is Returning â€“ Does it make a difference? Rate Your Marriage Take the quiz Biblical Illiteracy 3 What Use is the Bible? 15
“When was the last time
in this issue
—on your own— you meditated on
3 Christ’s Return Charles R. Swindoll
6 Why Does Jesus Have to Return? Steve Johnson
9 When You Come to a Fork in the Road... Robyn Roste 14 moment of insight
15 Living With a Kingdom Mentality Charlie Costa
16 Unquenchable Hope Charles R. Swindoll
19 The Marriage Quiz Phil Callaway 23 Hopeful Living Ben Lowell
Copyright © 2011 Insight for Living Canada. All rights reserved. No portion of this monthly publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the publisher. Insights is published by IFLC, the Bible teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. IFLC is an autonomous ministry and certified member of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture passages are taken from the NASB. Printed in Canada. Unless otherwise noted, photography by IFLC staff.
by Charles R. Swindoll
“What good is a ticket if the event is over?”
he other evening my wife and I were enjoying a quiet conversation together. We were sipping some fresh-perked coffee, the house was unusually still, and there were no plans to go anywhere that evening. It was one of those cherished moments you wish you could wrap up and reserve for later use when it’s really needed again. Almost out of the blue, our discussion turned to the subject of Christ’s return. I found myself tracking that thought further than I had in months. Cynthia and I chuckled at some comments we each made about letting the folks in the tribulation worry with the hassles that we have to handle now—like cleaning out our garage or landscaping the backyard! We also smiled together contemplating the joys that will be ours to share throughout eternity with family and friends in the body of Christ. As time passed the balance of that evening, I kept returning to the reality, “He is coming back. What a difference it will make!” It is remarkable, when you stop and get specific about it, how many things we take for granted that will suddenly be removed or changed. Think about that . . . It is also amazing what an overhaul job that does on our scale of values . . . the stuff we tend to cling to and gloat over and want more of. Christ’s return has a way of smashing our idols of materialism and shoving us back to the basics. How much time we spend on things that need our at-
Christ’s Return continued from p. 3
tention . . . but would abruptly blur out of focus at the sound of the trumpet! I realize a lot of so-called, “heavenly minded,” weirdos have done some dumb things by going to extremes over prophecy. But God said to me that evening, “Loosen your grip, my son . . . remember that the bottom line of everything is eternity with Me.” Is it a waste of time to focus on the Lord’s coming? Quite the contrary! It’s biblical. It’s what Titus 2:13 says we ought to do: “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” When was the last time—on your own—you meditated on Christ’s coming? If you’re like most, it’s been too long. People who are more practical than mystical, who are realistic rather than idealistic, tend to do that only at funerals and following near-death experiences. Most of us are here-and-now thinkers much more than then-and-there people. But Scripture says we are to “comfort one another” with information about Jesus’ return for us (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18). It says these truths form the very foundation of a “steadfast, immovable, always abounding” lifestyle (1 Corinthians 15:50–58). Our Bible is full and running over with promises and encouragements directly related to the return of our Lord Christ. I just checked. It’s not just hinted at; it’s highlighted. It’s an obvious theme of New
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Testament truth. You can’t read very far without stumbling upon it, no matter which book you choose. In the New Testament alone, the events related to Christ’s coming are mentioned more than 300 times. His return is certain!
“How much time we spend on things that need our attention . . . but would abruptly blur out of focus at the sound of the trumpet!” Critics have denied it. Cynics have laughed at it. Scholars have ignored it. Liberal theologians have explained it away (they call that “rethinking” it), and fanatics have caused many to shrug it off. “Where is the promise of His coming?” many cynics still shout (2 Peter 3:4). The return of our Saviour will continue to be attacked and ignored and denied. But there it stands, solid as a stone, soon to be fulfilled, offering us hope and encouragement amidst despair and unbelief. “Okay, swell. But what do I do in the meantime?” I can hear a lot of pragmatists asking that question. First, it’s best for you to understand what you don’t do. You don’t sit around, listening for some
trumpet blast. You don’t spend each day staring up into the sky, looking for a break in the clouds. You don’t whip out a white robe and tie yourself to a huge heliumfilled balloon with angels painted all over it. And for goodness sake, you don’t announce a hard and fast date because of “the signs of the times”! Please. You do get your act together. You do live every day (as if it’s your last) for His glory. You do work diligently at your job and in your home (as if He isn’t coming for another 10 years) for His Name’s sake. You do shake salt out every opportunity you get . . . and you do shine the light . . . and for sure, you remain balanced, cheerful, winsome, and stable, anticipating His return each day. Other than that, I don’t know what to tell you. Except, maybe, if you’re not absolutely sure you’re ready to fly, you get your ticket fast. As long as they are available, they’re free. But don’t wait. About the time you finally make up your mind, the whole thing could have happened, leaving you looking back instead of up. What good is a ticket if the event is over? Photograph of Chuck Swindoll © 2010 by David Edmonson
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Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry
He spoke of going away and then returning (Matthew 16:27, 28). As His ministry concluded and as He was ascending into heaven two angels also said He would return (Acts 1: 9-11). It is a scriptural truth we believe. As I thought about this I wondered, “Why does Jesus have to return at all?” Couldn’t He just plan it so when people die they go to heaven or hell and then, when the divine Timekeeper says time has run out, it’s game over? Why do we need Him to return with all the surrounding coming events anyway? Here are a few reasons I came up with as to why Jesus needs to return: Verification. His Word is true. Jesus has to return to fulfil the Scripture that said He would. Fulfilled prophecy about His first coming gives assurance of the truth and the fulfilment of His second coming. Therefore we have confidence to trust His Word for our daily living now. Glorification. Philippians 2:9-11 indicates that Christ went through with the ordeal of the cross with a view to the exaltation and glory that would follow (cf. Hebrews 12:2). He then returned to heaven to be glorified and take up His place at the right hand of the Father as Lord and Christ (John 7:39). The evidence of His glorification was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Peter explained this as Jesus exalted to the right hand of God. Presently Jesus is waiting for the Father’s set time to finally subjugate all His enemies (Acts 2:33-36). Because He is Lord over all and has given His Holy Spirit we can, through prayer, approach Him to help in our times of need, and experience the Holy Spirit’s power over sin daily. Revelation. Christ’s return and appearing is an unveiling, a revelation—pulling back the curtains so that all will see His glory. It is at this great unveiling that the world, which presently does not see Him as He is, will see Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Believers see Jesus that way now through eyes of faith believing what the Scripture says. Knowing who He truly is gives us confidence to trust Him in tough times now. Redemption. When man sinned God set a redemptive process in place. The death of Christ was part of that process because His shed blood paid the ransom price. We have redemption through His blood (Ephesians 1:7). The final accomplishing of our redemption
Why does Jesus
Return? by Steve Johnson gallery
7 l frame
© shutterstock.com/Benjamin Haas
will be when Jesus returns and our bodies are glorified and delivered from sin. We will all be transformed at that point and given a body like Christ’s (1 John 3:2). Meanwhile, we are “waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23). Retribution. Because of sin, there is a lot that is wrong in the universe. Jesus needs to return to sort it all out. And not only to sort it out and make things right, but be seen to make it right. His justice demands it. Exercising justice means giving everyone what they have coming. All of this He will do visibly. Knowing one day Jesus will sort things out means we don’t have to try to take revenge or fret over injustice. He’s coming to look after it. Eradication. Christ won the war with sin and the devil through His death and resurrection. Although defeated they have not been removed. They still wreak havoc in our lives and world. Christ needs to finish the job; evil has not been finally crushed. Only by returning can Jesus finish the work He began on the cross. The cross was the beginning of the end, but the final
triumph of Christ is yet to come. Knowing His victory is total gives us confidence. We battle now from the position of conquerors through Christ, not as victims. Demonstration. From the time of creation God has chosen to play out redemption’s story on earth’s stage. This drama is being acted out before a great host of angels who long to know how the story ends (1 Peter 1:12). It is only fitting that the last act also takes place on the earthly stage before it is destroyed and a new heaven and new earth take its place. Jesus must return. And that’s a truth that impacts us even here and now while we wait. “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming” (1 Peter 1:13 NIV). Maranatha!1 “Come, Lord Jesus!” Steve Johnson is the communications director at IFLC 1 1 Cor. 16:22 Maranatha is translated as “Come, Lord Jesus.” It’s an appropriate saying for Christians looking ahead to Christ’s return.
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This Month’s Gift
End Times Prophecy
passport size booklet by Insight for Living To help you understand God’s holy Word on the subject of the future, the Insight for Living team designed the End Times Prophecy Passport. This handy tool describes each future event—succinctly, simply, and sequentially. Request your free copy today! (visit insightforliving.ca for ordering information) 8
When You Come to a Fork in the Roadâ€Ś by Robyn Roste
On lifetrac.ca and facebook.com/lifetrac this month: Stepping out in Faith by Laura Kastelein
“I don’t know what to
do with my life!”
How many times have you said or heard this? These words were cried in frustration most memorably when I was moving home, after several years away. While in the midst of adventuring, discovering, and exploring, I rarely thought about what was next. But once it was over I found I was unprepared to deal with the choices in front of me. Questions gnawed at my mind, making me wonder if I had missed God’s plan for my life. Did I get it wrong? Where was I supposed to be? What was I meant to do? Why didn’t anything make sense anymore? In reality I wasn’t failing at life, I was at a crossroads. Along the bumpy path of life’s road we all inevitably encounter forks, and deciding which direction to turn is a part of life. But how do you decide which way to go? Without knowing the big picture or where the road will take you, how do you know which direction is right? Sometimes the choices and options keep us up at night. And rightly so! Major life decisions like where to go to school, whether to marry, or what career path to follow should be taken seriously. However, losing sleep and anxious thoughts will only make things worse.
“Without knowing the big picture or where the road will take you, how do you know which direction is right?” As Christians, we believe this world is temporary and Christ’s return is imminent. Our life choices, then, become that much more important—we want to live lives of meaning, yet know there’s
so much more to come. It can be difficult to balance the here and now with what’s to come but the good news is God has already given us the tools we need to make wise decisions. Here are some ways I’ve learned to focus on what really matters when decisions threaten to keep me up at night: 1. Relax. Sometimes we get so focused on “the plan” and fearful of missing out on God’s best that we miss the point. Instead of stressing over the plan, focus on developing your relationship with Him. Trust that God will let you know what to do in His time. “Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left,” (Isaiah 30:20-21 NLT). 2. Remember. When a big decision is looming it’s easy to become overwhelmed to the point of paralysis. To break this cycle, remember God’s faithfulness to you in your life, and of His unchanging trustworthiness throughout history. He will remain faithful even if it’s difficult to see His hand in your current situation. “He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go,” (Proverbs 2:8-9). 3. Rest. When we’re struggling, this is no easy task. Give God your burden and believe He will give you what you need. Find His promises in the Bible and choose to hope in them. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek
When You Come to a Fork in the Road... continued from p. 9
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his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take,” (Proverbs 3:4-6). My story at this particular crossroad has an interesting conclusion. At one point I wrote down my interests, dreams, and hopes. After listing everything I could think of, I put them in order of importance. Then I glued them to a poster board and started drawing circles and lines to connect related topics. After a while all I could see was a giant, sticky mess and I cried in desperation, “Lord you are the only one who can make sense of this! I need you to take over!” Three years later I look back and can clearly see the Lord’s hand on my life, although at the time it just seemed like chaos. Step by step He has proven to be faithful and has shown me, in His perfect timing, how my seemingly random hopes and dreams connect in a way that makes me uniquely capable of serving Him in this time and place, with the ever-present hope of what’s to come. I don’t know much more than I did before, but now I’m confident I don’t have to. My job is to use this time on earth to live in relationship with my God, and to trust He will continue to lead and guide me as I navigate through the bumpy terrain on my journey towards eternity.
a girl with a board like this: interests, dreams, hopes, ordered and drawn all over with circles and lines connecting them.
A fork in the road is a metaphor to describe a deciding moment in life when a major choice of options is required. Did you know the phrase “fork in the road” is found in the Bible? Check out Ezekiel 21:19-23!
Free mp3 at lifetrac.ca If you ever find yourself wondering how biblical marriage can coexist in today’s society, you’ll want to download “The Most Challenging of All Relationships, Part Two.” In this full-length message, Chuck Swindoll explores concepts like authority, submission, and self-sacrifice in a way that’s both relevant and poignant.
Hearing Important Things
Relationships—do you “get” it? No matter if you’re male or female, young or old, married or single… You don’t want to miss this comical but real reflection on the evolving nature of marriage. Subscribe or listen free online at lifetrac.ca
Robyn Roste is the LifeTrac coordinator at IFLC.
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paperback book by Charles R. Swindoll & John F. Walvoord, 80 pages
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You’ll find more than just an outline of future events; you’ll find a map for daily living—what every believer should know about the end times . . . and why.
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In three acts, Revelation places us in the front row as the star of history, Jesus Christ, establishes an eternal kingdom. These workbooks will walk you through this confusing yet fascinating book of prophecy.
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Understanding the Book of Revelation
Insights on 1 Peter: Hope Again: When Life Hurts and Dreams Fade
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These messages unite the timeless words of Peter’s first epistle and the timely wisdom of Chuck Swindoll to bring hope in the midst of challenging trials.
Moment of Insight
I believe with all my heart we are rapidly approaching the end of time as we know it today. If Jesus Christ’s return happens this very night I won’t be one staring and saying, “Now? But we weren’t ready.” The truth is we are to live our lives with our eyes inclined towards the heavens, anticipating Christ’s return at any time.
We should yearn to see Him and be confident of His coming again as He promised in His Word.
After all . . . we don’t have a lot of time left. ~Charles Swindoll
Copyright 2011 by Charles R. Swindoll Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Adapted from “Grace-less” in the Insights short feature series. hourglass
© shutterstock.com/Marjan Veljanoski
Living with a by Charlie Costa
all the places in all the world, when God chose to establish His kingdom on earth, He chose a thin sliver of land hugging the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean. In that ancient land of Israel, God sent His Son. When Jesus began His earthly ministry, He preached a simple but profound message: “The kingdom of God is at hand; repent” (Mark 1:15). Jesus offered what the Jews had long sought: a King. And He prescribed an ethic that citizens of God’s kingdom must follow. Jesus’ statement that “the kingdom of God is at hand” was a legitimate and immediate offer. God’s kingdom was near at hand. So near, in fact, that the people Jesus encountered daily could have reached out and touched their King. All they had to do in order for the kingdom to be established was accept Jesus as their Messiah, their Deliverer, and King. But they rejected and crucified Him. As a result of the people’s hard hearts, God postponed the establishment of His kingdom on earth until Christ comes again, just as Jesus promised: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne” in Jerusalem”(Matthew 25:31). While we wait for Christ to return and establish His kingdom on earth, the message He preached continues and is available for all men and women—in Israel, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Iran, and in every corner of the globe. It is the message of repentance, of turning to Christ in faith for
Charlie Costa is pastor of Insight for Living Arabic
the forgiveness of sin. When we do this we become citizens of God’s kingdom and can no longer think and act as we did when we were citizens of the world. Now we represent God’s kingdom as ambassadors in a foreign land, adopting what we might call a “kingdom mentality.” I recently had the honour of preaching about the kingdom of God in the war-scarred land of Iraq. My purpose was to help the audience understand that citizenship in God’s kingdom is not just a theological idea for the future but has practical application for life today. For example, I preached a message on marriage, divorce, and remarriage from Matthew 19:3-12. A kingdom mentality recognizes that Jesus’ demands for marriage are high and holy and that marriage is the relationship of one man to one woman for a lifetime. And divorce? God allowed it because of hard-heartedness and unwillingness to repent, but it was permitted only as an absolute last resort. A kingdom mentality recognizes that, as citizens of God’s kingdom, Christians choose to view life differently from the rest of the culture. Jesus’ offer of the kingdom 2,000 years ago required a change of mind—it required repentance. The Lord still requires minds to change today. When we repent and begin to live with a kingdom mentality, we become living messages in the present that the future glorious kingdom of God is available to all who accept Jesus as Saviour. 13 15
Strong Family 16
by Charles R. Swindoll
ne of the first weddings I performed as a young pastor had all the promise you could hope for in a marriage. Both in their mid-twenties, both believers, he was a medical student, she was a nurse. It should have been a model marriage filled with peace and joy. Struggles would come, of course, but an enduring hope would get them through the dark days. Yet when I saw the bride about eight years later she looked 20 years older. She described a spiralling tragedy of drugs, adultery, bitterness, and separation. Long gone were the original peace and joy. And that weary soul had lost the one thing that could have snatched her marriage from the lowest levels of matrimonial misery: she had lost hope. How about you? How would you rate your own level of joy in the Christian life? Have you become depressed? Has that original fire for knowing Christ cooled to a simmering indifference? Have the tribulations of daily life rendered you hopeless? Pastors today constantly counsel believers struggling with depression, broken marriages, anxiety, anger, and weak self-control. They can’t help but wonder, “Where’s that abundant life Christ promised in John 10:10?”
Unquestionable Hope In Romans 5:1-11, Paul takes us from the marriage altar of our Christian faith to a new relationship with Jesus Christ—a relationship of peace, joy, and hope. This passage reveals how lasting joy in the Christian life can be achieved even in the midst of trials and struggles. Look at it with me. “Therefore, having been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand.” (Romans 5:1) The justification Paul describes is that moment when you placed your faith in Christ alone to forgive your sins and give you new life (Romans 5:5-11). For me that happened back in the 1940s. For some of you it may have been the 60s . . . or 80s . . . perhaps even more recently. If you’re a believer, at that moment you said, “I do” to Jesus Christ you became His bride, a member of His family, the Church, committed to Him forever. In this same paragraph Paul also describes the present effects of this past event: we have peace (5:1), we presently stand in grace (5:2), and we exult in hope.
How can we have an unquenchable hope that withstands even the worst onslaughts of despair? When someone says the word hope people usually think about the future— “I hope things get better” . . . “I hope I get that new job” . . . “I hope I don’t get sick.” Most of the time these hopes are no more than wishes based on personal desires. Such hopes can be easily shattered when reality barges in like a raging bull. Trials land on us. Disappointments linger. And inevitably joy languishes. But in Romans 5, Paul urges believers not only to look back on their past justification but also to look forward, beyond their immediate hardships and letdowns. He writes, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through 15 17
Him” (5:9). Don’t miss the tense: “We shall.” That’s future. That’s hope. And because we know we’ll spend eternity in Heaven, we can face any earthly hardship—even death itself (8:35-39). That is our unquestionable hope! Are you experiencing that kind of hope today? If not, why not?
Unquenchable Hope How can we have an unquenchable hope that withstands even the worst onslaughts of despair? We rejoice our way through them! Paul points out three levels of rejoicing: we rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2), we rejoice in our tribulations (5:3), and we rejoice in God (5:11). Notice that we don’t rejoice because of tribulations. We rejoice in the midst of them. We rejoice in spite of them because we know “that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint” (5:5). Think of it this way: you’re God’s personal project of character growth. That means you can rejoice even more because God never gives up on His project
(Philippians 1:6). He always has His eye on you, cultivating your character through tribulations. Are you feeling like the Spirit’s fruit has withered up under the excruciating heat of trials? Paul’s answer is clear: when tribulations come, we must remember that these trials are a means toward a magnificent end. If I’m told that the road to my glorious destination is marred by loose rocks and potholes, every jolt along the way reminds me that I’m on the right road. But I must never forget that God accompanies me on the journey. His reputation as our loving Father is at stake. We don’t always know where we’re going, but He does. With your past justification as your footing and your future hope as your fuel, you can take the present journey through trials and tribulations without losing your joy and peace. Yes, that’s possible! Your hope leads to perseverance, which builds character, which leads to greater hope (Romans 5:4). And that’s not just wishful thinking. That’s unquenchable hope. Comment on this article
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The following quiz is intended solely for the amusement of mature married couples. Keep in mind that quiz results should not be brought up during petty arguments or in front of the children. Please answer the questions honestly, bearing in mind that while it is impossible to fail this test, your answers may determine whether or not you spend the night on the couch. 1. When you are wrong, you will admit it to your partner: a. Within seconds b. Just as soon as cows produce root beer c. Usually before sunset 2. On your most recent vacation, you: a. Strolled sun-soaked beaches barefoot, basking in the glow of each other’s eyes b. Left messages on each other’s answering machines c. Had to come home for a rest 3. Complete this sentence: I believe the Children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because: a. God was testing their marriages b. Moses wanted them to really appreciate the Promised Land once they got there c. Moses refused to ask his wife for directions 4. When you’re watching TV together, who controls the remote? a. We do not watch television; we go for walks and talk about our feelings 18 20
b. I do c. Whoever gets there first 5. The food which best sums up your spouse’s kiss is: a. Jumpin’ jalapeno hot wings b. Airline omelette c. Hot apple pie 6. The movie title, which best sums up our lovemaking is: a. Some Like It Hot b. Gone With The Wind c. As Good As It Gets 7. (For men only:) You are on your knees giving thanks for the new purchase, a late model minivan, complete with DVD player when your frenzied wife calls from Biff’s Auto Repair saying she has totalled the van. You: a. Ask if she’s OK b. Total the telephone c. Ask if she’s OK…and if the DVD player still works
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8. (For women only) After a particularly tough day, your husband has crashed in front of the TV. You decide to: a. Stand beside the TV set and try on lingerie b. Sneak into the bedroom and put fiberglass insulation in his pyjamas c. Pour two tall ginger ales and crash with him 9. Your definition of communication is: a. I am attentive to my partner’s communication needs. I listen well and share openly my thoughts, aspirations, and feelings b. Nintendo c. Sorry, I was distracted. Could you repeat the question?
10. (For men only) Sunday morning has arrived, but your wife has not. She is still moving about the house checking on appliances—despite the fact that you are once again late for church. While waiting in the car with the children, you decide to: a. Return to the house and ask, “Is there anything I can do to help you, dear? I know I traumatized you this morning by bringing breakfast in bed a little late. I certainly do apologize” b. Leave without her c. Help the kids with their memory verses and somehow resist the urge to honk 11. It’s 12:30 a.m. and neither of you can sleep. Your spouse says, “Honey, I’m hungry, would you get me a slice of cheese?” You say: a. “Is that all, Sweetheart? How about a salad with croutons?” b. “Zzzzzzzzzzzzz” c. “How thick shall I slice it?”
How to score: If you answered “A” more than six times, thanks for taking this quiz on your honeymoon. If you found yourself gravitating to the “B” responses, please take an Aspirin and read the rest of this publication three times. Also…find a soft pillow. It’s time to sleep on the couch. If you chose “C” five or more times, you’ve got a good thing going. Sounds like some flexibility, lots of laughter, and a servant heart are keeping your marriage fresh. Phil is a popular speaker and author. Visit him at philcallaway.com
During February selected relationship and marriage products are 40% off. Visit insightforliving.ca/couples to view your favourite Chuck materials like the Marriage series and Hope Beyond “I Do.”
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paws and tales launch Get ready for a brand new look to Paws & Tales DVDs!
This month we have two Paws & Tales animated DVD releases. The first, God Cares for You, is a re-release of the episodes The Good Shepherd and A Good Foundation. And the price is only $5! If you already own these episodes, be a Paws & Tales ambassador by purchasing copies for your friends and neighbours. The second release, Overcoming Fears, includes new episodes High Noon and If The Tooth Be Known. Each DVD includes two episodes, Spanish tracks, parent resources, colouring pages, and more!
Paws & Tales DVDs communicate biblical truth and show kids how they can apply it to real life. Visit pawsandtales.ca for ordering information.
Hopeful Living by Ben Lowell
re you threatened or are you hopeful when I say the words, “Jesus is coming back?” Let’s be honest. Sometimes it depends upon the messenger, but how should we receive these words? What’s one of the things you enjoy most? Biking? Hiking? Visiting good friends or family during the holiday season? Travelling? Watching the Stanley Cup, Superbowl or even the Ashes? One thing I’ve noticed is anticipation can be as exhilarating as the event itself. We have a tendency to live with a different demeanour when we’re expectant. There’s a quickening in our step, we more readily overlook minor inconveniences, we communicate with a more positive tone. Why? Anticipation. There’s something wonderful just around the corner. I think this is the spirit of hope that is unique to the child of God, anticipation of what is to come. Our hope in Christ’s return is not a sense of “wouldn’t it be great if…”, but rather “let’s live knowing the certainty of His return.” We live with a greater resolve. After all the word defeat has been struck from our vocabulary. Chuck Swindoll, in one of his messages on 1 Peter, expresses our hope this way: “Hope is not a sedative, it is a shot of adrenalin, a blood transfusion. Like an anchor our hope in Christ stabilizes us in the storms of life, but unlike an anchor it does not hold us back.” So how do you live in anticipation of Jesus’ return? Does this hope energize you? Are you living in the here and now expectant of what is to come? Does it show? Do others see the evidence of a supernatural hope in the way you live? Are you able to rise above the waves of a storm knowing the certainty of your tomorrow? Followers of Christ are to stand out as being different. Though we face the same challenges of living in a lost world, we have the steadfast hope that He is in ultimate control, sees the beginning and the end, and knows the day of His return. And we will be the great beneficiaries. “Therefore, prepare you minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on grace to be given you when Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:13 NIV Just a thought… Ben Lowell is the executive director of IFLC
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Experience the Land and the Book Get ready to embark on an exciting journey through Israel with Chuck Swindoll!
Hear life-changing messages as Chuck teaches at the very locations where these Bible stories took place.
Upcoming Messages include:
Saul: A Study in Tragedy The Beatitudes: Lessons by a Lake Releasing our Burdens Beneath the Waves When Jesus Stopped to Pray A Place for Pondering and Praise A Captiveâ€™s Call to Freedom