not lowly, he would not have been “obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” And if he had not been obedient to die for us, we would be crushed under the weight of our

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sins. He lowers himself to take our condemnation (Romans 8:3). Now we have more reason to be humble than before. We are finite, fallible, sinful, and therefore have no ground for boasting at all. But now we see other humbling things: Our salvation is not owing to our work, but his grace. So boasting is excluded (Ephesians 2:8–9). And the way he accomplished that gracious salvation was through voluntary, conscious self-lowering in servant-like obedience to the point of death. So, in addition to finiteness, fallibility, and sinfulness, we now have two other huge impulses at work to humble us: free and undeserved grace underneath all our blessings and a model of self-denying, sacrificial, servanthood that willingly takes the form of a servant. So, we are called to join Jesus in this conscious self-humbling and servanthood. “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus . . . .” (Philippians 2:5). Lord, I pray that this “shy virtue”—this massive ground of our salvation and our servanthood— would peek out from her quiet place and grant us the garments of lowliness. “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Peter 5:5). This is my Christmas prayer for myself and for you. A humble and merry Christmas to you all, Pastor John

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14 HOLIDAY 2020


A Christmas Memory By Kathleen Angell

I was watching an old movie and something a young woman said in the movie brought back a Christmas memory. The young woman was from a very poor family. Her mother was praying to the Lord at Christmas, asking for help as they had nothing. A rich man had squirreled away a lot of money in a floor board above where they lived, and a squirrel lived behind it in the rafters. He started dropping all the rich man's money from where it was hidden over the rafters and the praying woman began catching it. She had no idea what had happened but only that her prayer was answered. When the father came home there was a beautiful tree, presents and the daughter was setting the table with a turkey and trimmings and she said, ...see, turkey and trimmings and pudding and everything nice,... or something pretty much like that. And it brought to recall a Christmas when my children were young and the Lord answered my prayer and needs for our Christmas and I said a very similar thing, and my heart felt and my mouth exclaimed, a very similar thing. At that Christmas we knew the Lord and tried to serve Him as best we knew. We were very poor. And at Christmas with three children and out shopping with my brother and his friend, who neither of them knew the Lord, and our money ran out quickly. After I met the Lord, I didn't get mad often, so the feelings I had were unusual. But as I stood there

in the store and looking at the people shopping and getting things for their children, something came up and out of me, which was not me, and I looked at the people in the store and said, "How is it that those who do not serve the Lord have enough for their children at Christmas and those who serve the Lord, don't or very similar? And I heard a voice spoken in my ear, “Go home and get your money. “And I said to my husband, “The Lord said to go home and get our money." The hardest thing, was not believing that the Lord had spoken, to go home and get the money for our Christmas, the other hardest thing for me to do was get it out of my mouth and to speak it out loud in front of people who didn't know the Lord. I am so glad that I did, because, in my life and walk that is always the hardest thing to do. But it is also the most wonderful thing to do. Because when I do, I see the Lord's miracles. So we said that we were going home and that the Lord had said to go home and get our money because our Christmas money was at home. We got in our car and on the way home to windy Sun Valley near Reno, NV., my husband and I were very excited. We were so poor that five dollars was a lot, and ten was a lot, and twenty was a lot. But what about fifty? That was the highest amount we could think of at the time! It was so much to us! We said something See MEMORY on Page 39

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:9

HOLIDAY 2020 15

Changing Times

Marriage The Nuts And Bolts Of Marriage – Do You Qualify? By Angie Lewis So, you want to get married and maybe have a family later on down the road. Do you really know what you are getting yourself into? Are you ready to share a big part of yourself with your future spouse for the rest of your life? Marriage isn't about doing what "you" want. It is about doing what "you both" want. Are you ready to humble yourself to your spouse when arguments can't seem to get rectified? Are you ready to commit yourself to your spouse through the bad times as Merry Christmas to our loyal Customers

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well as the good? This is what the nuts and bolts of marriage is all about. No one says marriage was going to be easy. But if you want to stay married for life then you need to be committed and convicted to work at what you started. Don't be a poor sport and quit the game early. All marriages, and in any condition can be saved with the proper resources. The problem is couples are using the wrong resources to fix their marriage. They don't understand the nuts and bolts of marriage. During the early years of marriage you might see a handsome prince and a beautiful Cinderella but after going through so many years of behaving selfish and having unresolved issues pop up, your prince might now seem like an ugly old frog and your Cinderella may seem to have turned into a wicked witch. Oh know, now what? Of course, other people won't see your spouse in the same negative light as you do. But that's marriage for you. Unhealthy marriages don't ever see their spouse in the same positive light as they once did. The

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you? Marriage could mean considering the feelings of another and enjoying the companionship of another. It could mean playing the give and take game fairly. Marriage means commitment. 1. Are you ready to consider the feelings of another person? You do want a healthy marriage, don't you? Well… in a healthy marriage, selfishness is non-existence! In a healthy, growing and satisfied marriage, couples do not think in the sense of I, me and mine, but rather

reason for this is quite clear. No spirituality to base the marriage upon because the marriage is based upon self-interest. Are you married to yourself? Then go right ahead and continue supporting the marriage upon your ego. Many marriages of today don't even have a bond to begin with. What seems like connectivity between two people really is lust filled euphoria of the newness of each other, and after a while, especially where there is no love, gets humdrum. Marriage needs love to survive. What does marriage mean to

See NUTS AND BOLTS on Page 39

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Wake Up And Take Responsibility For Your Marriage By Angie Lewis

Let’s suppose that God created you. If God created you then it would go without saying that you would want to get your answers and advice for your marriage from your Creator, right? But some of us don’t do that. We don’t follow the direction of God’s influence for our life and we experience major problems in our marriage because of it. For an example, if I boss my hus-

band around and tell him what to do, where am I getting my advice and answers? Certainly not from the word of God. I used to follow my own selfish desires and go after whatever I wanted. I didn’t know I was doing anything wrong in my marriage. I was taught to be selfish even if I hurt others in the process. I was not being a responsible wife. I was only caring about myself. My

error in thinking brought great misery to my marriage and strained it greatly. Thank God I found my way home. Eve was not created by God to control and overpower Adam. On the contrary, Eve was made to be a helpmate (to serve) to her husband. Isn’t that what helping is all about, serving? Eve didn’t believe in what God said about eating from the Tree of Knowledge, and Satan deceived her and she ate from it. Today, Adam and Eve’s everywhere are getting swindled and bewigged by Satan. I was deceived too. This is what’s happening in marriages today. We aren’t doing what God has told us to do. Just like Adam and Eve, we are listening to and relying on the wrong support threshold for our marriage. This is important to know because until people start realizing this as the major problem within themselves and marriage, they will continue to follow their own selfish ways. Is treating your husband with disrespect taking care of your

responsibilities? Is cheating on your wife taking care of your responsibilities? Is rejecting your husband taking care of your responsibilities? Is disregarding the feelings of your wife taking care of your responsibilities? Is rebelling against God the right thing to do for your marriage? No! So why are you doing it? Couples absolutely need to wake up and start taking responsibility for their marriage. It is not someone else’s responsibility to make sure you are both getting the love and respect you deserve. It is not your wife’s responsibility that you remain faithful. So why are you blaming your wife for your indiscretions? And it certainly is not the responsibility of your neighbor or your parents to support and love your wife, is it? It is not the responsibility of any state to separate a man and a woman from marriage. See RESPONSIBILITY on Page 37

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HOLIDAY 2020 17

Changing Times


God’s technology. We can rightly use technology and still honor God as the main object of our affections and worship. Technology is a medium, or a means—not an end. Let’s always remember that and keep it in its right position in our lives. Part of By Mark Kelderman & Maarten Kuivenhoven worshipping and acknowledging God is to put God back on the throne and use technology as a means to worship Him. How do we do that? Begin the day with God before turning to the computer, checking the email, or chatting with your friends. You can use technology to read and study the Bible, to read edifying blogs, to maintain friendships, to post edifying things in your newsfeed on Facebook, to present yourself as a responsible and diligent Christian on LinkedIn, and to listen to sermons on the web. There are so many ways in which we can honor God with technology. But If you need to know something guard against acting as if technolodon’t let technology swallow you about a certain subject, the most gy replaces Him. up by how quickly and easily it common piece of advice is “Just Technology replaces God when Google it.” Google is a wonderful technology demands all of our time takes away from your time with tool. We use it—a lot. But Google and we do not disconnect in order God, lures you into pornography, is not divine, nor is technology. So to connect with God. We violate the or wastes time. How do we capture a large vision often in today’s fast-paced world of first commandment when we set technology and development we our heart on the next new gadget, lose sight of God. But one thing we replacing God on the throne of our cannot do is digitize God and reduce hearts with a computer, smartHim to a machine, a sound-byte, or phone, or video game console. We a tweet. God in His Being is grand- replace God with technology when er and far larger than all that. Cer- we rely heavily on the Internet for tainly, we can use technology for answers to life’s questions. His glory, but we need to be on The Internet is a very valuable tool for information; most of us would not be able to do our work without it. However, never let the Internet replace the written Word of God. The virtual world never Merry Christmas from replaces real, live communion with God and His people. There is an inherent danger in the intersection of our sinful hearts and the nature InterIors, Ltd. of technology that would swallow Specializing in up our entire lives and cause us to Commercial & Church Flooring forget God as we are bombarded Sales • Installation • Maintenance with all kinds of information. Do References Available you recognize these things in your Carl Franzella life? Perhaps it is time to re-order 504-833-8104 our lives. That does not mean we www.suninteriors.com throw out technology altogether because we also believe that it is

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of God again in the midst of the constant barrage and stream of technology and information? First, we need to repent of our misuse of technology if we are struggling with it in this way. Second, we need to live with a large view of God. That means we need to search the Scriptures. See the powerful and almighty God who created everything. He is in control of the world. “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty” (Ex. 34:6– 7). Meditate on (Micah 7:18–19): “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardons iniquity, and passes by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retains not His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will turn again; He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and He will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” He is a God worth serving! Published by The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, used with permission. >



The Young Christian! J.R. Miller

One of Paul's counsels to Timothy was, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity!" (1 Timothy 4:12) Every young man should live a life which will command the respect of those who know him, and which will lead none to despise him. It is a great thing to be young. Those who are old have passed over their course of life. If they have lived well, they can rejoice in their attainments and achievements. If they have failed through neglect, carelessness, indolence, or sin — then it is too late to retrieve their losses. But young people stand at the beginning of life, with all its magnificent opportunities yet within their reach. It should fill young hearts with enthusiasm to look forward into years which hold so much of possibility for them. But youth is a time, also, of responsibility — for then the choices must be made, the foundations of character must be laid, and the preparation for life and service must be secured. Some young people seem to have no conception, however, of their responsibility. They merely drift with the current, too often the current of self-indulgence and pleasure-seeking, without entering heartily or vigorously upon the work before them. If they would be ready to take the places that are waiting for them, they must make the most careful preparation. One of the most successful business men in this country said recently that the secret of the failure of many men, lies in their lack of

thoroughness in beginning life. A young man gets a position and then is satisfied merely to fill it without any thought of making himself capable of anything better. The result is he stays in that position, never advancing beyond it. A railroad president gave this advice to young men: "Let every man, in public or private business, whether he is working for himself or for another — more than fill the position he occupies. When he does that, and has established the fact that he can more than fill that position — then a wider one will open to him. And then he will have an opportunity to do more than fill that, and he will thus go onward and upward, until he finally reaches the highest step in his profession or calling." If young men would live so that none will despise their youth — then they must be energetic. Youth is the time when one should be strong and full of enthusiasm. Yet some young men seem never to wake up out of their indolent languor They seem to have been born tired and always to have remained in that state. No one honors an indolent young man. The youth that lacks energy, earnestness and enthusiasm — is justly despised Good men always despise a youth who needs to be helped at every point. There are some young men who have no idea of doing anything for themselves — which they can get anybody else to do for them! They want to have their burdens carried by others. They want someone to do all the hard thinking for them. They like to have money to spend — but they want it to be earned by the sweat of some other person's brow. They have

no idea of relying upon themselves, or fighting their own battles, or carrying their own loads. If a young man would have others honor his youth, he must learn personal responsibility and selfreliance. He must not be afraid of hard work. He must not expect other people to carry his burdens. Our best friend never is the one who does the most for us, who brings to our lives gifts and favors — without any exertion of our own. Our best friend is he who sends us out to carve the way for ourselves, to gather the gold and gems of life with our own hands. If young men would have their youth honored, they must live up to their Christian profession. There are some young men who take their place in the Church confessing Christ before men, and yet who fail to live out what they promise in the world of strife, struggle, temptation and service. The true Christian is one who not only confesses Christ in his church and among Christian people

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12

— but one who confesses Christ just as earnestly, as sincerely, as faithfully all the weekdays, out in the world. It is not enough to be Christly on Sundays — one must be a Christian Mondays and Tuesdays as well. It is not enough to be a faithful Christian among Christian people — one must be loyal to Christ where Christ is not loved and honored. We must be consistent and true in all our life. When Paul says, "Let no man despise your youth," he means that a Christian young man must make his life so noble, so worthy, so true — that no one shall sneer at his religion or call him an unworthy follower of his Master. There is no reason why a young Christian should not make his youth honored among men. GRACE GEMS! A Treasury of Ageless Sovereign Grace Devotional Writings Our Purpose To humble the pride of man, to exalt the grace of God in salvation and to promote real holiness in heart and life. ©GraceGems.org 2020 >

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HOLIDAY 2020 19

Changing Times

Health 11 Natural Ways To Lose Weight & Spark Metabolism By Dr. Don Colbert

Boosting metabolism is important to achievable weight loss. During the summer months, individuals tend to move more and naturally kick start their metabolism. With the approaching change in seasons, it will be more important to find ways to maintain a healthy weight. Individuals will be traveling less and staying indoors more. A variety of herbs and natural therapies are available to add to the diet during any time of the year. These options are great for keeping the weight loss metabolism burning regardless of the current season. 1. Power Packed Turmeric Turmeric is awesome for keep-

ing many illnesses away, and it is a great metabolism booster. Individuals who add turmeric on a regular basis tend to eat less without even thinking about it. Curcumin (found in turmeric) is wonderful for cleansing the liver of toxins processed by the body. When the body is more free of toxins, the ability to lose weight comes easier. 2. Boosting Lecithin Lecithin is found in every living cell naturally, boosting metabolism as well as aiding in the breaking down of fat stores. The nutritional therapy can be added to cereals, salads, and other food recipes. Individuals also have the option to add lecithin to the

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diet in a high-quality supplement form. The product is great for aiding control of bad cholesterol levels. 3. Fat Burning Cinnamon Cinnamon is well known for many health benefits, including burning fat stores. The herb comes from the Cinnamomum tree. This natural choice also helps detoxify the body, lower glucose levels, and can curb a sweet tooth naturally. 4. Healing Ginger Ginger is an excellent superfood which not only promotes fat store loss, but it has naturally healing properties. Research studies reveal substantial benefits for individuals with high HDL “bad” cholesterol levels, simply by adding ginger to the diet. 5. Metabolizing Green Tea Green tea holds many different health benefits including burning fat due to its powerful levels of catechin polyphenols. The tea is a wonderful addition which will aid in the fat burning process, and it will provide a boost to the body’s metabolism. 6. Thyroid Supporting Kelp The thyroid plays a vital role in metabolism within the body. Kelp provides support to this master organ by giving a boost in nutrition. Kelp is rich in vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and amino acids. Adding kelp to the diet will naturally decrease the urge to eat other foods. 7. Fat Burning Chromium Chromium is considered a natural fat burning ingredient. It is naturally found in tomatoes, certain meats, eggs, bananas, apples, as well as spinach. Individuals desiring a natural boost in weight loss should consider adding chromium-rich foods to the diet on a regular basis. 8. Satisfying Yerba Mate Yerba Mate tea is highly effective in curbing the appetite by providing natural satisfaction. Active ingredients in the drink are ursolic acid and quercetin. The tea offers


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the body an avenue for boosting the metabolism and aiding weight loss efforts. Yerba Mate benefits the individual by slowing the emptying process within the digestive system. The end result is feeling full and satisfied much long. 9. Bitter Orange Extract Bitter Orange Extract (also identified as citrus Aurantium) can be added to the dietary routine increasing the benefits of accompanying herbs. The extract boosts the metabolism and increases weight loss efforts of the individual when used in combination with other natural remedies. 10. Alkalizing Water Drinking plenty of water provides many benefits for the body including alkalizing properties, flushing toxins, hydrating the organs, and it wards away food cravings. Drinking water before, during, and after a meal will help the body to digest food more easily. The beverage is a great option for replacing sodas, juices, and other calorie-packed drinks. 11. Increasing Movement Increasing movement of the body allows lymph to flow more naturally. Exercise also helps to regulate the body’s hormones which can affect weight loss as well as metabolism mechanisms. Adding movement to your daily routine will provide brilliant health rewards! Dr. Don Colbert is a graduate of Oral Roberts School of Medicine and shares his years of experience and research in nutritional medicine in all of his work. He is a national speaker, bestselling author and host of a national talk show titled Your Health Matters. © 2020 Dr. Don Colbert, MD PA www.drcolbert. com. All rights reserved > www.health4nola.com


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7 Nutrients That Increase Muscle Tone function. Health Recommendation: 1,200 mg daily (dairy products, dark green veggies, high-quality health supplements) If choosing a health supplement, choose one which includes vitamin D (needed for calcium absorption). Also, when taking a calcium supplement small increments (500 mg) should be taken throughout the day for the best benefit. 4. Magnesium – Although magnesium deficiency is rare in the United States, most women do not get enough of the nutrient according to Dr. Popovitz. A sufficient supply of magnesium is necessary for optimal heart muscle function. The ingredient is also wonderful for alleviating muscle cramps/soreness. NIH Recommendation: 310 – 320 mg daily; according to Dr. Popovitz, a daily supplement of 400 mg will not be harmful for weight lifters. Magnesium is also found in whole grains, nuts, spinach, and legumes. 5. Vitamin B Family – The B vitamins are necessary for the best health possible. Each are actively important to muscle health, protein metabolism, a healthy nervous system, and for the breakdown of fats/ carbs. Health Recommendation: Include adequate amounts of whole grains, lean meats, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables to gain a

Specific vitamins and minerals ing for a faster recovery. Omega 3 provide needed ingredients for an is known as the “secret weapon” for increased lean body. The nutrients increasing muscle tone. The nutriprovide needed strength and should ent also helps to improve sensitivity be included in the diet in the proper to insulin, preventing diabetes disease progression. amounts on a regular basis AHA Recommendation: Weekly Individuals who exercise also need specific nutrients to repair the intake of two servings (3.5 ounce “muscle fiber micro-tears” which each portion) of fatty fish (salmon, take place naturally in muscles dur- herring, lake trout, mackerel, saring movement. When the body is at dines, albacore tuna); for individurest, the restoration process rebuilds als who do not eat fish, include a and strengthens the muscles. Indi- 1,000 – 3,000 mg supplement of viduals who do not refuel with the DHA/EPA daily; vegetarians can proper nutrients will be lacking include omega-3 rich seeds/nuts necessary ingredients for optimal (flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, walnuts) health. 3. Calcium – Calcium is essenConsider including the following tial for strong bones and muscles. “menu” for healthy muscles: 1. Vitamin C – All fruits and When an individual moves, the vegetables hold vitamin C which is mineral is needed to “contract and needed by the body. The vitamin is grow” the muscles. Therefore, addessential for the health of the blood ing calcium-rich foods to the diet vessels, muscle support, and natural are highly important for optimum oxygen supply, according to Dr. Cuomo (USANA Health Sciences). Adding a variety of colorful fruits/veggies will provide the support needed for ongoing muscle health. Giving the body the “best” fuel will provide optimal muscle tone and function. Dr. Popovitz (NY Bone & Joint Specialists) reminds the community, vitamin C is also important for the proper building of collagen, a building block needed to build healthy bones and muscles. NIH Recommendation: 75 mg daily (one medium orange, one cup strawberries) 2. Fish Oil – Omega 3, fatty acids found in fish oil, are equally important to muscle health. Dr. Cuomo reminds the public of the ability of fish oil to enhance muscular blood flow, reduce breakdown of protein, and lower inflammation providWhoever does not take up their cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Matthew 10:38

variety in most of the B vitamins. B12 is only available in animal proteins or by adding a high-quality nutritional supplement (2.4 mcg). 6. Vitamin D – Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin.” It holds many powers including increasing immunity, boosting the mood, and aiding in muscle health. The muscles have need of the vitamin to grow, strengthen, and function. Health Recommendation: Daily sun exposure; or add a healthy supplement of 4,000 to 6,000 IU daily; blood tests can also reveal any vitamin D deficiencies. 7. Vitamin E – Vitamin E is full of antioxidants which aid in cell membrane recovery after exercise. Eating a handful of natural almonds is great after a workout providing protein, fiber, and healthy fats for the body. Health Recommendation: 15 mg daily; nuts and seeds are a great source of vitamin E. Larger doses of vitamin E (300 mg and up) can cause issues with nausea, weakness, and stomach discomfort. Overdose of vitamin E can be fatal. © All rights reserved 2020- Dr. Don Colbert >

HOLIDAY 2020 21

Changing Times


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4 Tips to Take Financial Stress Out of the Holidays By Rachel Cruze

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, which means holiday shopping is underway! If you’re a spender like me, your head is spinning with all the upcoming festivities. The holidays are such a magical time of year, but I think we can all agree they’re not-so-magical for our wallets. It’s easy to lose sight of what matters during this special season and feel pressured to overspend. But it is possible to enjoy the holidays and not let them turn into a debt hangover in January. Here are a few ways you can save this holiday season and still enjoy your time: Make a Christmas budget Overspending is easy to do when you don’t make a plan for your money. We know Christmas is on December 25th every year. Your Christmas will be less stressful— and more festive—if you create a budget ahead of time and plan for

your purchases. I like using the EveryDollar app. You can list out all your Christmas expenses, including the gifts you want to buy for people, and track your budget on the go! Set expectations early with your kids Discontentment happens when kids expect the whole toy store under the tree and only receive three or four gifts. Make sure their expectations are realistic long before Christmas morning. If a new bike’s not in the budget, let them know. Make a list and check it twice Who doesn’t love giving gifts to their loved ones? It’s so much fun, but those expenses can add up. Make a list of everyone you want to buy for and assign a dollar amount to each person. And stick to it! If you can’t afford to buy a gift for someone, there are lots of free holiday activities to enjoy together.

Spend some quality time with them instead. I promise you, they will appreciate that just as much, if not more! Remember what the holidays are about There is a lot of pressure around the holidays. But don’t lose sight of what really matters this season, and that is spending time with the people you love. Ten years from now it won’t matter who got what gift or what party you went to. What will matter most are the memories you create with the people closest to you. I promise you, the holiday season will be much less stressful if you figure out how much you have to spend and set some boundaries! Come spring, when you start planning that family vacation, you’ll be thankful you aren’t still paying off Christmas debt. And if you want your holidays to be truly merry, focus on spending time with family and less on stuff! About Rachel Cruze As a #1 New York Times bestselling author and host of The Rachel Cruze Show, Rachel helps people learn the proper ways to

handle money and stay out of debt. She’s authored three best-selling books, including Love Your Life, Not Theirs and Smart Money Smart Kids, which she co-wrote with her father, Dave Ramsey. You can follow Cruze on Twitter and Instagram at @RachelCruze and online at rachelcruze.com, youtube.com/rachelcruze or facebook. com/rachelramseycruze. >

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HOLIDAY 2020 23


Changing Times

The Battle Of The Mind By Adrian Rogers

All of us fight battles – for some, it is the battle of the bulge; while for others, it is the battle of the wills in child rearing – and then, for some, the battle of the pocketbook. They seem to be with us always. But, did you know there is a battle much more deadly? It is the battle for the mind – a deadly war between God and Satan on the battleground of your mind. And this could be your call to arms. (Second Corinthians 10:3-8) says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to

himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s. For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed.” The Warfare of Our Foe Your enemy is not clothed in flesh (see Ephesians 6:12). The devil has entrenched himself in high places to war against you. And there is a deadly, invisible array of demonic hosts dedicated to the destruction of your thought life. Satan’s desire is to conquer and control your thought life, and then make it a citadel from which he can war against God. But, when God saved you, He gave you the mind of Christ. Paul talked about this when he wrote: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (Second Corinthians 11:3). The word “simplicity” actually means purity. The devil wants to get your mind because he knows that if he can get your mind, he can pull you away from the Lord Jesus Christ. The Weakness of Our Flesh We live in the flesh. We might as well admit it. All of us have problems, sicknesses, perplexities, and we suffer through the mundane things of life. Yet, we do not war against flesh and blood. Our battle is against the devil himself and none of us can outwit or out war the devil. He mocks at our schemes. He ridicules our organization. The world thinks that education or legislation will win our battles. Or if we had a perfect envi-

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ronment in which to live, all our problems would be over. We need to all remember that Adam and Eve got in trouble in the most perfect place on earth – the Garden of Eden. You’re not going to have a better environment than that! How did it happen? They were deceived. The devil messed with their mind. The Weapons of Our Fight How are we going to pull down strongholds, imaginations, and high things like arrogance, ignorance, despair, bitterness, pride, and anger? Certainly not with carnal weapons! Instead, he tells us we are going to win because of The Sovereignty of our Commander. Christ is our Commander and Chief. Friend, the devil has been trying to do all he can to win this war, but when Jesus Christ died at Calvary, he dropped a nuclear bomb on the devil. Jesus said, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). Secondly, we are going to win because we have the authority of our commission. Second Corinthians 3:8 tells us that God has given us authority. What is authority? It is the legal right to act on behalf of another. Jesus, who’s won the war, has given us the power of attorney (see Luke 10:19-20). Lastly, there is the certainty of our courage. Paul talks about himself being weak and his speech being contemptible. He says, “I belong to Jesus Christ. He’s won the battle for me. He has given me ABOUTLOUISIANA LOUISIANA ABOUT SPIRIT SPIRIT Louisiana Spirit is a Louisiana fed e r a l l y f u nSpirit d e d Cisr ias i s C federally o u n s e l i n gfunded Progra m for Crisis individuals, families, and Counseling Program groups affected by d i sfor a s tindividuals, e r s . L o u i s i afamilies, na Spirit provides emotional support, and groups affected by counseling information and disasters. r e f e r r a l s Louisiana f o r s u r v i vSpirit ors i m p a cemotional t e d b y r e csupport, ent provides disasters. It is funded counseling information under the Stafford Act by F and E M Areferrals a n d i s afor d msurvivors inistered through the Substance impacted by recent Abuse and Mental Health disasters. Adm i n i s t r a t i o It n is ( S funded AMHSA).

under the Stafford Act by COVID19 FEMA and isPARTNERS administered Governor’s Office of Homeland through S e c u r i t y the a n d Substance Emergency Preparedness, the Louisiana Abuse and Mental D e p a r t m e n t o f H e a l t h ’ s OHealth ffice for Behavioral Health and the Local GAdministrations o v e r n i n g E n t i t i e s h a v(SAMHSA). e partnered to provide coping resources and connections to help all citizens their with emotional well-being .

authority, and because of that, I have courage to win this battle.” (2 Corinthians 10:8-11) Now, let me give you one final thought: Not only should you fight the battle and defeat the devil, but also you need to fill your mind with godly thoughts. (Philippians 4:8-9) says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Center your mind upon Jesus. And don’t let the devil take away your pure-hearted devotion to Him. If we stay in love with the Lord Jesus Christ, there won’t be any room for those filthy, dirty, wicked, lascivious, lustful, prideful thoughts that bombard us all. You see, God made us so that we can’t think two thoughts at one time. If we’re thinking what’s right, we can’t possibly be thinking what’s wrong. © 2020 Love Worth Finding Ministries, P.O. Box 38300, Memphis, TN 38183, www.lwf.org >

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The Promise Of True Transformation

The amazing promise of Biblical grace is not behavior modification but true transformation. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we must fight against “conforming” to the image of this world but we must passionately pursue “being transformed” by the work of the Spirit into the image of Christ. So, before we examine the process, let me give you the punch lineConforming is something negative I do. Transforming must be done to me! The Scripture uses two different words to describe what we do (conform) and what the Spirit does to us (transform). (1 Peter 1:14) warns us to “not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance”. Paul says the same thing in (Rom. 12:2), “Do not be conformed to this world”. In each of these verses, the word used for “conform” means to “fashion yourself”. It means to outwardly imitate or mold yourself to the behavior we see in the world. This is something we often do and it is destructive.

But the promise of true grace is that the Spirit will do something to us that will change the very essence of who and what we are. We don’t stop conforming to the world because we decide to stop conforming, but because we are being changed at the very core of who we are. The Bible refers to this as “transformation”. The Greek word used for this “transformation” literally means “metamorphose “. Every grade school student comes to understand the process of metamorphosisby watching a tadpole change into a frog or seeing a caterpillar spin a cocoon and come out a butterfly. This is not behavior modification; this is true transformation. Getting my dog to stay in the yard by shocking him every time he steps over an invisible line, now that’s behavior modification. And it can save a dog’s life. But a caterpillar into a butterfly? That is true transformation. The very essence and character of the being has been changed. It no longer looks the same; it no longer acts the same; it no longer is the same; it has been transformed. Some amazing chemical process which I cannot understand has been occurring inside that causes a complete change on the outside. This is metamorphosis; change on the inside that, over time, shows up on the outside. Metamorphosis (transformation) is the promise of true grace; an ongoing interaction between us and the Holy Spirit that causes miraculous change in the very essence of who we are, what we are, how we think and how we behave. There is instantaneous change; being born again of incorruptible seed, freely reconciled to God and made to be

Personal Revival children of the Father. And there is progressive change; being increasingly sanctified and growing into the image of His Son. This progressive change is the miraculous process of “spiritual tadpoles becoming Christ-like frogs”. The New Testament makes it clear that this type of life does not happen automatically simply because we “believe in Jesus”. It becomes a reality only to the extent

that we1) Believe that His plan is to actually live through us, 2) Humble ourselves and stop pretending we can do it, and; 3) Interact with the true transformer, the Holy Spirit. Copyright © 2020 by Mark Drake of Mark Drake Ministries, author of God’s Brilliant Plan, searching for the easy and light life Jesus promised. >

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The Christian Journey Do You Remember? By Pastor Doug Gilford As we wind down the tumultuous year, 2020, it is sensible to think about this question: Do you remember when we could walk around without masks? Eat freely in restaurants? Sit close to your friends? Those were great days! Like me, I am sure you cannot wait to move around freely in public without fear of getting Covid. Have you forgotten how that feels? I hope not. In the same manner, do you remember the Lord right now? Do you remember church? Many people who had regularly attended church, have fed themselves from the Bread of God’s Word, and volunteered to make differences in other people’s lives have been forced to watch church from their homes online. At first, I believe this was a necessity. But as the world started opening slowly, and churches as well…sadly people got use to worshipping in their pajamas and chose to stay home. This is happening not only in America, but

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across the modern world. Can you remember singing next to a stranger, either out of a hymnal or from a projection on a screen? Can you remember watching lives change week after week, as they are moved with the Presence of God flowing through the collective church? Do you remember receiving Communion from the House of the Lord and receiving the blessing that goes with it? I challenge you to remember. Your church needs you back. No, they do not only need your money. They need you. Your attendance, your presence…your family…your smiling faces. I am writing this to you as a pastor of a great church. I am called to be a shepherd. I am not called to be an online preacher, or a televangelist. I am called to shepherd people. That requires the teaching and preaching of God’s word. But that also requires loving and caring for people. Like your pastor, I long for the days we can stop socially distancing and pack the church out in worship again. Why? Because there is a sense of power, and unity and comradery in a worshipful setting at church. Any organization thrives when there is unity and comradery. Why would the church not? Jesus frustrated with the disciples lack of faith when they had no bread, called them to remember: “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do

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you not hear? And do you not remember?” (Mark 8:17-18) What is Jesus saying? He is calling out their lack of understanding, their lack of faith, and their forgetfulness of His power and authority over things necessary to our life. Jesus has authority over the bread (food) of our lives…and He has authority to heal our bodies wrecked with Covid. It is so important to remember so that our faith is not a wreck. Nothing would make the enemy of our soul happier than to wreck our faith. If our faith in Christ is wrecked how can we please God? (Hebrews 11:6) Whether it is out of caution, fear, or laziness. Please consider going

back to church. There is a reason the Bible says, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25) In these discouraging times, we should seek to get back together to encourage each other in Christ, and in basic everyday living. We need you. If you are honest…you do too. Doug Gilford, Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Church -23051 Hwy 1088, Mandeville, LA 70448. 985-624-8652 or email doug@ilovecornerstone.com >


Proverbs Summary By Paul Tripp

Guiding Light

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I love Proverbs! I've lived in Proverbs; when our kids were at home, we would go through Proverbs, and we would have them memorize one verse from each chapter. But I have to admit I don't think I understood the Proverbs for a long time. I didn't understand what this was about. I want to subtitle the Proverbs, “The Rescue.” And the reason I'm doing that is sin reduces all of us to fools. A fool has the world inside out and upside down. A fool looks at true and sees false, and wise and sees foolish, and good and sees bad. He’s just got it wrong, and the Bible tells us that the epicenter of foolishness is, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Now I don't think the Bible is talking at that point about philosophical atheism, but rather living as if I am a self-sufficient human being, and I know everything I need to know in order to live the way that I should live. That's craziness! That's insanity! And so, the Proverbs are designed, be prepared to be humbled, to rescue you from you because the greatest danger in your life is not outside of you; the greatest danger of your life is inside of you, it’s the foolishness of sin. And as long as sin remains inside of us, there will be artifacts of that foolishness. It's humbling to understand that I need daily, moment by moment, to be rescued from me. And the Proverbs are all about that rescue, how God, in His grace, pours down His wisdom, wisdom we could never know on our own, wisdom we




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Good ideas are not always "God ideas." We see this in the life of the apostle Paul: "Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them" (Acts 16:6-7). Just as it happened with Paul, a sincere disciple of Christ, it can happen with all of us. We may want to go certain places and do certain things, expecting God to go with us. However, sometimes the pathways we choose for our lives during a particular season may not actually be the pathway of God for us. Paul had a vision of a man appealing to him to come to Macedonia and help them (16:9). "Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them" (16:10). So, although Paul had had different plans, he and his company headed off to Macedonia. On the way they ministered to a group of women meeting for prayer. One of them was an influential part of the community and "she and her household were baptized" (16:15). Next, they encountered a demon-

possessed slave girl and when she was delivered, her masters seized Paul and Silas and had them beaten and thrown into prison (16:22). This serves as a reminder that we have no guarantee that we will get a pass-through trials and trouble. In fact, sometimes obeying the will of God will actually get us into trouble. But God´s plans are always far superior to our own. In prison, Paul and Silas sang praises to the Lord and witnessed to the jailer, who in turn was transformed and baptized along with his entire family (16:33). And just think, all this started with a man appearing to Paul when he was praying at night, saying, "Come and help us." The power of God is always found where the Spirit leads you. Today I implore you to have the courage to say, "Lord, I do not want to live simply for my will. What would you have me do? Where do you want me to go? Let your will be done in my life." Then watch God do miracles! -Carter Conlon, Times Square Church. © 2020 World Challenge, Inc. Transforming Lives Through the Message and Mission of Jesus Christ >

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13




You Are A Three-Fold Person tate (that is to dwell upon) God’s Word, it will begin to change the way you think. Your mind will be renewed and transformed and strongholds (old thinking patterns) begin to come down... this is vital to your spiritual freedom and wholeness! Finally, seek to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is beyond the gift of salvation, and an extremely powerful gift that God wants to give each believer. Save the Nations Ministries >

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Changing Times


Gradual Conquest

"I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild beasts too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land." (Exo. 23:29, 30). Thus, it is with the children of God. If they had not enemies without and within, and oppositions in their way, there are some dangerous "beasts" that would be ready to "increase" upon them. For instance, there is a beast which is called pride, which might grow upon you, if you had no enemies to fight with. Hence, a thorn in

the flesh was given to Paul that he might not be exalted above measure. Is not the thorn in the flesh well ordered, which prevents confidence in the flesh? There is a beast called carnal security, which might grow upon you but now there are enemies on all hands of you, to prevent your falling asleep, to keep you watching and waking and constantly on your guard. There is a beast called presumption, which might grow upon you, and make you think you were able to go forward to Heaven upon your own legs and in your own strength, if you found no such enemies in the way.

There is another beast called worldly-mindedness, which might grow upon you, if you had no adversaries and adversities to vex you, and wean you from the world. You would be in danger of saying, "It is good to be here." But now the wars and battles in your way to Heaven make you say with your heart, O! it is better to be there. There is a beast, a filthy brute beast, called sensuality, which might grow upon you, believer, that might make you lukewarm and formal in all your duties, as well as carnal and light in the intervals of duties. But the sight of your spiritual enemies on the field will make you see a need to be spiritual, zealous, earnest, and fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. There is also a filthy dumb beast which is called forgetfulness, which would certainly grow upon you, and be very dangerous to your soul and spiritual welfare, if your enemies were all destroyed. Therefore, God says, "Slay them not, lest My people forget" (Psalm 59:11). If the execution were quick and hasty, the impressions of it would not be deep and durable. Swift destructions startle men for the present—but they are soon forgotten; therefore, when we think that God's judgments upon the nations

of our spiritual enemies come on but very slowly, we must conclude that God has wise and holy ends in that gradual procedure "Slay them not, lest My people forget." —extract from a sermon by Ralph Erskine, 1760. Yes, Christian reader, God has a good reason for permitting the lusts of the flesh to rage, at times, within you. All His ways are marked by infinite wisdom, even though very often we are unable to discern it. So, it is here. How often has a saint bewildered why God has withheld that victory over indwelling sin, for which he has prayed so long and so earnestly. There is a needs-be for failure— as well as victory; for sorrow—as well as joy. In the dust before Him is our proper place, and if we leave it, He allows us to be tripped up by Satan, to fling us back there! Moreover, as Mr. Erskine points out, our graces must be exercised if our "enemies" are to be prevented from having dominion over us. One day we shall perceive more clearly why God permitted us to experience so many falls, and to "go halting" all our days; and why it was that "little by little" that He vanquished our spiritual foes. Arthur Pink Eternal Ministries >

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Loyalty And Faithfulness

Loyalty and faithfulness are excellent qualities. According to "Webster's New World Dictionary," the meaning of loyalty includes allegiance, devotion, fidelity, trustworthiness, integrity, honesty, reliability, truthfulness and more. God Places Great Importance on Faithfulness "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man" (Prov 3:3-4). True loyalty springs from the heart and is wrapped in love. It is often in our most private moments that true loyalty, or the lack of it, is made known. Loyalty and Faithfulness to One's Country Being loyal and faithful to one's country is absolutely essential. After World War II, our country was filled with celebration, patriotism, loyalty, and thankfulness. Many loyal men and women paid with their lives to prevent our country from being overtaken by our brutal enemy. If the enemy had succeeded, our way of life such as we know it would have never come to pass.

Employers and Employees I once worked for a company that had imprinted on each paycheck the words, "Speak well of your company, you are a Part of it." It was absolutely true. I have worked for a number of corporations since then, but have never forgotten those words. I believe employers should have the right to expect loyalty and faithfulness from their employees, and that employees should be able to expect the same. Marriage and Dating During these stressful times, we need to do everything possible to maintain confidence and trust in our relationships. Faith and trust are established through one's acts of loyalty. Loyalty and faithfulness are essential to a happy marriage. Unfaithful acts, such as adultery or cheating in finances, can be devastating. Even seemingly small actions, such as flirtation, or revealing private and intimate information about one's mate, can be very damaging. What at first may appear to go unnoticed or unchallenged, may, in the end, destroy the wonderful warm feelings, of confidence and trust that once was theirs. Mandeville 985-626-3300 Slidell 985-649-3300 Bogalusa 985-732-0030


Friends We all need genuine, unshakable friends in our lives. The greatest evidence of true friendship is loyalty. A loyal friend will be by your side through good times and bad, and will always represent your best interest. Do you stick up for a friend when you hear someone telling something untrue, that could destroy his/her good name? Are you trustworthy in all your interactions with them? If so, you are a loyal friend, and she/he is truly blessed. Broken Trust is Difficult to Regain Being loyal and faithful to others are acts of love, and instantly recognized as such. There is a quotation that goes: "Your actions speak so loudly I can't hear what you are saying." This is true in all areas of our lives. It is very difficult to convince someone you are loyal when your actions indicate otherwise. The Rewards It is emotionally and spiritually healthy to form the habit of doing only the things that make us feel good about ourselves. These quali-

ties can be developed through prayer and cultivation, and are worth every effort. Being loyal and faithful toward God and our fellow man brings about inner feelings of strength and confidence. In return, we will be rewarded with the trust and confidence of others that was first earned by our loyalty and faithfulness to them. Samuel Mills © Copyright 2006-2020 Trusting-in-Jesus.com. All Rights Reserved. >

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Crucified Life

You believe in the death of the Lord Jesus and you believe in the death of the thieves with Him. Now what about your own death? Your crucifixion is more intimate than theirs. They were crucified at the same time as the Lord but on different crosses, whereas you were crucified on the selfsame cross as He, for you were in Him when He died. How can you know? You can know for the one sufficient reason that God said so. It does not depend on your feelings. If

you feel that Christ has died, He has died; and if you do not feel that He has died, He had died. If you feel that you have died, you have died; and if you do not feel that you have died, you have nevertheless just as surely died. These are divine facts. That Christ has died is a fact, that the two thieves have died is a fact, and that you have died is a fact also. Let me tell you, You have died! You are done with! You are ruled out! The self you loathe is on the Cross of Christ. And "he that is dead is freed from sin" (Romans 6:7 Amplified). This is the Gospel for Christians. Our crucifixion can never be made effective by will or by effort, but only by accepting what the Lord Jesus did on the Cross. Our eyes must be opened to see the finished work of Calvary. Some of you, prior to your salvation, may have tried to save yourselves. You read the Bible, prayed, went to church, gave alms. Then one day

your eyes were opened and you saw that a full salvation had already been provided for you on the Cross. You just accepted that and thanked God, and peace and joy flowed into your heart. And now the good news is that sanctification is made possible for you on exactly the same basis as that initial salvation. You are offered deliverance from sin as no less a gift of God's grace than was the forgiveness of sins. For God's way of deliverance is altogether different from man's way. Man's way is to try to suppress sin by seeking to overcome it; God's way is to remove the sinner. Many Christians mourn over their weakness, thinking that if only they were stronger all would be well... If we are preoccupied with the power of sin and with our inability to meet it, then we naturally conclude that to gain the victory over sin we must have more power... But this is altogether a fallacy; it is not Christianity. God's means of delivering us from sin is not by making us stronger and stronger, but by making us weaker and weaker. That is surely rather a peculiar way of victory, you say; but it is the divine way. God sets us free from the dominion of sin, not by strengthening our old man but by crucifying

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him; not by helping him to do anything, but by removing him from the scene of action. For years, maybe, you have tried fruitlessly to exercise control over yourself, and perhaps this is still your experience; but when once you see the truth you will recognize that you are indeed powerless to do anything, but that in setting you aside altogether God has done it all. Such discovery brings human striving and self-effort to an end (The Normal Christian Life, pp. 35-37). Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Romans 6:6) "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) By Watchman Nee © 2020 The Old Time Gospel Ministry >


Old Paths For A New Year By Christina Fox

This time of year, is filled with all things new. We clean out our closets and drawers to make room for the new Christmas gifts we’ve received. We flip the calendar on a new year and consider all the upcoming year holds. We set new goals and resolutions to make needed changes. As Christians, we also sometimes look for the “new” for our spiritual lives. We look to new strategies and methods to help us grow in our faith. We look for new devotionals or books to inspire us in our growth. We may peruse blogs, listen to podcasts, attend conferences and retreats—all in the hopes of finding that one thing we haven’t yet tried that will help us grow in our faith. While we’re grateful for new books and can often benefit from new resources, to grow in Christlikeness we don’t need a fundamentally new approach. We need an old one. The Lord has already given us everything we need, and it’s been available all along: the means of grace. Means of Grace When Christ commissioned churches to make disciples, He gave simple instructions: “[Baptize] them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19–20). The disciples were to make new disciples by preaching and teaching all that Jesus commanded. They were to then baptize these new believers. The extraordinary grace of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, worked through these ordinary means to grow the church. It’s the same for us today.

To grow in Christlikeness, we don’t need a fundamentally new approach. We need an old one. Theologians use the term “means of grace” to describe God’s provision for His people. Louis Berkhof defines the means of grace as “objective channels which Christ has instituted in the church, and to which He ordinarily binds Himself in the communication of His grace.” God uses these means to draw us closer to Himself, to commune with us, and to train us in righteousness. Ordinary Means, Extraordinary Grace What are these means? According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, they are primarily God’s Word, his sacraments, and prayer. In the book of Acts, the church grew through these very things: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). And in all the generations since, God works using the same ordinary means. It’s how He feeds and nourishes us spiritually. It’s how we abide in Him. It’s how we know Him. It’s how we grow. As Michael Horton writes, “Through these means, He has pledged to raise us from spiritual death, to forgive sins, to assure us of God’s favor, and to conform us to Christ’s image.” Word of God While books about the Bible are useful, they can’t replace reading God’s Word and hearing it preached. God’s Word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). Not only that, but “faith comes

from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). For the good of our souls, we can’t forsake gathering with God’s people to listen to His Word read and preached every Sunday. Sacraments Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are also means of grace. By the water of baptism, God seals us as His own (Acts 2:38), and by the bread and cup He communicates Christ and His benefits (1 Cor. 10:16). Christ meets us at His table, refreshing and nourishing our souls as we remember His sacrifice for us at the cross. Prayer Prayer is how we communicate with our Father, responding to what He’s taught us in His Word. In prayer, we praise and honor the One who made us, saved us, and sustains us. We confess our sin and ask God to meet our own and other’s needs. As we pray, we live out our union with Christ and others. And the Lord uses those prayers to carry out His sovereign will. All of Grace The phrase “means of grace” reminds us that, from beginning to

end, our life in Christ is all of grace. Our justification was by grace, our sanctification is by grace, and our glorification will be by grace. We are not transformed by our ability to read Scripture, or how well we listen to it preached, or how fervently we pray, or how faithfully we take communion. We are transformed by the Spirit’s use of these means, by God’s grace and for Christ’s glory. We need to walk an old path in the New Year. We need to read and hear the Word preached. We need to come to the throne of grace in prayer. We need the sign and seal of baptism, and we need to join our local church in celebrating the Lord’s Supper. This new year, cease your restless searching for the next new thing; rest instead in what God has already given, trusting that He will use those means to complete the work He’s begun in you. Copyright © 2020 The Gospel Coalition, INC. All Rights Reserved >

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Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15


HOLIDAY 2020 33

Merry Christmas

Changing Times

Peace And The Holy Spirit

Life In All Its Fullness

By David Wilkerson

By Greg Laurie

On whom does Jesus bestow his peace? You may think, “I’m not worthy of living in Christ’s peace. I have too many struggles in my life. My faith is so weak.” You would do well to consider the men to whom Jesus first gave His peace. None of them was worthy, and none had a right to it. Think about Peter. Jesus was about to bestow His peace on a minister of the gospel, who would soon be spewing out curses. Peter was zealous in his love for Christ, but he was also going to deny Him. Then there was James and his brother John, men with a competitive spirit, always seeking to be recognized. They asked to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand when He ascended to His throne in glory. The other disciples were no more righteous. They simmered with anger at James and John for trying to upstage them. There was Thomas, a man of God who was given to doubt. All of the disciples were so lacking in faith, it amazed and stressed Jesus. Indeed, in Christ’s most troubling hour, they would all forsake Him and flee. Even after the Resurrection, when the word spread that “Jesus is risen,” the disciples were slow to believe. But there’s even more. These were also confused men. They did not understand the ways of the Lord. His parables confused them. After the

Crucifixion, they lost any sense of unity they had, scattering in all directions. What a picture: These men were full of fear, unbelief, disunity, sorrow, confusion, competitiveness, pride. Yet it was to these same troubled servants that Jesus said, “I am going to give you My peace.” The disciples weren’t chosen because they were good or righteous; that much is clear. Nor was it because they had talent or abilities. They were fishermen and day laborers, meek and lowly. Christ called and chose the disciples because He saw something in their hearts. As He looked into them, He knew each one would submit to the Holy Spirit. At this point, all that the disciples had was a promise from Christ of His peace. The fullness of that peace was yet to be given to them, at Pentecost. That’s when the Holy Spirit would come and dwell in them. We receive the peace of Christ from the Holy Spirit. This peace comes to us as the Spirit reveals Christ to us. The more of Jesus you want, the more the Spirit will show you of Him—and the more of Christ’s actual peace you will have. Copyright © 2020 by World Challenge, Inc., P.O. Box 260, Lindale, Texas 75771. >

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” —(John 10:10) As the Christmas season descends, we start seeing countless commercials for things we “must” buy. The implied promise is that if you give this or if you receive that, then you will be happy. Of course, there’s a rush of excitement in receiving a very special gift. But I’ll bet that you can’t even remember what you got for Christmas last year. It was so important then, but now it has faded from your memory. I think Christmas, commercially at least, cannot live up to the promise. It can’t live up to the standards we have set in our minds, because Christmas is, at best, a promise of greater things to come. If your hope is in Christmas, then you will be disappointed—especially when the bills come due. You open your presents on Christmas morning, and then on December 26,

it’s bills, bills, bills. It is not Christmas that will bring you fulfillment. It’s Christ. He will give you life, and that more abundantly. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 NKJV). That is the hope of Christmas through Christ. That is the gift that God wants all of us to have. In reality, I have found that the greatest moments of Christmas are not the ones we often get psyched about. Rather, the greatest moments of Christmas are those in-between moments, like when you’re having a meal together with family. Or the moments when you’re wrapping a gift, not giving it. Then there are the moments when you’re with the family of God, those moments of worship. So this Christmas, slow down. Relax a little bit. Enjoy it and take it in. Because Jesus was born in Bethlehem to bring us life— and all its fullness. Copyright © 2020 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved. >

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HOLIDAY 2020 35

Changing Times

Book Review World Changers

I am reviewing another book by Pastor Greg Laurie called ‘World Changers’ which focuses on the Eleventh Chapter of The New Testament book of Hebrews. This chapter is often referred to as the ‘Hall of Fame of Faith’. Hebrews Eleven is a compendium, a collection, of many of the great names from the Hebrew Bible, The Old Testament. Here names like Noah, Abraham, Moses, Sampson, David,

and more biographies are given of these famous men and women of antiquity. From very brief, to brief ‘Hall of Fame’ Hebrews are enumerated. Pastor Laurie’s argument is that the ‘Heroes’ listed in this Eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews were ordinary people who God used to change their worlds! The metaphor that the author uses to describe the chapter’s subjects is the thermostat. A thermometer gauges the temperature in its environment, but a thermostat is a climate-changer! Laurie’s premise is that like these ‘ordinary’ Hebrews of the past we can act as ‘thermostats’ in our world, bringing about needed change in our fallen world. Pastor Greg encourages believers, who are empowered by the Holy Spirit and have the Word of God and the Good News to go forth boldly into the world and enact

godliness. A serious believer in Jesus the Christ may honestly ask, “Where would I begin to attempt to change the world for Christ?” Good Question! The Apostle Paul in the book of (Second Corinthians, Chapter Ten and Verse Thirteen) says of his ministry, “But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you!” Although Paul the Apostle actually changed much of his known world for Jesus, I believe his exhortation to Christians in this passage is, influence those around you; you’re not responsible for the whole world! The ‘heroes’ in Hebrews eleven were historical people living in a specific location and that was the area where God used them. In actuality, these ordinary Hebrews turned ‘heroes’ were in reality flawed people, as we all are. Yet the LORD could use these less than perfect folks to accomplish His purposes because they exercised faith in a God for whom ‘nothing is impossible’! The text of (Hebrews 11:33) tells us of these people, “who through faith conquered Kingdoms, enforced justice,

obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword,” etc. Through faith in a God who they believed had created the heavens and the earth, they were able to be used as ‘thermostats’ to accomplish the LORD’s climate changes’ He desired! This Hall of Fame chapter has at the least two verses which can serve as defining statements of what constitutes faith. (Hebrews 11 Verses One and Six): “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And “and without faith it is impossible to please him for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” We all use faith all the time. We drive down the highway believing that the pavement will support us and not cave in and trusting (believing) that those pistons plunging up and down at incredible speeds will propel us to our destination. We all sit in a chair at home or in a restaurant ‘believing’ that chair will hold us! Our author serves us up a scripSee WORLD CHANGERS on Page 38

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haven’t humbled yourself to God or to your marriage. Here is another example. If a wife will not allow her husband to lead the home and family on the foundations of God, what should she do? She should first look at herself and wonder why she is such a foolish woman that she won’t let her husband provide, protect, and care for her the way he is supposed to. A controlling wife should not find any other reason of why she is bossy and domineering other than through herself. It all comes down to knowing what your responsibilities are and acting on them with the right wisdom and care, that’s all. The right

But we act as if it is! How can a state document divorce a husband and wife without God’s authority? Wake up! Don’t you think you are allowing too much outside advice influence what you do in your marriage? Be an adult and do what is right for you and the person you married. Why put the blame on those around you, instead look at yourself and see what you can do about it. For an example, if a husband will not remain loyal in his marriage, what should he do? He should first look at himself and wonder why he is such a foolish man that he won’t remain trustworthy to the woman he married and loved. A disloyal husband should not find any other reason of why he is unfaithful except through himself. Couples make the mistake of thinking they have a bad marriage because of the person they married, but it has nothing to do with that. It has so much to do with the fact that you are not allowing God to Richie Culotta • Cameron Culotta • Zach Dustin direct your life. You

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wisdom will come from your Creator and the wrong wisdom will come from somewhere else. We need to be careful in our walk and discerning in wisdom. Not all wisdom that our ears hear will be from God. Don’t let yourself remain deceived any longer. Wake up! And start taking responsibility for your marriage. …while evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13 NIV) At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.

(Titus 3:3 NIV) Angie Lewis is the author of four marriage books offering marriage tips and wisdom filled answers tackling such issues as addiction, adultery, pornography, emotions, beliefs, forgiveness, communication and much, much more. Adultery Pandemic is Angie's latest book. Turn Your Marriage Into A Success! If you want to restore your marriage from the demoralizing effects of adultery, then look no further - this is the book for you! Your Marriage Can Be Restored! © 2002-2020 Heaven Ministries. All Rights Reserved. www. heavenministries.org >

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For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

HOLIDAY 2020 37

Changing Times

SKYSCRAPER Continued from Page 3 them into life! In all aspects of life — we see these abandoned buildings. Many homes present the spectacle of abandoned dreams of love. For a time, the beautiful vision shone — and two hearts tried to make it come true — but they gave their dream up in despair, either endur-

ing in misery — or going their own sad and separate ways. So, life everywhere is full of beginnings, which are never carried on to completion. There is . . . not a soul-wreck on the streets, not a prisoner serving out a sentence behind prison bars, not a debased, fallen person anywhere — in whose soul, there were not once visions of beauty, high hopes, holy thoughts and purposes, and high resolves of

an ideal of something lovely and noble. But alas! The visions, the hopes, the purposes, the resolves — never grew into more than beginnings. God bends down and sees a great wilderness of unfinished buildings, bright possibilities unfulfilled, noble might-have-beens abandoned; ghastly ruins now, sad memorials only of failure! The lesson from all this, is that we should . . . finish our work, allow nothing to draw us away from our duty, never become weary in following Christ, persevere from the beginning of our ideals — steadfast unto the end. We should not falter under any burden, in the face of any danger, before any demand of cost or sacrifice. No discouragement, no sorrow, no worldly attraction, no hardship — should weaken for one moment our determination to be faithful unto death! No one who has begun to build for Christ — should leave an unfinished, abandoned life-work to his own eternal grief! "This fellow began to build — and was not able to finish!" (Luke 14:30) Don’t be like that guy. Build that skyscraper! Save the Nations Ministries >

WORLD CHANGERS Continued from Page 36 tural list of historical yet everyday people who acted, imperfectly, according to God’s revealed word to them. Pastor Greg Laurie challenges the ‘average’ Christian in the glorious year 2020 to emulate the Hebrews eleven ‘heroes of faith’. We are exhorted to move forward from our ‘area of influence’ to go and make disciples for Jesus. The modern-day Pilgrim, armed with a Bible, the Holy Spirit, and the Gospel of Jesus should go about sowing the Good News of Jesus finished world of salvation. It does not take great faith to be bold in sharing a testimony of what God in Christ has done for you, if He truly has brought about a genuine transformation. It takes only a “mustard seed” of faith in a great and awesome God. The hope the book “World Changers” seeks to engender is that ordinary followers of Messiah Jesus step out in faith accomplish something extraordinary for our great God! Peter Basirico >

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MEMORY Continued from Page 15 like this. What if....it is ten dollars? What if it is twenty dollars...What if it is fifty dollars!! Could it be? When we got home, on our porch in windy Sun Valley was an envelope. It was a miracle that it was still there. And we knew it. Inside was fifty dollars with the words written, From Jesus. I thank the Lord for this precious provision, to care about us so much and to care about our needs and our kids at Christmas. Thank You, Lord!!! We celebrated Christmas. At our door that Christmas came everything we needed for our very special Christmas. Nuts and sweetbreads and everything that was special to me for them. More than I'd ever be able to get the kids, but was there from our Lord and nothing was left out. It was lovely. It was our very special Christmas from Jesus. It made a sweet special and warm Christmas time. We didn't share our troubles with people and so we knew it was the Lord's doing. And like the girl in the movie, in my

heart, I could say we had the best Christmas ever with everything you could ever think of that made it warm and wonderful for us and our children that I would want for them. All the things that made Christmas so nice and homey and warm for my family that I personally wasn't able to give them, those special things that make a Christmas warm and dear. And I knew in my heart that in our walk with the Lord Jesus in following Him, I'd never have to worry ever about my kids and holidays again and I never did. They always had their needs met and more. He cares about us all so very much. I thank the Lord. So very, very much! My name is Kathleen Angell. My life was dramatically changed when the Lord made Himself real to me. We have an outreach locally and for over ten years to Kenya children to feed those in need. I love sharing about the Lord Jesus Christ and the wonderful things He has done. ©2020 FaithWriters.com. All Rights Reserved >

NUTS AND BOLTS Continued from Page 16 in the sense of, we, our, and us. In other words, it is not what "I" want but what "we both want". 2. Are you and your future marriage partner compatible? Don't think you can change the person you married. It doesn’t work like that. How it does work is both wife and husband find the areas in themselves that need changing and work on those areas of self so they can become better marriage partners to each other. 3. Are you willing to compromise with your spouse? A healthy marriage takes a lot of cooperation. There is no room for stubbornness, self-righteous behavior, rebelliousness, or selfishness in marriage. Where are the team players? You can be a great team player "if" you play the game fairly. If you cannot

play fair, don’t get married! It's as simple as that. 4. Are you prepared to totally commit to your spouse and stay married for life? I know that NOW you say yes to that question but what does marriage mean to you? Answer that and you will know your answer. What does marriage mean to you? What does your way of life tell you about what's right and good for your marriage? Are you going to value your marriage with the importance that it deserves? Marriage will be the most important commitment and promise you make with another person. If you think that promise is going to get broken, then don’t even think about getting married, I don't think you qualify. © 2002-2020 Heaven Ministries. All Rights Reserved. www. heavenministries.org >

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Changing Times Christmas 2020 Issue