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Volume 15, Number 6 www.changingtimes.info
T h e Vo i c e o f t h e C h r i s t i a n C o m m u n i t y "Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor." (Proverbs 21:21)
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The Mission of Changing Times What is the mission of "Changing Times,” which circulates widely to living families? We follow the same blueprint that Paul set before the Ephesian elders, (Acts 20:28) "to feed the church of God." "Feed my sheep," "Feed my lambs," was Christ's 3 x repeated injunction to Peter. Every preacher, writer, and editor that addresses The Christian Community, should have this set before him as his whole aim and desire. This we can honestly say is ours, and the only motive which keeps us at our difficult and responsible post. Here, we feel our conscience is clear. It is not worldly interest, or ambition, or aiming at popularity and influence; but a desire to be instrumental in feeding living souls, that bears us up and keeps us at our post among many discouragements, from both within and without, best known to ourselves. We can say, we trust with all honesty, that we feel an increasing desire to be made a blessing to the Christian Community. We desire “Changing Times” to be a means in the Lord's hands of great and increasing profit to people’s souls.
In laboring month after month for their benefit, we have no denomination to serve, no petty ambition to gratify, no schemes of self or pride to advance, no rich readers to flatter, nor worldly professors to fear. Our chief desire and aim is for the spiritual profit of the Christian Community. To speak the truth in love; to be faithful yet affectionate; keeping back nothing that is profitable, but abstaining from all harsh, unbecoming language; to watch for souls as those who must give an account; to renounce the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending themselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. To edify, to comfort, to instruct, to lead on, to encourage the family of God, among all their trials and sorrows, temptations and conflicts, is, or should be the aim of all who, as preachers or writers, stand on the battlements of Zion if God, then, in His providence and grace, has placed us in a position where we can, if not with voice, yet with pen, address many, very many of His
From the Editor dear children; if He has inclined any of their hearts to listen to us as believing that we know and love the truth as it is in Jesus, we are bound, not only by the weight which eternal realities have with our own soul, but by the very readiness of our friends and brethren to receive our words, to seek to the uttermost their spiritual profit. Blessed are your eyes, dear Readers, if they have seen any divine beauty and blessedness in Jesus; blessed are your ears, if you have heard His voice with sweetness and power; blessed are your tongues, you servants of God, if, in testifying of His Person and work, love and blood, suitability and preciousness, you have felt the dew of the Spirit dropping from your lips, and blessed are your fingers, you whose pens seek to trace His worth, if what you write is attended with the unction of His grace to contrite, believing hearts. If this is our experience, and this our aim and end, one living bond of union will knit
together editor, writers, readers, servants of God, members of Gospel churches, and believers generally among whom our pages come. As an editor, the desire of our ministry and soul is to seek and pursue peace, love, and union with all who fear God and love the Lord Jesus Christ, and to avoid as much as possible contention and strife. We wish to say little of ourselves, lest we fall into the same spirit of self-exaltation that we have at times condemned—but this much, we trust, we may say, and that in editing this periodical, we desire to seek the good of the brethren among whom it comes. In what falls from our pen, as well as in selecting what is sent by our correspondents for insertion, our main aim and object are to profit the Lord's people, to avoid all questions that may tend towards contention and strife; and while we contend for the truth in See MISSION on Page 39
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Righteous Living The Gifts! It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again...time for gift buying, gift-wrapping, and gift exchanging. Where does Jesus fit into that picture? And what are the gifts we could bring Him this Christmas? I think one way we can discover that is to look at the account in (Matthew 2:1-12) as to the gifts the wise men brought Him on that tender, blessed night when God became flesh and dwelt among us. Gold — His Sovereign Dominion Gold was a gift presented to a king. It was the most precious metal of that day and it symbolized royalty. The wise men recognized that this baby who was born in a manger was no ordinary baby — this was King Jesus! He is King of kings and Lord of lords. The wise men did not cuddle Him. They did not play games with Him. Instead they bowed the knee in reverence to Him. They recognized that indeed He is King.
Frankincense — His Sinless Deity If gold was a gift of wealth for a king, then frankincense was used to worship the King. These wise men recognized the sinless deity of Jesus that was deserving of their worship. (Matthew 2:11) says, “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” There are so many who do not give to the Lord Jesus the worship due His name. The Bible so clearly tells His children that we are to “worship the Lord thy God and serve Him only” (Deuteronomy 6:13). If Jesus is not the Lord God, then this is the ultimate blaspheme. Only God Himself should be the object of our worship. The wise men knew this baby was God, and they fell down in worship of Him. (Isaiah 9:6) states
clearly, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” You see, Jesus was not only born a king, He was God in human flesh. Now, whether the wise men fully understood all of this or not, I don’t know. But I do know that the Holy Spirit impelled them to bring these gifts and the Holy Spirit recorded these gifts. There will be many who read this and say, “Well, I don’t believe that Jesus Christ is God, but I do believe that He was a good man.” What did Jesus say? “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:18). If Jesus Christ is not God, then He is not good by His own words. And if Jesus Christ is a man and only a man, He is a fake, a fraud, and an imposter for He Himself claimed to be God: “Before Abraham was, I Am” (John 8:58). “I AM” is the most sacred name for God and Jesus claimed it for Himself. Myrrh — His Sacrificial Death The third gift the wise men
brought was a valuable gum-like substance called myrrh that was used to embalm the dead. Stop and think of the significance — bringing a child something that would be used to embalm the dead? They did this because they recognized that this little one was born to die. Myrrh was also used as a narcotic to dull pain. (Mark 15:22-23) tells us, “And they bring Him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, the place of a skull. And they gave Him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but He received it not.” There upon that cross, instead of tasting myrrh to numb His pain, Jesus tasted death for every man. And finally, to prepare Him for burial, Nicodemus brought myrrh (see John 19:3840). As I said, I don’t know whether the wise men understood all of this, but I know the Holy Spirit did. And this is not by accident. Of everything that could be listed as gifts to the King, we read they brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh to recognize His sovereign dominion, sacred deity, and sacrificial death. What will you give Jesus this See GIFTS on Page 39
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Five Biblical Examples for Being a Man of God
By John Clark Daniel was a young man of exceptional character, so much so that he stood out from the rest and was noticed by those in authority. Let's all be men of character at home, at church, and at work, so that God will be glorified. We should not do it to be noticed or promoted, but to be pleasing to Him. God may move us into positions of leadership, but if He does or doesn't, we can still be men of character. NOAH: (Genesis 6, and 9:3) Noah was a man of great faith, obedience, and patience in the face of ridicule, during all those years he spent building the ark. God rewarded him by sparing his family from the judgment of the flood. Is there anything in which you and I, as men, need to exhibit great faith and
Table of Contents From the Editor
The Christian Journey
The Transformed Life
The Triumphant Christian
patience? Perhaps it is a situation at home or with our marriage. Let's all be like Noah, no matter how long it may take, to see something through until the end. Our family could depend upon it. PETER: (Acts 2) There was much confusion about why all people were hearing their particular language spoken during Pentecost. Peter took advantage of the situation and boldly proclaimed the Gospel to those gathered, which included some very important people. This resulted in 3000 converts! As men, we can look for opportunities to boldly speak the Gospel. JOSEPH: (Genesis 39) Joseph had become very successful, to the point where he was put in
charge of Pharoah's house. He encountered a problem when Pharoah's wife wanted to lay with him. Joseph immediately ran from the house. He wasn't about to sacrifice his position and reputation by compromising his moral beliefs. Men, do not allow your reputation and in some cases, your ministry, to be ruined by a sexual impulse of the moment. ©2017 FaithWriters.com. All Rights Reserved >
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The Bible provides many examples of what it really means to be a man of God, and there is a practical lesson to learn from each of these stories. DAVID: (I Samuel 17) When David opposed Goliath he did so with courage and confidence. He was determined to put a stop, once and for all, to a leader who was defying his God. Young David had had enough! He knew he was an expert at using a slingshot so he decided to take advantage of it and kill the giant. I am not advocating murder, of course, but as men, we need to stand up for truth, against any person or organization that is seeking to destroy it. We can hold the banner high for truth! DANIEL: (Daniel 1:19, 5:11, 6:3, and 9:3)
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Future for the Family By Dr. Adrian Rogers God's Word says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). God wanted His people to have a "heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!" (Deuteronomy 5:29). Right after that passage in (Deuteronomy 5), Moses records one of the most important passages in the whole book of Deuteronomy – in fact, one of the key passages in the entire Bible. In this passage, (Deuteronomy 6:1 9), God gives us principles and practical strategies for raising families honoring to Him. The Future for the Family Moses teaches us that God promises a future for the family: Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God like us and follow us on facebook for chances to win prizes
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commanded to teach you, that you might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: that thou mightiest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. (Deuteronomy 6:1, 2). In this passage, God promises a future for three generations of the family. The promise begins with the parents and continues with the children and grandchildren. Don't children usually act according to the principles of life they learn from their parents? Plato said, "The life of the nation is the life of the family written large" (paraphrased). A juvenile delinquent is often just a child trying to act like his or her parents. And godly children usually learn their godliness by watching godly parents. The Foundation For The Family (Deuteronomy 6:4,5) says, "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." The foundation for the family is a love for God. That may sound simplistic, but it's true. And profound. Love God with a sincere love – that means with all your heart. Many kids are turned off to God because they see that their parents who profess religion don't really love God with all their hearts. Take the example of Karl Marx. Karl was born into a German Jewish family that attended synagogue faithfully. When Karl was a boy, his father moved the family to another city and another faith. From that day forth, the Marx family went to the Lutheran church. Why did the family suddenly switch faiths? Because his father said it would be easier to make business contacts in the Lutheran church than among the Jews. Karl was so disillusioned by his father's act of hypocrisy that something
died within the boy. When Karl grew up, he moved to England, where he eventually wrote "The Communist Manifesto," the founding document of Communism. In his writings, he called religion "the opiate of the people." Kids know hypocrisy when they see it. They want parents who love God so sincerely that nothing is marked as private from God. The Formula for The Family Parents, you have a responsibility to transmit your faith to your children. It's not the preacher's job, the Sunday school teacher’s job, the college professor's job, it's your job. Here's how God's Word says to do it: And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sitteth in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:6,7) Spiritual training is the family's responsibility. And nobody else can take the family's place. Unfortunately, many families in our day are abandoning that responsibility. God made children to depend on their parents. Regular character education – based on the Bible and the wisdom of parental experience – needs to start when children are young. Francis Xavier, the Catholic educator, said, "You give me the children until they're seven, and anyone can have them after that." Starting spiritual training early is a very important aspect of fulfilling parental responsibilities. © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, P.O. Box 38300, Memphis, TN 38183, www.lwf.org >
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5 Ways to Be Patient and Kind During Holiday Shopping By Angie Lewis It doesn’t have to be an unpleasant task to shop for gifts this year. Before you go out and tackle the world of department stores, relax, take a deep breath, and tell yourself, “I will not be in a hurry. I will be patient and kind to others.” And it will happen! Don’t think of yourself as being “one” with the crowd of other shoppers; be separate from the herd and make your shopping
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enjoyable. 1. Be Kind While Shopping As we all know, holiday shopping can be hectic and grueling. It tends to make some people frustrated and short tempered. The best thing you can do is don’t get nasty back. Put your smile back on and tell yourself, “I will be kind to others no matter how they treat me.” 2. Show Compassion While Waiting In Line You knew better before you went out shopping that there would be three times as many people shopping this time of year. Some of the holiday shoppers do not have patience like you do. Let them go ahead and cut in front of you. Put your smile back on and it will help them to see their rude behavior. By slapping back with rudeness you become just like the herd and you don’t want that. 3. Be Patient While Driving! This one is very important. It involves the safety of yourself as well as others. During the Holidays more people are out driving and they become impatient and begin to drive erratically. The best thing you can do is don’t drive like them. Don’t cut in front of them like they are doing. Always drive defensively! Know ahead of time that people are in a hurry and may cut right in front of you. By driving defensive-
ly it will ensure a safe park back in your garage at night. 4. Be Thoughtful While Shopping In the Malls Malls are the busiest place during the holidays. Before leaving your house, remind yourself again of the crowds and the long lines. Ask God to give you that extra needed patience you will need at this time. Keep your smile on and flash it on someone who is having a bad day. By doing this, not only will it make you feel good but it will also make the person who is having a bad day feel better too. They certainly won’t forget your smile. 5. Let the Mob through First Remember you’re not part of the mob. You just happen to be out shopping on the same day as the herd but you have more patience then they do. Instead of flying up the escalator, dashing into the elevator, or running up those mall steps with the mob, just sit back and let the mob go first. Patience is by far the greatest virtue you can take with you this holiday shopping season. And compassion comes in a close second. Love one another. And have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! © 2002-2017 Heaven Ministries. All Rights Reserved. www.heavenministries.org >
The Publisher shall be under no liability for its failure for any cause to insert an advertisement. The Publisher will not be responsible for errors after the first insertion. Material errors not the fault of the advertiser will be adjusted by not more than one gratis insertion. Advertiser agrees to obtain clippings and tear sheets when the local rates are in effect. Advertiser agrees to protect and indemnify On Eagles Wings Unlimited, Inc., its agents and employees, against any and all liability loss and expenses arising from the publication of the Advertiser’s advertising because of claims for (1) alleged misrepresentation or misstatement; (2) alleged infringement of trademark, trade names, patents or copyrights; (3) alleged violations of fair trade laws; (4) libel and invasion of rights of privacy, (5) other violation of the rights of 3rd party’s or of government rules. The Publisher reserves the right to censor, reclassify, revise, edit or reject any advertisement not meeting the standards of acceptance of the Christian Community. All ads accepted are subject to credit approval. Reproduction of any part of Changing Times without the written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. 8 Christmas 2017
Teaching Children to Choose Life By Charles Stanley In the Bible, we read that God made the world and everything in it (Acts 17:24). The biblical concept of creation is one that your children have been taught since they were in preschool Sunday school. You can build on this truth from Scripture by talking with your children when they hear about personal tragedies, especially suicide. Obviously, the topic of suicide is not one that comes up in everyday dialogue. But it does come to the attention of your children now and then through the news, entertainment, secular music, and occasionally, in your community. The first time your children ask about a topic—whether this subject or something else—make time to talk about it. Don’t put off the discussion, even if the topic makes you a little uncomfortable. You might lose the opportunity to satisfy their curiosity, and you run the risk of them seeking answers from worldly sources. The best thing to do is to respond to your children’s questions as factually as possible without going into more detail than what they are asking of you. Here are a few talking points for conversations about suicide with children: • God creates us and gives us life. It’s not up to people to decide when life is to end; the beginning and ending of life is up to the Lord. In the Ten Commandments, God clearly tells us to not murder (Ex. 20:13). This command prohibits killing others as well as yourself. God’s rule as stated here is to not murder—period. Children understand the concept of
rules as being definite. • God has a plan for each person to fulfill in life. When children are in elementary school, they begin thinking about what they want to do when they grow up. When they share their dreams with you, remind them that God has plans for their lives. An encouraging Bible promise tells us, “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11, NIV). Another great passage from the book of Jeremiah reminds us, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jer. 1:5, NIV). • Remind your children that you love them no matter what! Children need to hear that their parents will always love them regardless of anything disappointing they might do. This type of assurance provides a safety net of unconditional love that helps your children know they’re secure and accepted. Your kids will be more likely to make wise choices—and turn to you for help after making mistakes—if they are secure in your unconditional love. Early in your children’s lives, seek to establish a foundation that the Lord made them, loves them, and has a wonderful plan for their lives. This will lay a solid footing for their thinking for many years to come—one that will encourage them, even when life is tough, to live their lives to God’s glory. © 2017 oChristian.com. All Rights Reserved >
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Christmas 2017 9
The Big Surprise! By Steven Wilson "That's it, isn't it? That's the big surprise," said the man excitedly as he watched his friend stitching his bed. "You're sowing those straps on my bed so that I can go everywhere with you. That's the surprise, isn't it?" The man wanted to jump up from the floor where he lay and hug his friend but his paralyzed body wouldn't let him. "No," said his friend laughing. "This isn't it. It's much better than this. Just you wait and see." He started to hook twine through the straps he had sown in each of the four corners. At that moment, three other men arrived. They saw the bed and nodded in agreement. "That'll do it," they said. "What?" said the paralysed man, nearly bursting with excitement. "Do what? What will it do? Please tell me what the surprise is." "You'll see," said the three as they picked the man off the floor and laid him carefully down on his bed. Each of the four friends took hold of a length of twine, and, facing forward, they hooked it over their shoulder, lifting the bed.
On the count of three, they sped from the house into the dusty town. At great speed, they darted down narrow streets past deserted houses. Without as much as slowing up for the corners, they skidded round each bend. "Wow!" shouted the man. "This is it! This is the big surprise - a crazy, death defying ride through the streets of Capernaum. This is a great surprise!" "No!" shouted the men. "This isn't it. The surprise is much better than this." Soon they arrived outside a building by the lake of Galilee. It was crowded about with people. There was no way through the front door. The four friends looked dejected at the thought of not being able to get inside. Then one of them had a great idea. "The roof," he said and the others agreed. "What are you doing?" said the man as they hauled him up onto the flat roof of the crowded building. "You'll see!" they said as they frantically removed the slates from the roof and dug a big hole to lower him through.
"Is this it? Is this the big surprise?" said the man a little concerned now. "I think I'd rather go on another race through the streets if it's all the same to you." "No!" said his friends as they started to lower him down through the hole. "You'll see." The paralyzed man lay stiffly in the middle of his bed as his four friends lowered him into the building. They set him down right in front of a man who smiled down at him. "So that's the big surprise!" thought the paralyzed man. "Wow! My friends must have so much faith. This really is the best surprise ever," and he looked up into the Face of Jesus. THINK! What sort of surprises do like best? Have you ever helped a friend less fortunate than yourself? Do you think Jesus was happy even though the friends broke the roof? REMEMBER A friend is always worth the effort! A VERSE TO LEARN "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as
thyself" (Matthew 22:39b). LET'S PRAY Dear Lord, please help me to help others. Please teach me to know that it makes You happy when I give my time so that other people benefit. Thank You for the help You give me. In the Name of Jesus. Amen. CAN YOU FIND THIS STORY IN THE BIBLE? (Luke, chapter 5, verses 17-26) Copyright ÂŠ 2017- The Lorain County Free-Net Chapel North Central Ohio, U.S.A. >
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A Family Picture (Author unknown) The scene is a domestic one; the season, winter; the time, night. Supper is cleared away, and the infant, held in papa's arm during the meal, has been restored to her mother, to nestle, and smile, and sleep. John and Charlotte, the elder two children, have drawn pictures on their slates. Alfred and Robert have romped and tussled upon the floor, by turns, shouting with laughter, or crying over short-lived hurts. Papa himself has settled with his glasses to read a paper, while Uncle Frank, weary with the bodily labors of the day, is half asleep in the corner, though with his eyes fixed upon Burns' Poems, and making a halfpretense of reading it. All at once a simultaneous shout arises from the children; there is a throwing down of slates with a bang upon the table, and a rush for the possession of papa's knee. The shout is, "Papa, tell us some stories!" And it is clear from the general look of assurance and the happy little faces, both that this is a very common practice at this time of night, and that the practice is a highly pleasing one, if not to papa himself, at least to his little pets. A squabble for the knee results, as usual, in favor of the youngest, by name Robert, by nature unthoughtful of others; and the other three content themselves with leaning full weight upon the shoulders and limbs of the beleaguered parent, weights that would crush an ox, but do not discompose a father, who rather looks as though he could hold four or five more. "And now who shall pick the first story?" "Sister — begin with her!" "Well, what shall it be about?" "A sailor," says John. "A little girl," says sis. "A panther," says Alf. "A monkey," says Robert. "A little girl it shall be, and so all of you listen with all your might. "Once there was a little girl, about eight years old, named Mary. And there was a lady who was very kind to Mary, and made clothes for her and mended them when torn, and washed them when they needed it. And this lady never seemed tired of taking care of Mary. For when she was only a little baby the lady nursed her. When she was old enough to walk, the lady taught her to walk. She taught her to say her
letters, and to read, and afterwards to write — to sew and to knit. "She gave her a little garden and rose-bushes and flower-seeds to plant in it, and a little hoe to kill the weeds. She taught her how to sing hymns, and night and morning to kneel down at her side to ask God for His blessings. As soon as she got big enough, she sent her to school. She paid a great deal of money to the schoolmaster every session, and bought her a great many books. "Now how do you think this little girl should have treated that kind, good lady?" "She ought to do what she told her to do," says John. "She ought to love her mighty good," says sis. "I'd whip her if she wasn't," says Alf. "Never cry a bit," says Rob. "Well, now, as strange as it may sound to you, that little girl didn't always do what the kind lady told her, and she wasn't always obedient or good. Sometimes she was very naughty; sometimes she would tell lies, sometimes quarrel with others. "Then this good, kind lady, instead of sending the bad girl off, would correct her for being naughty, and ask God to make her better: and then as soon as the little girl was sorry and would try to be good, the lady would kiss her and love her as well as ever. Now, wasn't that lady a most charming good lady?" "Just as good as could be," says John. "The best ever I heard of," says sis. "I would have whipped her harder," muttered Alf. By this time Rob had gone to sleep, and, of course, said nothing. "At last this little girl was taken sick, oh, very sick indeed. She had the fever, and was as sick as she could be. Being sick made her very cross and bad. She would scream aloud at the least noise. She would refuse to take medicine, until they had to pour it down her throat. She lost her senses, and did not know anybody. "But the good, kind lady, never got tired of watching over her, and taking care of her. For more than seven nights she never went to bed, but sat by the side of the sick little girl, from sunset to sunrise. She never got angry with her once. She See FAMILY PICTURE on Page 14
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Christmas 2017 11
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New Year's Resolutions You'll Actually Want to Keep We’ve all done it: Made resolutions to work out regularly, to stick to a budget, to eat better. Those are all great goals. And they can pay off if we stick to them. But the thing about strict resolutions is that when we break them, it can feel like we’ve failed, and it becomes easy to ditch them altogether. That’s why we’ve created this list of 11 New Year's resolutions that everyone should consider making in 2018. These aren’t just based on dos and don’ts, but small habits that can make a difference in our lives—even if we don’t do the best job of always sticking with them (see No. 7). To Spend More Time in Conversations that Matter Too often, days at a time can go by with the conversations we have with our friends, family members and coworkers going no deeper than surface-level chit-chat. Though there’s nothing wrong with joking around, theorizing about the latest episode of Serial or strategizing about fantasy football, if we’re not intentional about regularly engaging in deeper conversations—that challenge us intellectually, spiritually and socially—too often, those types of talks can become increasingly rare. Complaining about something can offer momentary relief from frustrations, but working on solutions to the problems in our world can actually fix the things that are broken. To Complain Less and Do More We’re all guilty of it from time to time: We see something broken—in culture, the Church, the government, in our own personal relationships—and our first instinct is to vent about it instead of thinking of ways we can help change it. Complaining about something can offer momentary relief from frustrations, but working on solutions to the problems in our world can actually fix the things that are broken. To Spend Less Time Worrying Any time spent worrying is time wasted. It’s also counterproductive. As author and activist Corrie ten Boom said in The Hiding Place, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength." To Pray More It’s easy to pray less when we have lots of things to do; but really,
life should work in the opposite way. As Martin Luther once said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” No matter how busy we become, committing to spend more time praying—even if it’s during our commute, when we’re working out or throughout our day—is a key to growing spiritually. To Listen to More New Christian Music Every Week With the rise of platforms like SoundCloud, NoiseTrade, Spotify and Pandora, keeping up with new music releases has never been more involved. But it’s also never been easier to find new artists and get introduced to songs you’ve never heard. Next year, consider making even more margin to check out innovative music and the artists who are shaping culture. To Cut Others Some Slack In the social media era, where everyone’s opinion gets a platform, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of getting angry at our friends over things they say that we don’t agree with. Unfortunately, many times, that same mindset of taking offense at dumb stuff people say or do creeps into real-world relationships, the Church and workplaces. The thing is, most of the time, outrage is overrated. In 2018, commit to be offended less and reserving your anger for issues that really matter. To Cut Yourself Some Slack We’ve all been driven to try to accomplish things but ended up falling short. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all failed. The good news is, God doesn’t expect perfection from us, and we shouldn’t expect it from ourselves. Next year, when you mess up, drop the ball or let people you care about down, do what you can to make it right, but be quick to move on and show yourself the same grace you extend to others. Though being able to take a stand for what you believe is an admirable trait, so is listening to the other side and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. To Read More Good Books In a letter to a friend, C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Clearly, one must read every good book at least once every See RESOLUTIONS on Page 13
Sweeter As the Years Go By By Hymn Stories "The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, 'The LORD is upright--He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him'" (Psalm 92:12-15). For the believer, growing older should mean a greater awareness of God's love and fellowship as well as an increased desire for usefulness in Christian service. The golden years should be the most fruitful time of life. A lifetime of companionship with God ought to produce a mellower and gracious Christ like spirit. Because there are fewer demands and pressures in life, the older Christian can enjoy opportunities for effective ministry that he or she has never attempted. A "do-nothing retirement" must never become the goal of any believer's life. There is nothing more tragic, however, than a professing Christian who has grown disgruntled and self-centered in later years. It is true that as we age we simply bring into full bloom the traits that were begun in our early years. If then, we wish to have positive and productive attitudes as seniors; we must begin to develop these traits while we are still young. This song's author and composer,
Mrs. Lelia Naylor Morris, was an active worker in the Methodist church. She continued to write gospel songs during the last fifteen years of her life, even after becoming blind in her early fifties. "Sweeter as the Years Go By" was written during the early years of her blindness. It is said that during this difficult time in her life, Mrs. Morris used a twenty-eight-foot-long blackboard with music lines to help her in writing hymns. She wrote more than one thousand hymn texts, as well as many of the tunes. She never stopped writing until the time of her home going. Several of Lelia's other gospel hymns still in use include: "What If It Were Today?," "Let Jesus Come into Your Heart," and "Nearer, Still Nearer." Mrs. Lelia N. Morris's handicap and age never deterred her from being productive for God. Despite the difficulties of life, she continued to "bear fruit" and to enjoy a relationship with her Lord that became sweeter with each passing year. What a worthy example for each of us to emulate! "With saints redeemed in glory, let us our voices raise," letting it be known with joy and conviction that our relationship with the Lord becomes "sweeter as the years go by." © 2017 oChristian.com. All Rights Reserved >
RESOLUTIONS Continued from Page 12
in someone else’s shoes. Even if we don’t end up changing our position on an issue, questioning our own long-held presuppositions doesn’t just serve to challenge our beliefs— it can actually strengthen them. To Spend Less Time on Your Phone To Share More Meals with People You Care About We’re all busy. And, the reality is, a lot of times it’s just more convenient to go to the drive-thru, eat lunch at your desk or use dinnertime to catch up on some Netflix. There’s nothing wrong with doing this every once in a while, but when eating on the run becomes a lifestyle, you end up depriving yourself—and others in your life—of moments that could be used to build deeper relationships. Save the Nations Ministries >
10 years.” Considering that there are thousands of “good” books to choose from, Lewis’ advice doesn’t seem all that practical, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful. No matter how much time you currently spend reading, there is even more potentially life-changing wisdom in the pages penned by some of humanity's great minds. All you have to do is take the time to read it. To Challenge Our Own Beliefs More Often Just take a look at recent news headlines, ongoing current events and debates in the Church, and it’s clear to see that we live in polarizing times. Though being able to take a stand for what you believe is an admirable trait, so is listening to the other side and putting yourself
The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer. – Psalm 6:9
Christmas 2017 13
6 Great Ways to Spend Time with the Kids This Christmas By Heather Masson With all the hustle and bustle this time of year, it’s really easy stressed out! One of the things that is really important and we cannot leave out is to take time to relax. Spend time with
the kids and just enjoy them. They are so excited and amazed at the different sites and sounds of Christmas. 1. Go Looking at Christmas Lights — Every year, we load the
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kids up in the mini-van and spend an evening touring around looking at Christmas lights. Some cities even have contests for the best light display. We have houses in our city that the kids can get out and walk around the displays. Santa and Mrs. Clause are available and handing out hot chocolate and candy canes. The kids think this is really cool. 2. Watch a Christmas Movie — Pop some corn, make your best cup of hot chocolate and snuggle up with your kids in a blanket on the sofa with the Christmas tree light on. Spend the night watching Christmas movies. I know for my kids, they don’t even need to be the new release movies. It’s just the time we take from our hectic schedules to spend with them that they will remember. 3. Christmas Baking — You’ve got to do it anyway. Invite the kids to help you one Saturday afternoon. They love it. I know in my house, the kids know there are certain things that they get to help make each year. We’ve made a tradition of it. 4. Christmas Crafts — An
afternoon of Christmas music and craft making is perfect for getting your kids to make presents for Grandma/pa’s and Aunt/Uncles. 5. Decorating the house — We did this last night in fact. I know sometimes it’s hard to include the kids in this. Ornaments are breakable; we have a certain plan for the way we want the house to look. Including them in even a little part of the decorating makes children feel like they’ve helped you and that’s an awesome feeling for kids. 6. Make a Christmas shoebox for less fortunate — This a great way to show your kids that Christmas is a time of giving, and that it’s not just about the toys they get. My kids really look forward to doing this project each year. I think this is one of the most important Christmas activities you can do with your kids. Whatever you choose to do this Christmas season, take time to slow down and enjoy it. After all, isn’t Christmas supposed to be a time for family? ©2017 FaithWriters.com. All Rights Reserved >
FAMILY PICTURE Continued from Page 11
John does not know. He thinks she was a most excellent good woman, but it is very strange she should think so long about Mary after she was dead. "And what do you say, Alf?" Alf thinks Mary must have had a heap of money or something! Or else he don't know why the lady should care so much for her. "And what says little sis to it?" The little girl has a big tear in each eye; and there is a track down each cheek, where a number of them have chased each other. She glances towards her mother, whose eye meets hers, as if there was a mutual understanding between them. Then looking boldly up in the father's face, with the air of one who could solve the difficulty with ease, she answered, "It was her mom! The dear, good lady was her mom!" And sure enough, little girl guessed it! 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 2017 >
would take her out of bed, and hold her in her arms. She mixed her medicines. She prayed to God a thousand times that the dear little girl might get well. Oh, she was a dear, good lady, don't you think so?" "But did the little girl get well?" asked the three. "No; poor little Mary died. After all the kind lady's care, after all her trouble, and watching, and everything — she died. They put her into a coffin and buried her. All the other folks soon forgot that there ever had been such a little girl as Mary. But the dear, good lady never forgot it. No, she never forgot little Mary. She kept all her clothes and her little doll. And she cried and mourned whenever she remembered little Mary. She was never happy again after Mary died. And when she died, which was about five years afterwards, she said she hoped she would find little Mary in Heaven. They buried that kind, good lady by little Mary's side. Now, John, what do you think made that lady love Mary so well, and take so much care of her, and be sorry about her death?"
How a Wife Can Help Her Husband Take His Headship Position
By Angie Lewis What does headship mean to church, not having spot, or wrinkle, Serving the Northshore Since 1983 you? Headship is a position given or any such thing; but that it would Authorized Dealer for to husbands as a means for him to be holy and without blemish." “Everyday Low Prices - All Brand Names Available” lead and manage his home in a (Ephesians 5: 27) Husbands, this is healthy emotional and spiritual your job. This is not your wife's 1806 N. Causeway Blvd. • Mandeville, LA 70471 • 985-626-8538 manner. God commands that hus- job. Take back your God-given role www.tireworldccc.com bands oversee their household by and restore your marriage to God! protecting his wife and family from Woman was created from the man's outside negative influences and to rib, it was not the other way around. care for and love his family in the Adam was created first and then same way that Christ loved and Eve was created as a helpmeet for cared for us, the church. Adam. Now bear with me on this A good example of this is when the true illustration of this is given Jesus overturned the tables of the below. moneychangers in the church. This Does anyone have any idea why was one of the rare occasions when so many marriages are falling apart? Christ showed anger. It angered Well, it is because we aren't managHim that people were buying and ing our marriages according to the selling in the temple of God because Master Designer! God considers it distracted true worshippers from marriage VERY important and this God. "It is written, 'My house shall is why He exploits Christ and the be called the house of prayer; but church as the living symbol of how ye have made it a den of thieves." marriage should be. P L A N T A T I O N (Matthew 21:12-13) God portrays the relationship of 504.245.8221 SouthernOaksPlantation.com Christ Ones are the church, there- Christ being the head of the church fore, we are commanded to lead and and His role as a loving protector manage our marriage according to and sacrifice of himself for her. And certain God-given roles designed by the church's role (Christ Ones) are the Master Himself. Are we manag- subject to Christ through repening our marriage to please God or to tance and receiving forgiveness. please ourselves? Wives who under- (We are subject unto Christ for salmine their husband's headship posi- vation). tion or belittle their husbands are Therefore as the church is subject emotionally and spiritually harming unto Christ, so let the wives be to the marriage significantly. their own husbands in every thing. When Jesus overturned the tables (Ephesians 5:24) Husbands and and cast out the moneychangers wives NEED to read and study the from the church he essentially scriptures together, not just on Suncleansed the church of its corrup- day. If you are ever confused about tion. This is how a husband is to your God-given role in marriage, cleanse his marriage. "Husbands stop and ask yourself these queslove your wives, even as Christ also tions. "How would Jesus run His loved the church, and gave himself church"? "Would Jesus want this for it, that he might sanctify and done in his church'? Am I acting cleanse it with the washing of water like Christ when I do this?" "Am I by the word." (Ephesians 5:25-26) keeping God's commands for marNow, washing of water by the riage if I did this"? Husbands are word means to manage your mar- pastors of their own home. Headship is a lifestyle and this riage according to the precepts and principles of the word of God. Hus- lifestyle is what brings blessings bands are to cleanse their marriage and joys into the marriage relationof impurities just as Jesus cleansed ship. But when we rebel against our the church. This is where headship God-given Christian role, whether comes in. It's not demand-ship, nor it is the wife, the husband, or both, is it control-ship, but it is headship, we corrupt our marriage. Our marwhich means "head or lead" of the riages need cleanse from this corfamily unit in a loving/self-sacrifi- ruption through inner healing of cial manner. Help your wife under- ourselves and then restoration of stand her role through your loving our marriage to God! headship position. See HEADSHIP "That he might present it (the on Page 38 marriage) to himself as glorious I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to Christmas 2017 15 you in prayer. – Psalm 63:4
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Loving the Way God Intended By Angie Lewis How can we love ourselves and others when we are unhappy, depressed, resentful, lonely, addicted, or when we have past issues that haunt us, or when we have a low self worth? How do we break free from the past and start living for the here and now? What we really need to do is address what is holding us back from loving ourselves and loving others. Why are we unhappy, depressed or lonely? Why are we addicted to drugs, sex, or alcohol? Why are we allowing our feelings to control the person inside us? Why do we have a low self-image? Past issues can literally haunt us and steer us further away from God's loving arms where we truly belong. These issues take hold of our minds and tell us it's okay to feel a certain way. For instance, if you were sexually abused as a child, your mind might constantly tell you not to trust men. Or if you were brought up in an alcoholic home environment, you may abuse alcohol yourself. These kinds of past issues will keep us from loving the person we are, which in turn will keep us from being able to fully love others as well. So what can we do? We can put our total trust and faith in our Creator and let Him free us from our heavy burdens. It's really that simple, but yet, the most difficult aspect is humbling ourselves enough to allow God to actually go to work in our lives. We don't need addiction and pride to keep us from loving the person we are. These things are like crutches that only ease the pain for a little while. God already knows what is holding each and everyone of us back from loving. All we have to do is let Him know we are ready for Him to transform us. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew
11:28, 29) What we really need is to have total belief that what Jesus says for us is true. We need to have faith enough to know that when Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened," that he is inviting us into His life so we can finally experience healing and peace for ourselves. Then we can begin living a new fruitful life in God and for God, instead of for ourselves. This means we might need to make some changes in the way we are living now if we want to heal our past and learn to love the way God wants us to love. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) God continually assures us that those who honestly seek Him will be rewarded. Rewarded with what? Rewarded, not only with eternal life in all of its magnificent bliss, but in this life we are now living! Isn't that wonderful news? I encourage all of you who have heavy burdens you are carrying now to strip them away from your hearts and minds and begin acting on your faith and knowledge of God. Love yourselves so you can love others the way God intended for you to love. Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35) © 2002-2017 Heaven Ministries. All Rights Reserved. www.heavenministries.org >
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Our Chart and Compass for This Year
By Leonard Ravenhill Without a qualified guide, no mountain climber would attempt such an ambitious enterprise as the conquest of Mt. Everest. Before he reaches the upper areas of the Himalayas, which are shrouded in mists and blizzards, and have concealed crevices, he must cross a wilderness of ice. Every mountain climber knows there is but a step betwixt him and death. He may have the best climbing gear, his chart and compass may be the last word in efficiency, but still he needs a guide. Modern ships are equipped with radar; some are loaded with sounding gear. Yet they are compelled to carry chart and compass, and at certain points must take a licensed pilot aboard. Dare we as Christians attempt to walk the lonely heights of spirituality in the coming year without the chart of the Word of God and the guide of the Holy Spirit? Is the sea of life that is before us in this year less dangerous than the choppy ocean before the Atlantic liner? It would be a good thing if, at the beginning of what must be a very fateful year in the affairs of men, we would say with the patient Job: "I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12). Once again in many parts of the earth, the Word of the Lord is being blamed, burned, or banned. History is repeating itself. But God's Word
is imperishable and infallible. Even in this super-scientific age we have no apologies to make for the Bible. It is God's final word to man. It is at the present God's only word to man. It is an infallible revelation from an infallible God to fallible man. Any society which obeys the Bible's ten basic commandments can stand. Any society which disobeys these divine decrees will fall - however buttressed with wealth or military might. A few years ago, amid the pomp and circumstance of the coronation of the present Queen Elizabeth of England, there was a pause in the ceremony. Then her Majesty was presented with a copy of the Bible and these words: This is the greatest treasure that earth affords. How true! The blessed Word of the living God is more than a book of texts. It is also a textbook. The Bible is the only textbook which has charted the whole pathway for every man who has his back to the City of Destruction and his face to the City of God. The Christian's pilgrimage is uphill all the way, and the staff upon which he leans is the Word of the Lord. The child of God must bear the burden and heat of the day, and the well of comfort from which he drinks continually is the Word of God. The Christian's way is dark, and the Word alone can be a lamp
unto his feet and a light unto his path. All life has its hazards. Wild beasts of the forest devour each other; cats pounce on mice; dogs kill cats; men kill dogs. Even the silent trees have their enemies. To all "life" there is the ever-present danger of a greater power. The socialist says his enemy is undisturbed wealth. The school teacher seeks to destroy ignorance. Medical science battles with disease. Some wage war with untiring zeal against class distinctions and race-color barriers. The Christian life has more hazards than them all. The Christian knows that to antagonize him and assail his march to heaven there are at least three great powers: the world, the flesh, and the devil. To combat these mighty foes, a merciful God has given us yet three greater powers: the blood of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God. Just now I am thinking particularly of only the third power, the Word of God. A Christian's muscles and sinews will strain under the loads which the Spirit will give. To insure spiritual stamina, each believing burden-bearer must eat the strong meat of the Word. Satan, the enemy of souls, snipes pilgrims from behind some innocent-looking bush. A return volley must be given with the same weapon that the conquering Christ used
-- "It is written." We overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. The sword of the Spirit must be ours too. There is an inner reading of the Word of the Lord. In order to have this, the Holy Spirit, the Author of the Word, comes to indwell the believer and interpret the Word. Jesus said that man cannot live by bread alone. But mankind does not even try to live by bread alone. He drinks at forbidden springs, steals forbidden fruit, and tries to slake his soulthirst with forbidden stimulants. Yet he who has embraced Godmade prohibitions is glad that the Spirit himself, the Teacher, the Eternal Wisdom, condescends to take of the things of Jesus and reveal them to US. The only problem in Christianity is living it. The best Christian is not necessarily a theologian with a mind as keen as a razor. To live the life that God honors, we must first read the Word, and then we must obey it. This means that we must practice the Word, that knowledge must be transferred into action. "Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only," said our great Teacher. Therefore, in this coming year of 2018, let us read the Bible to be wise, let us practice the Bible to be holy, and let us obey the Bible to be blessed! >
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Christmas 2017 17
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18 Christmas 2017
Do you want to launch this New Year with a better attitude? Be content, hopeful, optimistic, cheerful and refreshing to others, come what may? Do great things for Christ? Win souls? Reach teens? Care for an invalid or a bevy of preschoolers? With God, nothing is impossible; and He can display His strength through you. By ourselves, we cannot influence lives, overcome bad habits, build churches, convert souls, manage our tempers, appetites, or finances in a godly way. There's nothing we can do for Christ in our own power. But Jesus and us-well, that's a different story. We can proclaim with Paul, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). Paul wasn't talking about preaching to vast crowds, planting large churches, or wielding great influence, though God also allowed him to do those things. He was saying, "I can fulfill God's will through Christ's strength. I can do whatever He commands; indeed, I can even be content in chains." Impossible Quotes This secret has fueled the lives of God's workers in every generation. Thomas à Kempis, the medieval German monk, wrote, "O Lord, let that which seems naturally impossible to me become possible through Your grace." Commentator Matthew Henry said, "In all conflicts, let us remember that with God nothing is impossible; and as we read and hear His promises, let us turn them into prayers." Missionary Amy Carmichael told her workers, "When you are facing the impossible, you can count on the God of the impossible." Missionary statesman J. Oswald Sanders, wrote, "(God) encourages us to ask as freely for the impossible as for the possible since to Him all difficulties are the same size-less than himself." Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest, "When once we see Jesus, He does the impossible thing as naturally as breathing." The dean of American prayer writers, E. M. Bounds, wrote, "Faith does the impossible because it brings God to undertake for us, and nothing is impossible with God." Chuck Swindoll said, "The One
who directed that stone in between Goliath's eyes and split the Red Sea down the middle and leveled that wall around Jericho and brought His Son back from beyond takes delight in mixing up the odds as He alters the inevitable and bypasses the impossible." Evangelist Michael Guido preached, "You cannot bring a burden too heavy for God to lift or a problem too hard for Him to solve or a request too big for Him to answer. God does things no one else can do." Charles Spurgeon, the Victorian Prince of Preachers, once thundered from his pulpit, "When you are dealing with Him who is omnipotent, faithful, and true, the things that seem utterly impossible will be those most likely to happen." Charles Wesley, studying Abraham's faith as described in (Romans 4:13), wrote a hymn of eleven verses about it, the most popular stanza of which says: Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, And looks to (God) alone; Laughs at life's impossibilities, And cries, "It shall be done!" And listen to this quote by Warren Wiersbe: "Our faith is not really tested until God asks us to bear what seems unbearable, do what seems unreasonable, and expect what seems impossible." Take one of these "impossible quotes" and make it your slogan for the new year. Learn to leave room for God and to partner with Him, for He alone can storm the impregnable, devise the improbable, and perform the impossible. "For with God..." Perhaps you have a problem only God can solve, and this is the year to trust it into His super-capable hands. Or perhaps God has called you to begin a new ministry. Look for situations where you can have an impact. Look for lives you can influence. Seek out places where you can serve. The word "impossible" isn't found in heaven's dictionaries. Trust God for the impossible-miracles are His department. Our job is to do our best, letting the Lord do the rest. He never gives in, ... we two shall win, ... Jesus and me. This article was excerpted from Turning Points, Dvr. David Jeremiah's devotional magazine. Call Turning Point at 1-800-947-1993 for your complimentary copy of Turning Points.>
The Value of a Christian Education By Ben D. Haindel Northlake Christian School Middle School Principal Imagine if you were to commit 1,000 hours of your time and effort toward a noble pursuit such as healthy exercise or learning a new language. There is no doubt you would become an expert and encompass all there was to know about the topic in which you poured your energy and time. Did you know that in their lifetime, our children spend approximately 15,000 hours as a student in school? Think about the friends, academics, athletics, clubs, arts, field trips, textbooks, videos, and websites our children are influenced by throughout elementary school, junior high, and high school. Children who grow up in religious homes spend approximately 1,600 hours in church. Will what they learn during those crucial hours in church be enough to keep them faithful in their relationship with the Lord? A recent quote from the LGBT Educational Network stated, “If we do our jobs right, we are going to raise a generation of kids who don’t believe the claims of the religious right. When we capture the kids, we
will own the world and the future.” Where is this battle being waged for the hearts and minds of our kids? The war is taking place each and every day in the classrooms of every school across America. The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). A Christian education is crucial for developing a Biblical worldview within our children. Rather than being defined by the world’s fleeting values of popularity, athleticism, beauty, or wealth; a Christian education points students toward their true value and worth according to God’s Word. As students progress through a Christian education, they are presented with truths and absolutes from the Bible as opposed to the subjective values of the world. They are presented with the evidence of a Creator and His purpose for desiring a relationship with man. Children come to realize their sinful nature and the salvation that is offered through faith in Jesus Christ. A young person who knows their
identity in Jesus Christ is not swayed by the temptations of the world. A follower of Christ can stand strong in the face of adversity because of the hope he/she has in their faith in Christ. When the storms of life come and the waters of doubt rise, a man or woman who is strong in their faith will not be swayed but will stand “like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers” (Psalm 1:3). Though the battle is fierce, be encouraged. Jesus said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We must be cautious, but we must embrace the fight for our children’s minds. The victory is ours. As a product of and current administrator at Northlake Christian School, I can attest that our mission is to assist the Christian community in providing a Christcentered environment in which faith can be integrated with learn-
Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw His unfailing love from me. – Psalm 66:20
ing. NCS provides children with a loving, encouraging and challenging education where they can come to know the character and person of the Lord Jesus Christ and can grow to achieve their fullest potential with an emphasis on affirming their knowledge of the Word of God and their preparation for good works to the glory of God. Someone will influence our children. A Christian education encourages your child to grow in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man. As parents, we are given the responsibility of raising our children in accordance with Biblical truth. A Biblical worldview best explains the world and gives hope to a child that will impact him or her eternally. That is a priceless investment.>
Christmas 2017 19
Health 4 New and Unique Ways to Reduce Stress By Dr. Don Colbert Everyone knows the usual ways to reduce stress, but how about trying some unusual ways to reduce stress? After all, the more stress management techniques you have at your disposal, the less stressed you’ll be. (1) Make it a comedy night Watch a funny movie or go to a comedy club, whatever it takes to make you laugh out loud. Research has shown that merely anticipating a laugh can jump-start healthy changes in your body by reducing your levels of stress hormones which have been linked to obesity, heart disease and memory impair-
ment, to name just a few. Laughing also lowers blood pressure and boosts immune function. It does all of this by increasing the levels of infection-fighting cells that produce antibodies to disease. (2) Volunteer When you only care about yourself, you lose that connection with your sense of care and concern for others - which sets the stage for stress. Focus on others and help them solve their problems, and you'll reduce your stress. In addition, research has shown that socializing releases oxytocin, a chemical that can help combat stress hormones and lower your blood pressure. Whatever you decide to get out there and do, just knowing you're not alone can go a long way toward coping with stress.
(3) Drink orange juice Studies show that vitamin C can reduce levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, while strengthening the immune system. In a German study, researchers subjected 120 people to a stressing event: a public speaking task combined with math problems. Half of those studied were given vitamin C, and the other half were not. Signs of stress - such as elevated levels of cortisol and high blood pressure - were significantly greater in those who did not get the vitamin supplement. Of course, drinking orange juice isn’t the only way to get vitamin C. It is commonly found in many fruits and vegetables, and can also be taken as a supplement. (4) Switch brain hemispheres Depending on what you’re doing at any given moment you rely more heavily on either the left or right side of your brain. If what you’re doing is stressing you out, you can reduce stress by switching to an activity that primarily uses the other hemisphere of your brain. For example, if the source of your stress is centered in the creative and emotional right hemisphere, then change to a task that requires more of your left hemisphere to kick in, such as math, a Sudoku puzzle,
organizing something or performing some other task that requires linear, sequential thinking. If the stress is a result of being time pressured or overworked, chances are your left brain hemisphere is stressed. In this case, do a right-brain activity - like engaging in play, drawing, playing a musical instrument or another creative outlet. This entry was posted in Health Tips by Dr. Don Colbert. 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. ©2017 Dr. Don Colbert, MD P www.drcolbert.com >
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How to Stay Healthy While Fasting
By Dr. Don Colbert While there are many reasons and traditions relating to fasting, any such activity should never be taken lightly, or without proper preparation. As always, consult with your physician beforehand, and remember these five healthy guidelines for fasting. (1) Remember fluids Should you choose to avoid food for any length of time, you will still need to keep yourself hydrated. The human body can function fairly well for up to three days without food, but you shouldn't go even a few hours without water or juice. (2) Keep it short After about three days without food, the body will go into starvation mode - and this may happen in less than three days if you begin without a big meal before your fast. It takes about a day for the body to run through stored carbohydrates, and then your body will start to burn fat and protein for energy. Burning fat may sound tempting, but around the third day, it leads to a buildup in the bloodstream of acids known as ketones - a condition known as ketosis, which can result in nausea, dizziness and stomach pain, along with severe bad breath. As days turn to weeks, it eventually leads to organ damage. While a two- or three-day fast might not be dangerous, even just a few hours without calories will impact
you mental and physical performance. (3) Don't fast to lose weight As stated at the beginning of this article, there are many reasons and traditions for fasting, but losing weight should never be one of them. Basically, fasting to lose weight is not a good idea because starvation leads the body to absorb all the fat and oil that you eat later, which may actually lead to weight gain. (4) Prepare your body A few days before your fast begins: stop eating foods with high caffeine and sugar content; begin drinking more water than usual. The day before your fast begins: eat something small every two hours; avoid foods with caffeine and salt; drink plenty of water. The meal before your fast begins: plan the menu of this meal to contain high carbohydrate and low salt foods; sit down for the meal at least an hour before the fast begins so there is no rush to eat quickly; do not eat too much in the meal before the fast, but drink plenty of water. (5) Fasting isn't for everyone Some people should never fast: pregnant women, diabetics or anyone on medication that needs to be taken with food - not to mention anyone else with a medical condition that requires regular food intake. And, people younger than 18 should also never fast, as they are still growing and developing. Additionally, at younger ages, fasting can set up psychological issues with food. This entry was posted in Health Tips by Dr. Don Colbert.>
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Financial Say No to Creating Business Partners Dear Dave, I own a moving business, and I have a good, smart employee, who is currently my general manager, and he wants to invest in the company. We’re growing and doing pretty well right now, but we could still use the money. How would you suggest that I structure things? - Daniel Dear Daniel, You’re not going to like my answer, because I wouldn’t do this deal. You’ve got a nice company right now that’s making money and growing. Just be patient and let it grow. Don’t rush things. If you bring in a partner it’s liable to complicate everything. This person is going to develop a whole new set of opinions on how things should be done. I’ve got a close friend, who is older and wiser than I am, and he’s got a great saying: “The only ship that won’t sail is a partnership.” I tend to agree with that, because when you take on a partner you end up being joined at hip. You’re not just getting the business side of the guy. You’ll be stuck with all the personal baggage and problems that could interfere with the business, too! Let’s separate this into two
issues. On one hand you’ve got a quality employee, and you’d like him to help you carry the load. So, maybe it’s time for you to build your first layer of leadership. That means it’s time to delegate. This guy is obviously responsible and someone you trust. Take it to the next level and develop the relationship even more. You want to be on the same page about everything with him, even to the point that he can finish your sentences and know what you want done in every situation. You could even reward him for this by cutting him in on the profits. That way, you give him the emotional ownership and desire to carry the load with you. The second issue is all about how to grow, and the word to remember is slowly. Buy used equipment, pay cash for everything, and stay away from debt. You’re probably going to see some good things happen if you just stay calm and run this thing lean and clean. Then, set aside a percentage of your profits each year for additional trucks, new crew members and things like that. You won’t be an overnight success, but you’d rather be the tortoise than the hare. Remember that story? The tortoise wins every time! - Dave
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22 Christmas 2017
Dave Says Financial Straight-Talk by Dave Ramsey www.davesays.com
Christmas is about giving Dear Dave, We’re new parents, and we were wondering if you have any advice on how to teach children that Christmas is not a gift-giving free-for-all. - Lauren Dear Lauren, This is a great question. I think one of the best things you can do is teach kids from an early age exactly what Christmas is all about. It’s not about kids being consumers and getting everything they see. First and foremost, Christmas is a spiritual holiday. It’s about celebrating the birth of Christ! Christ came into this world because God chose to give his only son. So, Christmas is about giving,
not receiving. You need to talk about this concept a lot. Now, how long will that stick in their heads after they’re confronted with Saturday morning cartoons and malls full of bright, shiny things that make noise? Probably not long. That’s why you need to have the “giving” talk early and often – not just when Christmas rolls around. The only way you win at this parenting thing is through death by a thousand cuts. You just don’t stop teaching, and finally you wear them down and hope some of your good advice sticks in their heads! - Dave * For more financial help please visit daveramsey.com. > * Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 5 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.
3 Money-Smart Reasons to Downsize Your Home By Dave Ramsey The latest craze in housing is no small feat. The tiny house movement has taken downsizing to a whole new level. Build your own 150-square-foot haven for around $20,000, and say goodbye to your mortgage! Sounds great as long as you don’t mind composting toilets and bumping elbows for the next few years, right? Of course, you don’t have to go to these extremes to save a few bucks. Most American families have plenty of room to size down without cramping their style. Consider the numbers: The average single-family home built in 2013 was nearly 2,600-square-feet. You may not think that’s too big until you look back at history. In 1950, the average home size was less than 1,000-squarefeet, and families were bigger back then. By those standards, today’s homeowners are living large. Moving into a smaller home may feel like a step down, but a closer look reveals quite a few upsides. Less Is More One question we always hear when the topic of downsizing comes up is, “Where will I put all my
stuff?” Here are a few ideas: your neighborhood yard sale, eBay or Craigslist. That’s right. Sell it and take that money to the bank, baby! Sure, a smaller home means less space. But it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep. Think of all the fun you could have if you didn’t have to polish your miniature unicorn collection every weekend. You just might find a whole new world outside your door. Shrinking your square footage might mean your family has to gather around one TV at night, instead of spreading out across three or four different rooms (Gasp!). But is more time with the ones you love really all that bad? Let’s Cut to the Financial Chase Still not convinced? Then it’s time to bring out the big guns and talk money. What if you reduced your mortgage by $500 a month, and put that cash toward other financial goals? Here are just a few of the strides you could make: • Attack Your Debt Snowball. If you’re working hard to kick debt to the curb, downsizing can help you
maintain that gazelle intensity. Let’s say you owe $18,000 on your student loan. With a six percent interest rate, and a minimum payment of $200 a month, you’re on track to pay it off by July 2024. But throw an additional $500 at your loan each month, and you’d trim a whopping seven years and eight months from your pay-off date. Sallie Mae will have to find a new place to live, because you’ll be free from student debt by November 2019! • Boost Your Retirement Fund. Once you’re debt-free with a fully funded emergency fund, it’s time to build wealth for the future. Dave recommends investing 15 percent of your household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement plans. If you’re still working your way up to 15 percent, that extra $500 could be the push you need to get there. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1 to1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years. You can do a lot of living and giving with that nest egg! • Pay Off Your Mortgage. Want to downsize Dave’s way? Trade in your mortgage for a paid-off home!
Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down. If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage, and put at least 10 to 20 percent down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly mortgage payment. At 4 percent interest, you could pay off a $200,000 home in less than 10.5 years — saving over $22,000 in the process! Is Downsizing Right for You? Downsizing might not make sense in every situation, but it’s worth a look if saving money and simplifying life appeals to you. Ask an experienced real estate agent to help you determine what your home is worth and show you options for cutting costs down to size. A true pro knows what it takes to get top dollar for your current home and negotiate the best deal on a new one. *Used with permission from daveramsey.com. For more information, visit www.daveramsey.com/ elp. >
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The Attitude of Gratitude By Nancy Leigh DeMoss
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After more than two decades of ministry to hurting people, I have come to believe that a failure to give thanks is at the heart of much, if not most, of the sense of gloom, despair, and despondency that is so pervasive even among believers today. Furthermore, many of the sins that are plaguing and devastating our society can be traced back to the oftundetected root of unthankfulness. The “attitude of gratitude” is something that desperately needs to be cultivated in our hearts, our homes, and our society. Its presence brings a host of other blessings, while its absence has profound, lethal repercussions. Consider with me some of the contrasts between a grateful and an ungrateful heart: A grateful person is humble, while ingratitude reveals pride. The grateful person feels a great sense of unworthiness: “I have so much more than I deserve.” But an ungrateful person says, “I deserve so much more than I have.” I have always been impressed by the grateful spirit of Ruth the Moabitess. Widowed after less than a decade of marriage, an impoverished stranger in a foreign land, and “condemned” to live with her embittered mother-in-law, Ruth sought a way to support herself and Naomi. When she was discovered by Boaz, who extended to her the right to glean in his fields, she fell all over herself trying to express gratitude for his gracious gesture: “Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?” (Ruth 2:10, kjv). Under similar circumstances, I might have been more likely to think, or even say to others, “It’s the least he could do!” But the humility of this young widow is seen in her response of gratitude to the least little kindness shown her by another. A grateful person is a loving person who seeks to gratify and bless others, while an ungrateful person is bent on gratifying himself. One of the most common end results of ingratitude is the sin of moral impurity. The man or woman who is not thankful for the way God has met his or her needs easily
begins to falsely accuse and find fault with our good God. In rejecting the provision God has already made, the ungrateful person is only one small step away from seeking to get his needs met in illegitimate ways. A grateful heart is a full heart, while an unthankful heart is an empty one. No matter how little he may actually have compared with others, a grateful person enjoys a sense of fullness. But no matter how much a person may in fact have, if he is not a thankful person, he will live with a gnawing sense of emptiness. I picture an unthankful heart as being something like a container with a hole in it that causes all its blessings to leak out. The grateful person has unlimited capacity to truly enjoy God’s blessings, while the ungrateful person can’t enjoy the blessings he does have. The apostle Paul provides us with a powerful illustration of this principle. The Book of Philippians is a thank-you note, written to express gratitude for what the believers in Philippi had done to minister to Paul’s material needs while he was traveling and planting churches. Having expressed his heartfelt appreciation for their most recent gift, Paul, writing from a Roman prison and deprived of all but the barest of necessities, made a remarkable statement: “I have all, and abound: I am full” (Phil. 4:18)! Who but a grateful person could have assessed his incarcerated condition with those words? A grateful person is easily contented, while an ungrateful person is subject to bitterness and discontent. Years of counseling with people who are chronically unhappy, depressed, frustrated, and emotionally unstable have convinced me that these “disorders” often stem from an unthankful heart, regardless of any external circumstances that may appear to provide an explanation. An ungrateful person holds tightly to his “rights” and sets himself up for hurt and disappointment when God or others fail to perform according to his expectations. But the individual who has yielded all his rights to God sees all of life through thankful eyes and has no See GRATITUDE on Page 33
Godly Preparation for Personal Revival Are you consumed with passion for Jesus so much so that you are living a "God-intoxicated" life? (II Chronicles16:9) says that, "The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." God is searching for willing servants not necessarily capable or qualified ones that He might employ in His service. Will you answer His call as Isaiah did when He volunteered, "Here I am. Send me!"(Isaiah 6:8) A deep relationship with the Lord always begins with a humble heart. The sands of time are strewn with the wrecks of the broken lives of many who were once mightily used of God, but who suffered shipwreck upon the rocks of spiritual pride. (James 4:6) says that "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." If you want God's favor, you need to seek His face. And if you want to be used of the Lord, you need to cease operating on fleshly ability and striving for applause and accolades. Instead, you need to pray that God will
reveal Himself to you and fill you with His power so that you "will decrease, and He will increase." (John 3:30) Faith also must be cultivated in your life if you want to be used by the Lord and to know Him more intimately. In fact, Scripture says that "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6). God takes great pleasure in individuals who trust Him wholeheartedly and willingly entrust their lives to Him. Only two occurrences in Scripture mention that Jesus was amazed. The first incident is in (Mark 6:46) where it was recorded that Jesus "could not do any miracles [in his hometown], except lay hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith." The second is in (Luke 7:6-9) when Jesus encounters the centurion who asks him to heal his servant by the power of the spoken word from a distance. After hearing his request the Bible says that Jesus "was amazed at him" and said, "I
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Personal Revival tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." Both instances deal with either the presence of great faith or lack thereof. Which category of belief would Jesus be amazed to see in your life? To develop a greater passion for God, we must also repeatedly enter our "prayer closet" earnestly seeking Him. Prayer is vital in the pursuit of the Lord and His holiness. A mighty man or woman of God cannot attain Holy Spirit power other than through the disciplines of prayer and Bible study. (Romans 12:12) says that we are to be "faithful in prayer," and Paul writes that we are to "pray about everything" and "without ceasing" (Philippians 4:6 and I
Thessalonians 5:17). In other words, your life should be centered around, rooted in and guided by prayer. If Jesus used prayer as His lifeline to the Father then so should we. Smith Wigglesworth said, "I believe God's ministers are to be flames of fire, nothing less than flames, nothing less than mighty instruments with burning messages and with hearts full of love." (Deuteronomy 4:24) says that "The Lord your God is a consuming fire." Ask Him today to fill you up with His presence and set you ablaze for Him so that others might see the glory of God through your life. Save the Nations Ministries >
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Lord, I Need a PERSONAL Revival “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.” (Psalm 51:10-13). Friend, it’s time for revival. For too long the church of Jesus Christ has just coasted along on cruise control, content to just get to Heaven, but that’s not going to cut it any longer. I’m not content with where I’m at in my relationship with the Lord. I’m not content with where our churches are at, spiritually speaking. It’s time to get beyond the blessing mentality that hit the churches in the 80’s, that said, “My name’s Jimmy, so gimme gimme gimme.” It’s time to realize that God didn’t save us from hell just so we could be healthy, wealthy, successful and prosperous. If that’s all Christianity is about, then I’m walking away from it right now. God has bigger plans for us than that. It’s not about survival, it’s about revival. It’s not about preservation, it’s about transformation. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2). God doesn’t want us to bury our heads in the sand while the world goes to hell in a hand basket, and just hang on until Jesus returns. God wants us to be set on fire with a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit, and to confront the wickedness of our world with the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our world needs a Holy Spirit revival. It will start within the heart of you and me, when we get sick and tired of the status quo, the average, the ordinary, and the mundane. God has created us to live supernatural lives, infused with the Holy Spirit’s power, to turn our world upside down (or right side up, whichever the case may be). Lord, let us never be the same again. Are you in the same place that I’m in? Do you recognize your need for a personal revival? Do you recognize that there are parts of your heart that you haven’t totally surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus
Christ? God has created us to do something great for Him – to serve His purposes in our generation, just like King David, Elijah, Daniel and Abraham did in their generations. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1). God wants to use you to make a difference in your world. He wants to use me. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? It’s not the golden or silver vessels that God’s looking for, but willing vessels. Are you willing to pour out your life as a sacrifice for the Lord? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to bring glory to God in our generation? Then let’s pray this prayer together: Search me, O God, and know my heart, and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Give us new, steadfast and faithful hearts, Lord. Make us holy. Help us to live every day in your presence, for your glory, to see your Kingdom established in the Earth. Forgive us of our sins, our lukewarm-ness, and our compromise. Empower us to make a difference in our world for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, amen. Pastor Chris Jordan >
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After Christmas, What Remains? By Pastor Doug Gilford Christmas time is here again. There is a collective sigh of relief as Americans, for the most part, slow down just enough to take time-off and spend it with their loved ones. Some days, it feels like the whole year is just a crescendo to December 25th. Then it’s easy coasting to December 31st until, out of nowhere, January 1st is suddenly upon us like a lion; a new year, new work, and new worries. There is also a lot of preparation during this time of year — Endless shopping to find the right gifts at the right price, making sure no one is forgotten. Then there is the cooking and cleaning of the house waiting for our families to arrive. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself the following question? When Christmas is over, what remains? For many, the answer is a fridge full of leftovers. For others, there may be the additional overflowing garbage cans full of boxes and torn up giftwrapping. Still for
others, watching the children playing with their new toys against the backdrop of blinking lights on the tree. Sometimes I allow myself to think of the first Christmas when God sent Jesus Christ to earth as a baby born to a virgin. I think of the prep work God had to do: the selection of a country – Israel. The selection of a city for the Child to born in – Bethlehem. The selection of the perfect mother and father to raise the infant Jesus. When we read the Bible from Genesis to Matthew, we can easily see the preparation for the arrival of God’s Son. Consider all the human drama surrounding the birth of Christ. The census that was being taken forced Mary and Joseph, nine months into her pregnancy, to travel to Joseph’s home. The drama that unfolded with Herod’s order to kill newly born babies. Not to mention the fact that Mary’s betrothed husband, Joseph didn’t understand how or why she was pregnant — almost leaving her. An angel of the Lord had to appear and basically tell him,
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The Christian Journey “Take Mary as your wife. It’s is a God thing.” That’s drama! God was busy setting the stage for Jesus. As quickly as my mind thinks of the overwhelming event planning being masterfully executed that spanned thousands of years and hundreds of miles, involving millions of people, the question comes to me. After all that work, what remained? After the Christmas birth, what was left? I contend that the question is still be asked and answered every year in our homes as well. After Christmas, what remains? Just like on the day after the birth of our lovely Savior, the presence of Christ remains. Think about it. God sent His Son to Earth. His Spirit is with us, even now at the close of 2017. So, no matter how wonderful (or horrible) your year has been, Jesus is here. He is here for you. To appreciate the fact that Jesus’ presence is important to mankind, one would have to imagine the spiritual drought that the Old Testa-
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The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayers of the righteous. – Proverbs 15:29
ment world was facing. The people of the Old Testament did not talk to God directly, nor did God speak directly to people overall, but through prophets and priests. The birth of Christ brought an end to the wall of separation between humans and God. When God sent angels to speak to lowly, insignificant Shepherds, God was saying, “I am going to speak to the nobodies of this world.” It is no wonder that John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Jesus, the Word of God, still speaks to man today. We can hear God on our own – when we listen. Something else that remains after each Christmas is the Purposes of Christ. These purposes are forever and eternal. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) Jesus is talking about a life that has purpose — His purposes lived out in us. See AFTER CHRISTMAS on Page 38
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Mary's Little Lamb By Adrian Rogers "And she brought forth her first born Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. . . . For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:7, 11) A little lamb was born in Bethlehem. The great I AM was born a lamb. Most of us would never have heard of Bethlehem, a village south of Jerusalem, had not a little Lamb been born there. But His birth there was not accidental. It had been prophesied for centuries. "But thou Bethlehem, Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee Merry Christmas to our loyal Customers
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shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2) Did you know that for centuries Passover lambs were raised in Bethlehem? In those shepherds' fields outside Bethlehem, a very special breed of sacrificial lamb was raised and nurtured to be brought to Jerusalem at Passover to be slaughtered to cover the people's sins. How fitting that Mary's Lamb, God's perfect Lamb, the Lord Jesus, would be born there! And He was born in a stable. How fitting that a sacrificial Lamb would be born in a stable! This Lamb came to be the final Passover lamb, the one sacrificed for sin forever. Your destiny, my destiny, the destiny of the world was wrapped up in Mary's little Lamb. He did not have His beginning that night in Bethlehem, however. Mary's Lamb is the Lord of heaven, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. He is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), prophesied centuries before His birth. Exodus chapter 12 tells us that God's plan for redeeming His people Israel from Egypt was a plan wrapped up in a lamb. In stark contrast, the symbol of Egypt, worn on the crown and scepter of the Pharaohs, was a coiled serpent. In this battle we see a gentle Lamb and a venomous, hissing, poisonous serpent. Of all of Earth's creatures, the most gentle, meek, and defenseless is a lamb. It has no fangs,
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no claws, it cannot run, it cannot fight, and it can frighten nothing. A lamb seems to say, "Are you hungry? Eat me. Are you cold? Shear me." A lamb seems to present itself to the slaughter. What a picture of the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of Bethlehem Who said, "No man taketh it (my life) from Me, but I lay it down..." (John 10:18). When brought before His accusers, he "opened not His mouth." In Exodus 12 God said, "Take the lamb's blood and put it on the doorposts and lentil of the house. My angel of judgment is coming through the land of Egypt, but when I see the blood, I will pass over you." Now, they could have put a perfect living lamb outside that door, but it would have done no good. Salvation does not come from the life of Christ but from the death of Christ. Salvation is not learning lessons from the life of Christ, but receiving life from the death of Christ. "When I see the blood, I will pass over you," for the Bible says, "Without shedding of blood, there is no remission." (Hebrews 9:22) What a wonderful Savior we have in Mary's Lamb, the Son of God born that first Christmas night! Jesus came as He did, born of a virgin, to be what He was, sinless.
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He was what He was, sinless; to do what He did, die for our sins. And He died for our sins so that He, being what He was, might make us what we were not: children of God! He was a special Lamb, a slain Lamb, a saving Lamb, "...Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us." (1 Corinthians 5:7) May I ask you a question? In this Christmas season, have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Mary had a little Lamb. His fleece was white as snow. Son of God from Heaven above: for sinners here below. Mary's Son, Eternal God, He is the Great I Am, With wool so white on Christmas night became a little Lamb. Mary had a little Lamb. His fleece was white as snow. That spotless Lamb was crucified to pay the debt I owe. Oh, spotless Lamb, with wool so white, Thy crimson blood, I know, Can take away my crimson sin, and wash me white as snow. © 2017 Love Worth Finding Ministries, P.O. Box 38300, Memphis, TN 38183, www.lwf.org >
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Mourning Turned to Joy Are you going through a period of mourning? A loved one passing away, a marriage falling apart, a rebellious teen choosing a path of destruction for his/her life are just a few reasons to mourn. The world is so full of violence, destruction and sudden deaths that few people are spared completely. If you're not mourning personally, chances are you're somehow involved in feeling someone else's pain. Mourning is a natural phenomenon necessary to allow the emotions to be released. Depending on the emotional state of the person, the circumstances, and customs, the duration of grief varies greatly. The longer the mourning period lasts; however, the harder it can be to pull out of it without drugs or therapy. But, I want to share the good news that there is someone who can heal your sadness and turn it into joy. Jesus has come to comfort all that mourn and to give them "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." (Isa. 61: 2 - 3) Do you know that God will raise you up when you are bowed down and give you the desires of your heart? He will hear the cry of those who know Him and trust in His Word, and save them from their distress. (Ps. 145: 14 - 19) God is good. In fact, that is who He is. He is the definition of ultimate goodness. There is no evil in Him. He cannot give what He does not have. Evil is personified by the god of this world. As long as you live in this world, evil and death are all around you.
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"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." But you, my friend, can rise above it all by casting your cares upon Him, because He cares for you! He will heal, strengthen and exalt you! (1 Pet. 5: 6 - 10) It is comforting to know that Jesus himself suffered and was subject to all the grief you are going through. Having humbled Himself to come down to earth as a man, He deeply understands your sorrows! (Heb. 3: 16 - 18) If you have made Him Lord of your life, then you know that Jesus Christ has conquered death once and for all. Rejoice, therefore, that your name is in the Lamb's Book of Life. Call upon Him and He will give you rest. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Ps. 147: 3) Go to your Father as a child and ask Him to comfort you. Seek His face; tell Him all about your sorrow. Don't just assume He already knows it. That's true, but He wants to have a relationship with you. He does not force Himself in your life, even to bring blessings. He wants you to come to Him and tell Him everything that's on your heart. He will not only hear you and talk with you, but guide you in all things. Even when your parents turn their back on you, He will pick you up! (Ps. 27: 8; 10) Trust me. There is no one on earth more loving, giving, understanding, beautiful, wise and everpresent to you than He is. Soon you will be singing praises to Him in thanksgiving for turning your mourning into dancing and filling you with gladness! (Ps. 30: 11-12) www.christiannotepad.com>
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Transformation And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us who believe? The objects of the divine power here intended, are believers in Christ; which distinguishes this power from that which was put forth in creation, and from that which will be displayed in the resurrection of the dead, and from the power of divine wrath, which will appear in the damnation of sinners. It shows, that this power is that which is exerted in the implantation of faith, and in the continuance of it, and in the finishing of that work; and that this is a great power, an exceeding great one, a super eminent one; which is attended with energy and effectiveness. It is irresistible and undefeatable: the greatness of this power as displayed in the work of conversion and faith appears, if it be considered what the work itself is called, a creation, a resurrection from the dead, regeneration, and a transformation of the old man into a new man. In order to be transformed, we require almighty power. Some things are removed, Satan is driven
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out, the stony heart is taken away, the hostility is slain, the old man is put down from his throne, and put off with his deeds; and there are some things shaped. Christ is formed in the soul, His grace is implanted, His image is stamped on, a new heart is given, and principles of light and life, of grace and holiness are put in place. The understanding is enlightened, the will is subdued, the affections are set on other objects, and the mind and conscience are cleansed and purified; and the means of this are the ministers, and ministry of the word, which are weak, foolish, and distasteful, in the eyes of men; to which may be added, the opposition made both from within and from without, from a sinful heart, a tempting devil, and an ensnaring, reproaching, and persecuting world. This is done so that this work of faith cannot be ascribed to anything short of the exceeding greatness of divine power; and which is seen in supporting faith when it is produced, under great discouragements; in delivering believers out of divers temptations; in assisting them to discharge their duty, and in their final perseverance: and to increase the idea of this power it is added. It is according to the working of His mighty power, or "according to the energy of the might of His power": the strength of His power, in all the mighty energy of it, is exerted towards and upon believers; and which they should know, own, and acknowledge, to the glory of the grace of God: and this is in proportion, and agreeably to that power. Save the Nations Ministries >
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A Transforming Knowledge By Thomas Brooks "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory." (2 Corinthians 3:18) Saving knowledge is a transforming knowledge, which metamorphoses the soul. Divine light beating on the heart, warms it and betters it; transforms and changes it; molds and fashions it into the very likeness of Christ! The naturalists observe that the pearl, by the often beating of the sunbeams upon it, becomes radiant. Just so, the often beating and shining of the Son of Righteousness, with His divine beams, upon the saints, causes them to glisten and shine in . . . holiness, righteousness, heavenly-mindedness, humbleness, etc. Divine light casts a general beauty and glory upon the soul; it transforms a man more and more into the glorious image of Christ! Look, as the child receives his features from his parents; just so, the beams of divine light and knowledge shining into the soul, stamp the living image of Christ upon the soul. Mere notional knowledge may make a man excellent at praising the glorious and worthy acts and virtues of Christ; but that transforming knowledge which accompanies salvation, will work a man divinely to imitate the glorious acts and virtues of Christ. When a beam of divine light shined from heaven upon Paul, ah, how did it change and metamorphose him! How did it alter and transform him! It made his rebellious soul, obedient: "Lord, what will You have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). Divine light lays upon a man a happy necessity of obeying God. Divine light makes . . . this lion into a lamb, this persecutor into a preacher, this destroyer of the saints into a strengthener of the saints, this tormenter into a comforter, this monster into an angel, this notorious blasphemer into a very great admirer of God, and the acting of His free grace. Just so, when a spark of this heav-
enly fire fell upon the heart of Mary Magdalene, oh what a change, what a transformation does it make in her! Now she loves much, and believes much, and repents much, and weeps much. Oh what a change did divine light make in Zacchaeus, and in the jailor! Truly, if your light, your Biblical knowledge does not better you, if it does not change and transform you, if, under all your light and knowledge you remain as vile and base as ever; your light, your knowledge, your notions, your speculations, will be like fire! That knowledge which is not a transforming knowledge will torment a man at last more than all the devils in hell; it will be . . . a sword to cut him, a rod to lash him, a serpent to bite him, a scorpion to sting him, and a vulture, a worm eternally gnawing him! God at last will own no knowl-
edge, but that which leaves the stamp of Christ, the print of Christ, the image of Christ upon the heart; but that which changes and transforms the soul, which makes a man a new man, another man than what he was before divine light shined upon him. 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 2017 >
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We have learned from (Isaiah 49) that the Lord knows your battle. He has fought it before you. And it is no sin to endure thoughts that your labor has been in vain, or to be cast down with a sense of failure over shattered expectations. Jesus himself experienced this and was without sin. It is very dangerous, however, to allow these hellish lies to fester and enflame your soul. Jesus showed us the way out of such despondency with this statement: “I have labored in vain…yet surely my judgment is with the Lord and my work with my God” (Isaiah 49:4). The Hebrew word for judgment here is “verdict,” Christ is saying, in effect, “The final verdict is with my Father. He alone passes judgment on all that I’ve done and how effective I’ve been.” God is urging us through this verse: “Stop passing a verdict over
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your work for me. You have no business judging how effective you’ve been. And you have no right to call yourself a failure. You don’t yet know what kind of influence you’ve had. You simply don’t have the vision to know the blessings that are coming to you.” Indeed, we won’t know many such things until we stand before him in eternity. In (Isaiah 49), Jesus heard the Father say in so many words: “So, Israel is not yet gathered. Yes, I called you to bring in the tribes, and that has not happened in the way you imagined it. But that calling was only a little thing compared to what is coming for you. It’s nothing in comparison to what I have in store. I’m going to make you now a light for the whole world. You’re going to bring salvation to the whole earth” (see Isaiah 49:5-6). While the devil is lying to you, saying that all you’ve done is in vain, that you’ll never see your expectations fulfilled, God in his glory is preparing a greater blessing. He has better things in store, beyond anything you could think or ask. We’re not to listen to the enemy’s lies any longer. Instead, we’re to rest in the Holy Spirit, believing him to fulfill the work of making us more like Christ. And we are to rise up from our despair and stand on this word: “Be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Copyright © 2017 by World Challenge, Inc., P.O. Box 260, Lindale, Texas 75771. >
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32 Christmas 2017
THE TRIUMPHANT CHRISTIAN
The Secret of Spiritual Strength By David Wilkerson “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; in returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). Here is God’s secret to spiritual strength: “Quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” The word for quietness in Hebrew means “repose.” And repose means calm, relaxed, and free from all anxiety; to be still, to lie down with support underneath. Not many Christians today have this kind of quietness and confidence. Multitudes are involved in a frenzy of activity, rushing madly to obtain wealth, possessions and pleasure. Even in the ministry, God’s servants run about worrying, fearing, looking for answers in conferences, seminars, best-selling books. Everyone wants guidance, solutions, something to calm their spirit. Yet they seek it in every source except the Lord. They don’t realize God has already spoken a word for them, through Isaiah: If
they don’t turn to him as their source, their striving will end in sorrow and confusion. Isaiah describes what God’s righteousness is supposed to accomplish in us: “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever” (Isaiah 32:17). If we’re truly walking in righteousness, our lives will bear the fruit of a calm spirit, quietness of heart and peace with God. As Isaiah looked around, he saw God’s people fleeing to Egypt for help, trusting in men, relying on horses and chariots. Ambassadors were coming and going. Leaders were holding emergency strategy meetings. Everyone was in a panic, wailing, “What can we do?” Isaiah assured them, “It doesn’t have to be this way. Return from your backsliding. Repent of your rebellion of trusting in others. Turn to the Lord, and he’ll cover you with a blanket of peace. He’ll give you quietness and rest in the midst of everything you’re facing.” Copyright © 2017 by World Challenge, Inc., P.O. Box 260, Lindale, Texas 75771. >
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GRATITUDE Continued from Page 24 room in his heart for selfish, destructive emotions. A grateful heart will be revealed and expressed by thankful words, while an ungrateful heart will manifest itself in murmuring and complaining. A grateful spirit is what enables people to view and respond to the most painful circumstances in life with thanksgiving. As one person observed, “Some people complain because God put thorns on roses, while others praise Him for putting roses among thorns.” Thankful believers from the past have much to teach us in this matter. Matthew Henry, the well-known commentator of the 19th century, was once accosted by robbers. Reflecting on the experience, he wrote in his diary, “Let me be thankful, first, because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because, although they took my all, it was
not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed!” We are called to be thankful people, to recognize and express appreciation for the benefits that we have received from God and others. We are all debtors, and we repay those debts with grateful hearts and words of thanksgiving. It is not enough to feel gratitude in our hearts. That gratitude must be communicated to those to whom we are indebted. You and I cannot be truly free, though we have been released from bondage, if our hearts and tongues have ceased to give thanks. Perhaps right now would be a good time to take a trip to Calvary, to kneel before our incredible Savior, to look into His loving face, and to say, “Oh, Lord Jesus, thank You! Thank You! Thank You!” © Revive Our Hearts. Written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Used with permission. www.ReviveOurHearts. com.>
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“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7
Christmas 2017 33
A Day each week for Spiritual Renewal It is important that we understand the meaning of the Sabbath in relation to our individual spiritual life. We are apt to look at the day and its observance chiefly from the side of duty. We should remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. We learn from the Bible that the day was set apart by peculiar sanctions. But the devotional value of the Sabbath is not so often considered. To the individual Christian, however, this is a most important phase of the subject. What is the purpose of the day as a "means of grace"? What help is it intended to be to us in our spiritual life? No doubt it is meant to be a day of rest from the ordinary labors and tasks which occupy us during the week. For six days we are to work diligently, and then on the seventh day we are to rest. The more completely we can get away from our
weekday occupations the better. There is a blessing in Sabbath rest. We cannot go on forever without rest. We must pause now and then to take our breath and renew our strength. But rest is not the only purpose of the Sabbath. It is to be a day also for spiritual renewing. The tendency of our life in the world, with its entertainment, its cares, its grinding and pinching, is to make us forget God and the things of the spiritual life. The Sabbath not only calls us away to rest for a day from this wearying toil, but invites us also for a season to thoughts and occupations which will lift heart and mind out of the entanglement of earthly and material things into a range of thought and feeling altogether different. For one day, we can go up out of the valley, with its little space and dreary outlook, and stand on a
mountain top to get a vision of glory and beauty which will give us new thoughts of life. This purpose of the Sabbath suggests also how the day should be spent. If we make it a day of merely worldly pleasure we only substitute one class of secularities for another, and this will give us no spiritual uplift. To get from the Holy Day what it is meant to give to us, we should occupy heart and thought with things that are spiritual. It should be a day for thinking of God and of the things that are eternal, of our own relation to God and to our fellow-men, of our duties, obligations, and responsibilities. A tourist among the Alps tells of climbing one of the mountains in a dense and dripping mist until he had passed through the clouds and stood on a lofty peak in the clear sunlight. Beneath him lay the fog, like a wave- less sea of white vapor. He could hear the faint sounds coming up from the vales below. But there he stood on the tall platform, far above all the vexed, troubled, broken life of the vales, with only Heaven's deep blue above his head and the glorious mountain peaks round him. Something like can be felt when
you give God center-stage in your mind on this Holy Day of rest. Through the weekdays, we dwell in the low valleys, among the mists. Life in this world is full of struggles, of failures, of disappointments, of burden-bearing. Then the Sabbath comes and we climb up out of the low places of care, toil and tears, and spend the day in the sweet, pure air of God's love and peace. We get near to the heart of Christ. We come into the good fellowship of Christian people and get fresh inspiration from our contact with them. We have wider views. We see life from the Heaven side. We see God's face and hear His voice. Such an hour on the Sabbath changes all life for us for the whole week before us. We see everything in a new light. We have a new perspective after that, in which all things appear in their true relations. The world is far more beautiful, for we see it now as our Father's world. The Sabbath songs sing in our heart all the week and make the way easier and the burdens lighter. It is when we thus make the SabSee RENEWAL on Page 42
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Biblical Direction The Bible touches life at every point. While its great principles cover all moral acts in a general way, it descends to particulars in many cases, giving special instructions of great value. "Rejoice always!" Joy is never to be left out of any scheme of Christian life. We are to rejoice, not now and then only, but always. Even our sorrows should not hush the songs in our hearts. This element of joy can be only in the life in which Christ lives and rules. There is a difference in people in the matter of joyousness, but true Christian joy is not that which the world gives, nor that which nature inspires, but the joy which conies from the heart of God, and which nothing ever can overcome or destroy. "Pray without ceasing." Prayer is another essential element in every true Christian life. Not to pray is not to live at all as a Christian, for prayer is "the Christian's vital breath." The exhortation to pray without ceasing may seem a strange one. It means, however, that our communion with God never need be broken, never should be broken. We cannot always be on our knees;
for we have work to do, duties to perform, which we may not neglect, and which are just as sacred as praying. But we may pray at our work, by keeping always close to Christ, so that anywhere, any moment, we can look up into His face and speak to Him and get an answer. "Give thanks in everything." Thanksgiving should never be lacking in a Christian life. It is not enough to observe one day in the year for 'Thanksgiving', although it is a very beautiful thing to do. Nor is it enough to put a sentence of thanksgiving into our daily prayers, although this also is proper. It is the grateful heart that pleases God, the heart that is always full of praise. There should be a note of thanksgiving running through all our life. Too many of us go to God only with requests, with our burdens, our worries, our troubles; while we but rarely go to Him with any word of thanks. We are not to be thankful only for our prosperities and for the pleasant and agreeable things that come into our days, we are to be thankful, too, for the things that appear to us as adversities.
"Do not quench the Spirit." It is the glory of our Christian life, that God lives in it. Paul said, "Christ lives in me!" A fire burns in our hearts which is fed from heaven. We live at our best, only when we let this flame burn brightly in us. We are exhorted here, not to quench the Spirit. Fire is quenched by pouring water upon it, or by covering it up so as to exclude the air. The Spirit may be quenched in us by sin, by worldliness, by evil thoughts, by bad passions, by resistance. To quench this heavenly flame, is to put out the light of life, leaving the darkness of death within us. "Do not quench the Spirit." We are also exhorted not to "despise prophesies." Prophesying, in a general way, are divine teachings, the message of God to us. The Bible is a book of prophesies. All heavenly instructions, counsels, warnings, from whatever source, may in a sense, be called prophesies. We should keep our minds and hearts always wide open to receive the Words of God, and to welcome all divine influences and impressions and inspirations, whether they
Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. â€“ Philippians 1:3
are spoken by the Spirit of God or by a human friend. "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening," is the true attitude of every believing heart toward the truth, however it is spoken. "Test all things." Not all voices that speak in this world are divine voices. Not all words that fall upon our ears are words from heaven. We should test all things to see whether they are of God or not. Then we should "Hold fast to what is good." We should judge carefully between genuine and counterfeit. Put to the test of truth, all counsels that are given to you. Not all such counsels are from God. It is said by our Master of His sheep, that "they will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers." We should make sure that the voice which we hear is our Master's own voice; that it is the voice of one who counsels us wisely, and not the voice of a stranger speaking to us in worldly words, to draw us See BIBLICAL on Page 42
Christmas 2017 35
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healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross. The flavor of the candy is peppermint which is similar to hyssop. Hyssop is in the mint family and was used in the Old Testament for purification and sacrifice. Jesus is the Pure Lamb of God come to be a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Since that time, however, the candy has become known as the candy cane. The story of its creation has been lost to tradition and mass production, and it is now available in many different colors, shapes, and sizes. But the next time you see a candy cane, hear the Sermon it preaches: Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, is the Rock of all Ages who suffered and died for our sins. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) >
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The Story of the Candy Cane A candy maker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he created the Christmas candy cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. He began with a stick of pure white hard candy. White symbolizes the virgin birth and the sinless nature of Jesus. The hard candy symbolizes the solid rock - the foundation of the church and firmness of God's promises. The candy maker made the candy in the form of the letter "J" to represent the name of Jesus. It also represents the staff with which the Good Shepherd reaches down to the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray. Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candy maker stained it with red stripes. The candy maker used three small stripes to represent the scourging Jesus received by which we were
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With the holiday season on, gifting times are here again. This season, why not try something new? Share gifts that are healthy, like sending someone to the spa or for a good massage. Here are some healthy gift options. Go fruity: No more of those fattening fruitcakes and cheeses. How about giving an organic fruit basket? You can buy it or even make it yourself for the personal touch. Simply pick out some seasonal fruits or vegetables and put them in a decorated basket. Any friend or family member is sure to appreciate some nutritious relief from the typical holiday fare. Go sporty: With childhood obesity at an all-time high, sports are the only way to go. Children need to get rid of the television and computer screens and move. So, gift them a big box of sports and game equipment instead. Options range from badminton to Frisbee, croquet, kickball, bocce, dodge ball, horseshoes, volleyball, whiffle ball and stickball. Think of all the games you enjoyed as a kid and share them with kids. You can also give them
cards with information explaining how to play the game and a little history of your experience playing as a kid. This is a bonding experience as well as a gift. Best of all, sports goods and games are much cheaper than electronics. A fitting tribute: There are plenty of pedometers and workout machines that monitor activity. These can be ideal for all the fitness freaks in your life. They work wonderfully as motivational devices as well. Seeing how many — or how few — calories are burned can be plenty of motivation to get the laziest slacker off the couch. Pamper them: With all the family get-togethers and intense shopping trips, the holiday season can be stressful for any person. Relieve tensions with a gift certificate for a good massage or a session at the spa. Lastly; you should freely share of your time with your loved ones and don't forget to add a nice holiday card along with the gift wrapped presents. ©2017 FaithWriters.com. All Rights Reserved > >
The Christmas Plan 7 Scripture Passages Describing Christ and His Mission By Charles F. Stanley Most people define Christmas by what they see— the trees, lights, shopping, gifts, food, and parties. However, that’s not what Christmas is all about. It’s not something we can observe but is one of the three most important events in human history. God’s plan for the salvation of mankind had to begin with the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Without this, there would have been no crucifixion, no resurrection, and no hope for humanity. Christmas is the celebration of that moment in history when Holy God came down to earth in the form of a virgin-born baby in order to reveal God’s love for sinful mankind with His death on the cross, which paid our sin debt in full. And every year we remember this truth and celebrate what Jesus did for us. He came to earth so that we could go to heaven. Once we understand the true significance of Christmas, our attitude about the holiday will
change. Instead of focusing on the externals and becoming exhausted with all the preparations and activities, we’ll see that Christmas is about Jesus, who came to offer us forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life. The Word of God is the only completely reliable source of information about Christ. Here are some things it tells us about Him: (Matthew 1:18-23). This record of Christ’s birth reveals that He was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit, thereby fulfilling an Old Testament prophecy. Joseph was told to name the child Jesus because He would save His people from their sins. (Colossians 2:9). Jesus wasn’t an ordinary man. “In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” (Isaiah 59:1-2). The Lord is not unable to save sinners, but our sins have made a separation between Him and us. According to (Romans 3:23), we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. This means we have violated His laws and are not what He intended us to be. The
only one who can end our separation from God is Jesus Christ. Apart from Him, there is no way for us to come to the Father. (Romans 5:10-11). Even though we may see ourselves as fairly good in comparison to others, God doesn’t see us that way. Our sins make us His enemies. Yet while we were in that state of enmity, Christ reconciled us to the Father through His death. (Romans 6:23). We also deserve to die and be eternally separated from God because the wages for sin is death. The Lord sent His Son to earth to provide a way to forgive us and rescue us from this condemnation. (Colossians 1:19-22). Christ paid the penalty for our sins by dying in our place. He made peace with God though His blood shed on the cross. Even though we were formerly alienated and hostile toward Him in our thoughts and behaviors, Jesus reconciled us so He could present us to His Father as holy, blameless, and beyond reproach. Reconciliation is God’s work—His Spirit convicts us of sin
so we’re aware of our need for salvation, and Jesus paid the penalty so we could be forgiven. When we believe this and accept what Christ did on our behalf, we are cleansed and reconciled to the Father. (Ephesians 1:13-14). Once we have heard the message of salvation in Christ and have believed, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit as a promise of our eternal inheritance. This seal guarantees that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and will never be erased. The Spirit comes to indwell us forever, giving us assistance and guidance as we live in this world. God’s Word is our guide for living and a light to show us the way in a dark world. If we ignore it, we’re like someone who smashes his compass and flashlight and then tries to find his way out of a jungle at midnight. God gave us the Scriptures to reveal Himself and His Son, and to show us the way of salvation. And that’s a plan worth following. © 2017 oChristian.com. All Rights Reserved >
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AFTER CHRISTMAS Continued from Page 27
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Meaningless and purposeless lives never come to the fulfillment of their God-given purposes when people push God out of their lives. When God sent Christ to earth, Christ came with a purpose and a mission. He passes on that same purpose and mission to us as humans. Jesus said in (Matthew 16:18), “I will build my church… and the gates of Hell will not prevail against her” One of the purposes Christ came to do was to build a church. Did Jesus mean a building? That would seem preposterous. He meant a people — godly people who have been delivered from their sins. They would form a body, a family, who work together for one purpose:
Jesus. Maybe, as we are waiting on God to do something in us, He is waiting for us to choose to be part of this family, His church. God took thousands of years to prepare for Christ’ birth. Maybe He is preparing you to accept His invitation to come into His family. Will you? In short, God’s PREPARATION of us, to live in His PRESENCE, so that we fulfill His PURPOSE is what God is doing in each one of our lives. This is what remains after Christmas! Doug Gilford, Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Church -23051 Hwy 1088, Mandeville, La 70448. 985624-8652, www.cornerstonenola. com. >
HEADSHIP Continued from Page 15 Wives, your husband needs your help. He can't do his job if you aren't letting him, or if you are doing it for him. Let me tell you a little secret. The more we prance down on our men or belittle their manly hood we rebel against God's will for us. We have a role in marriage too, and that role is not to take over our husband's position. Let your husband cleanse your marriage through the word and give it back to God where it belongs! When we rebel against our husband's role in marriage it will not only harm our relationship with God but it will harm the sexual and emotional intimacy between husband and wife. People wonder why there is so much sexual and emotional unfaithfulness in marriage and this is why! Don't let this happen to your marriage. A man needs his loving and feminine wife to allow him to do his job! It's just the way he was built. The blessings
will be a closer and more intimate relationship with your husband. Men who take their God-given position in the home with importance will always want a loving helpmeet to be by his side, not a bossy and domineering woman. When you give your husband the reins and let him guide you in Christ's ways, you will come to realize it was the way marriage was supposed to be. "That ye all speak the same thing and that there are no divisions among you; but that you are perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." (1 Corinthians 1:10) "Wives submit yourselves unto your husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband IS the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. (Ephesians 5:22-23) © 2002-2017 Heaven Ministries. All Rights Reserved. www.heavenministries.org >
FROM THE EDITOR
MISSION Continued from Page 3 the power and experience of it in the heart, to do so in a spirit of tenderness, affection, and love. We do not lead our readers, nor do they lead us. We are friends and brethren, not master and servants, nor servant and masters. It is the truth in the love and power of it which unites us—that secret, mysterious, invisible, and yet powerful bond which knits together as with ties of unbending all who see eye to eye, and feel heart to heart in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. This is a reading age; and as books are largely read and easily found, the Christian press has come to embrace a wider circle and to possess a greater influence on the public mind than any other medium of communication. Changing Times has spread itself in all directions, and exercises an influence scarcely inferior to that of the pulpit. Works, therefore, written by gracious men, whether living or dead, may be viewed as exercising a ministry of their own, running, as it were, parallel to that of the pulpit, and in harmony with it, but possessing the advantage of penetrating
into places, and speaking on occasions where the voice of the living preacher cannot come, as well as of being accessible at all times, lying silently and discreetly on the coffeetable or the bookshelf, ready to be taken up or laid down at pleasure. Our desire is to make “Changing Times” as instructive, as edifying, and as profitable as we can to the Christian Community. We wish, therefore, to avoid all strife and contention, all doubtful debates, all gossip, slander, and news-mongering, all dry points of doctrine which usually leads to endless dispute and vain rattling, and every other thing which feeds the flesh and starves the soul. So, if you have been blessed by any instruction or consolation from our writings; if they have strengthened your faith; or encouraged your hope; if they have drawn forth your love; if any light has been cast upon your dark path; if any truth has been learned; if any error has been exposed in which you were nearly entangled; if you have effectually felt any reproof or rebuke; if there has been any stirring up or recovery
from idleness and indifference; if there has been produced any brokenness of spirit, true repentance, and godly sorrow for sin; if any backsliding has been healed; if there has been any gracious renewal or revival of the good work within effected; if any real, solid, and abiding profit has been communicated to you by our labors on your behalf; we pray that our heavenly Father "who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness." (2 Cor. 9:10) We ask that you bring us before the throne of grace, that God would bestow upon us that spiritual and
experimental knowledge of His truth, that heavenly wisdom and judgment, that holy boldness and faithfulness, that zeal for His glory and desire for His people's good, which, if granted, would be both our and your best reward. “Changing Times” has been there in your past. With your support, we can be there for your future. We pray that you help us with a donation using the form below. Your support is needed and it’s an awesome opportunity to sow into the Lord’s ministry! "Finally, brethren, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you." (2 Thes. 3:1) Save the Nations Ministries >
GIFTS Continued from Page 4 Christmas? Because of His sovereign dominion, will you give Him your wealth? All that we have belongs to Him. Because of His sinless deity, will you give Him your worship? Fall on your face before Him. Because of His sacrificial death, will you give Him your witness? I want the whole world to know that He died for me. Do you?
My wealth, my worship, and my witness belong to my Lord. And according to His Word, so does yours. Don’t forget to include CHRIST in your Christmas and your entire life. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Save the Nations Ministries >
Here is your chance for a write-off and an even better chance to not write off God another day. Your donation matters and is appreciated! CAN WE COUNT ON YOUR HELP?
❏ Yes, I will pledge my support for Changing Times by donating $ ________________. Make check payable to Save the Nations Ministries, Inc. [A 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization]. ❏ I prefer to pay by credit card. ❏ Visa ❏ MasterCard ❏ American Express Number __________________________ Exp. Date ___________ Name ______________________________________________ Address ____________________________________________ City _________________________ State _______ Zip _______ Phone (
Mail your donations to:
) ________________________________________ Save The Nations Ministries, Inc.
E-mail ______________________________________________ P. O. Box 1095 ❏ Prayer request enclosed.
Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere – Ephesians 1:15
Covington, LA 70434 Christmas 2017 39
CHRISTIAN Community Referrals ATTORNEY Bono Law Firm 3801 N. Causeway Blvd., Suite 206 Metairie, LA 70002 504-835-9909 www.bonolawfirm.com AUTOMOTIVE DEALERS Bergeron Automotive 3525 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, LA 70002 504-888-2131 Honda of Covington 100 Holiday Square Blvd. Covington, LA 70433 985-892-0001 www.hondaofcovington.com Premier Automotive Group Toyota of New Orleans • 504-940-0000 Premier Nissan of Metairie • 504-455-5800 Premier Kia of Kenner • 1-866-744-5083 Ross Downing Chevrolet 600 S. Morrison Blvd. Hammond, La 70403 985-345-1285 www.rossdowningchevrolet.com AUTOMOTIVE REPAIR Zoom Tech 815 Asbury Dr., Mandeville, LA 70471 985-624-5080 www.zoomtechautomotive.com BRIDAL SPECIALTY Second Line Handkerchiefs (Backyard Printing, LLC) 1960 Surgi Drive • Mandeville, LA 985-231-7789 secondlinehandkerchiefs.com BUS CHARTERS Gaten's Adventures Unlimited "For All Your Traveling Needs" 465 Morris Road, Hammond, LA 985-345-7629 · 877-855-8572 www.gatenbuscharters.com CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS Larry Holmes Bourgeois Bennett 111 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, La 70005 504-831-4949 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.bb-cpa.com CATERING Dickey's Barbeque Pit 69292 Hwy. 21, Covington, LA 985-871-2225
40 Christmas 2017
COAST GUARD RECRUITING U. S. Coast Guard Recruiting Office 8814 Veterans Blvd., Suite 8 Metairie, LA 70003 504-472-4321 www.gocoastguard.com CHRISTIAN BOOKSTORES Gospel Book Store 91Westbank Expy Ste 410 Gretna, LA 504-362-7770 Books, Bibles, Music, Gifts, Church Supplies Open: Monday-Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm CHRISTIAN COUNSELING Solutions Family Counseling Rev. Frank W. Newfield, Sr. M.A., C/Psy., BCCC 1309 Butternut Ave., Metairie, LA 70001 504-305-4532 email@example.com www.solutions-familycounseling.com ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY Legacy Law Center Chris Kane, Attorney at Law 800 Ramon St. Mandeville, LA 985-246-3020 www.LegacyLawCenter.com FURNITURE American Factory Direct 68490 Hwy. 59 Mandeville, LA 70471 985-871-1120 www.afd-furniture.com GLASS SERVICES A-1 Glass Services, Inc. 1247 Collins Blvd. Covington Residential • Commercial • Auto Truck • Mobile Glass • Patio Shower Doors 985-892-5312 HARDWARE STORES Mid Point Feed & Seed True Value Hardware Open Mon – Sat 7:30-5:00 19744 Hwy. 40, Covington, LA 985-892-2002HURRICANE SHUTTERS HOME IMPROVEMENT Cool-Vue Aluminum 504-464-9194 firstname.lastname@example.org www.coolvue.com
LONG TERM CARE FACILITY Good Samaritan Living Center 615 Hilltop Drive Franklinton, LA 70438 985-839-6706 goodsamlivingcenter.com Trinity Neurologic Rehabilitation Center 1400 Lindberg Dr., Slidell, LA 70458 985-641-4985 www.trinityneurorehab.com PHARMACY Lee Road Family Pharmacy Your Trusted Family Owned Pharmacy 19705 Hwy. 40, Covington 985-400-2595 leeroadfamilypharmacy.com POWERSPORTS Honda of Covington Powersports 1026 N. Collins Blvd. Covington, LA 70433 • 985-892-9730 www.hondaofcovingtonpowersports.com TOWING SERVICE Jenkins Towing, Inc. Ray Jenkins & Sons 24-Hour Towing Covington, LA 985-892-4038 VETERINARY VCA Causeway Animal Hospital 1315 N. Causeway Blvd. Metairie, LA 70001 504-828-2700 www.vcacausewayanimalhospital.com WELDING Lloyd’s Welding & Son, LLC 19722 Hwy. 40 Covington 70435 Office 985-892-0889 Fax 985-871-7785 WINDOW INSERT REPLACEMENTS Window Solutions by Richlyn LLC Distribution Center 70454 Ste. C Hwy. 59 Richard Weixel 985-871-8181 www.nofoggywindows.com
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Christmas 2017 41
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BIBLICAL Continued from Page 35 away from the truth. "Abstain from every form of evil." We are accustomed to think of some violations of God's Word, as only slightly evil; while we imagine that other transgressions are very black in their sinfulness. Some people appear to think that if we keep ourselves from the worst kinds of evil, that we need not be so watchful against the minor forms of misconduct. They will not lie, nor steal, nor swear, nor do other things which would brand them in the eyes of the community as 'wicked'. But meanwhile they are ungentle, unkind, selfish and bad tempered, and loving the world. But Paul's exhortation is, "Abstain from every form of evil." We are not to pick out certain sins and condemn these alone as evil, abstaining from them; meanwhile indulging in pet vices and sinful habits of our own. Whatever is wrong in even the slightest way is to be abstained from. There really are no little sins, no 'little white lies', no slight deviations from right and purity. Even evil thoughts, our
Master says, break His commandments! "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." This prayer for consecration is very comprehensive. It is that we may be sanctified, that is, set apart wholly for God and God's use. We belong to God, for He has bought us with a price, and we should make ourselves altogether God's by keeping ourselves separate from sin, and from the world. It is a prayer that our whole being, spirit, soul and body, shall be kept pure and holy, amongst the entire world's evil; preserved entire, without blame, until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It may seem impossible for anyone to realize this high ideal of living. It is impossible for us thus to keep ourselves. But the words which follow tell us how it becomes possible. "The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it." We are safe in this world, therefore, when God keeps us, when His sheltering, protecting love enfolds us! Save the Nations Ministries
things of the spiritual world that we find the blessing it has for us. Then it sends us into the week braver and bath, a day to get into God's pres- stronger, with new inspiration for ence and to hold converse with the gentle living, for kindly ministry, for heroic struggle. Our heart gets out of tune, its strings become rattled and jarring, in the difficult life of the weekdays — but the Sabbath sets us right again and prepares us for living sweetly, so as to please God and to be a blessing in the world. Resting in His peace, Save the Nations Ministries > RENEWAL Continued from Page 34
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