7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
The Sweetness of Forgiveness, by Alistair Begg
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
"And when I think of how great my sins were, how dear were the precious drops that cleansed me from them, and how gracious was the method by which pardon was sealed home to me, I am in a maze of wondering, worshiping affection. I bow before the throne that absolves me, I clasp the cross that delivers me, and all my days I give to serve the Incarnate God, through whom I am this night a pardoned soul."
The Sweetness of Forgiveness, by Alistair Begg
There are many ways to help our Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a very real need for bibles in China and Voice of the Martyrs could use your help. If you have a few extra dollars each month and the time to send bibles to China from your own home, there is information available for you here:
Voice of the Martyrs Bibles Unbound Program
"You'd think that 30,000 Bibles would quench the thirst for God's Word in China.
""It just barely scratches the need," says Barry Werner with Bibles for China. "There are 35,000 people coming to Christ each day; about 50% of those [are] in the remote, rural areas where we go.
""30,000 Bibles basically was 2 days' worth of converts in rural China."
"Leading a team of four, Werner traveled recently to remote areas of China, armed with a simple task: to verify that 30,000 Bibles, purchased in China with donated funds, reached the hands of rural Chinese believers.
""Verification we could do with a stone face," says Werner. "But when you get in amongst the people and hand a Bible to a person that has never had one, that's where the emotional part is a little bit overwhelming at times."
"This was par for the course, but something else made the October trip a little different than the others.
""Normally we go in and we don't even see a government official, unless there's some problem with a permit or some sort of visa problem," explains Werner. But with national leadership changing on November 15, he says a government official was assigned to accompany their team to every church they visited.
""That really put a different spin on our whole trip.... We had a government official with us at every meal and at every church we went to."
"Werner and his team planned to speak for 5 minutes at each congregation they visited. He says the presence of government officials made them second-guess the words they would use, but in the end, they decided to speak exactly what God had laid upon their hearts.""
Finish Reading "Chinese Believers Hunger for God's Word" at Mission Network News
11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
It may be too late to pray for our country,
but it's never too late to PRAISE THE LORD!
1 O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! 2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease. 3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; 4 What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? 5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! 6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, 7 All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, 8 The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!
Saul on the Road to Damascus
3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was, 4 that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, "Here I am." 5 Then he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call, lie down again." So he went and lay down. 6 The LORD called yet again, "Samuel!" So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he answered, "I did not call, my son, lie down again." 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him. 8 So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 And Eli said to Samuel, "Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, 'Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.' " So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for Your servant is listening."
1 Samuel 3:3-10
19 And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
1 Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, 2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" 5 And he said, "Who are You, Lord ?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6 but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do." 7 The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
"The manner and circumstances of the call are radically diverse, but its personal nature is the same... Jesus Christ knows you intimately. He calls you by name. Listen for Him today! When you hear Him—respond to Him!"
Read Call by Name, by Steve Arterburn
It was chilly in Manhattan, but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square. Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it's enough to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth. For a musician, it's the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I'm told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right.
Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing. It was a fun, low-pressure gig. I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the '40s to the '90s with a few original tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition of the classic, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along.
After the tune was over, she approached me. "I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?" she asked.
"No," I replied. "We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?" To my delight, she accepted my invitation. "You choose," I said. "What are you in the mood to sing?"
"Well. ... Do you know any hymns?"
Hymns? This woman didn't know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church.
I gave our guest singer a knowing look, "Name one."
"Oh, I don't know. There are so many good ones. You pick one."
"Okay," I replied, "How about 'His Eye is on the Sparrow'?"
My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said, "Yeah. Let's do that one." She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop.
With my two-bar setup, she began to sing, "Why should I be discouraged? Why should the shadows come?"
The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion.
"I sing because I'm happy; I sing because I'm free. For His eye is on the sparrow And I know He watches me."
When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the lady tried to shout over the din, "Oh, y'all go back to your coffee! I didn't come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get somethin' to drink, just like you!" But the ovation continued.. I embraced my new friend, "You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!"
"Well, it's funny that you picked that particular hymn," she said. "Why is that?" I asked. "Well," she hesitated again, "that was my daughter's favorite song." "Really!" I exclaimed. "Yes," she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had subsided and it was business as usual. "She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week."
I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence, "Are you going to be okay?" She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. "I'm gonna be okay. I've just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything's gonna be just fine." She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.
Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it. God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it's no stretch for me to imagine that he could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting him and singing his songs, everything's gonna be okay.
The next time you feel like GOD can't use YOU, remember, Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a daydreamer, Jacob was a liar, Leah was ugly, Joseph was abused, Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon was afraid, Samson had long hair and was a womanizer, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, David had an affair and was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Isaiah preached naked, Jonah ran from God, Peter denied Christ, The Disciples fell asleep while praying, And Lazarus was dead!
No more excuses now!! God can use you to your full potential. Besides you aren't the message, you are just the messenger. And God promised to give you the words.
1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 "Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea. 3 "For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, 'They are wandering aimlessly in the land ; the wilderness has shut them in.'
4 "Thus I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD." And they did so.
5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart toward the people, and they said, "What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?" 6 So he made his chariot ready and took his people with him;
7 And he took six hundred select chariots, and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them.
8 The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly.
9 Then the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and they overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.
10 As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked , and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD.
11 Then they said to Moses, "Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt?
12 "Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.
13 But Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today ; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.
14 "The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent."
15 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.
16 "As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.
17 "As for Me,
behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.
18 "Then the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen."
19 The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them.
20 So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided.
22 The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
23 Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea.
24 At the morning watch, the LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion.
25 He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from Israel, for the LORD is fighting for them against the Egyptians."
26 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen."
27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh's entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained. 29 But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.
31 When Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses.
1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;
2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.
3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.
4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.
"Has it ever been easier than now for a believer to become distracted and lose focus on God? If the apostle Paul found himself “greatly distressed” that Athens was “full of idols” (Acts 17:16), what would he think after checking out today’s culture–the internet, TV, movies, DVD’s, video games, radio, faxes, email, cell phones...?"
Read More of Maintaining Focus, by Stephen Arterburn
1 Give ear to my prayer, O God;
And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
2 Give heed to me and answer me;
I am restless in my complaint and am surely distracted,
3 Because of the voice of the enemy, Because of the pressure of the wicked;
For they bring down trouble upon me and in anger they bear a grudge against me.
4 My heart is in anguish within me,
And the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
5 Fear and trembling come upon me,
And horror has overwhelmed me.
6 I said, "Oh , that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
7 "Behold, I would wander far away,
I would lodge in the wilderness. Selah.
8 "I would hasten to my place of refuge
From the stormy wind and tempest."
9 Confuse, O Lord, divide their tongues,
For I have seen violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they go around her upon her walls,
And iniquity and mischief are in her midst.
11 Destruction is in her midst;
Oppression and deceit do not depart from her streets.
12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, Then I could bear it;
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide myself from him.
13 But it is you, a man my equal,
My companion and my familiar friend;
14 We who had sweet fellowship together
Walked in the house of God in the throng.
15 Let death come deceitfully upon them; Let them go down alive to Sheol,
For evil is in their dwelling, in their midst.
16 As for me, I shall call upon God,
And the Lord will save me.
17 Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur,
And He will hear my voice.
18 He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me,
For they are many who strive with me.
19 God will hear and answer them- Even the one who sits enthroned from of old - Selah.
With whom there is no change, And who do not fear God.
20 He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him;
He has violated his covenant.
21 His speech was smoother than butter, But his heart was war;
His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords.
22 Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
23 But You, O God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction;
Men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days. But I will trust in You.
2 Chronicles 30:
27 Then the Levitical priests arose and blessed the people;
And their voice was heard
And their prayer came to His holy dwelling place,
"Prayer is the never-failing response of the Christian in any case, in every plight. When you cannot use your sword, you may take up the weapon of prayer. Your powder may be damp, your bowstring may be relaxed, but the weapon of prayer need never be out of order. Satan laughs at the javelin, but he trembles at prayer. Swords and spears need to be sharpened, but prayer never rusts; and when we think it most blunt, it cuts the best. Prayer is an open door that no one can shut. Devils may surround you on all sides, but the way upward is always open, and as long as that road is unobstructed, you will not fall into the enemy's hand."
Finish Reading Alistair Begg's, Weapon of Prayer
God to enfold me,
God to surround me,
God in my speaking,
God in my thinking.
God in my sleeping,
God in my waking,
God in my watching,
God in my hoping.
God in my life,
God in my lips,
God in my soul,
God in my heart.
God in my sufficing,
God in my slumber,
God in mine ever-living soul,
God in mine eternity.
All Scripture at Annie's Blog
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