VIDEO Orphan Train

Dec 28, 2010

Orphan Train (1979 TV Movie). This was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. They used to replay it every few years throughout the 1980’s.

A Reason to Sing

Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. Psalm 47:6

Singing changes the brain! Some studies show that when we sing, our bodies release hormones that relieve anxiety and stress. Other research indicates that when a group of people sings together, their heartbeats actually synchronize with each other.

The apostle Paul’s writing encourages the church to speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19). And the Bible repeats, “Sing praise” more than fifty times.

Praising God has power to change our thoughts, our hearts, and our lives.

In 2 Chronicles 20, we read a story of God’s people demonstrating their trust in God by singing as they marched into battle. Enemies were heading toward the people of Judah. Alarmed, King Jehoshaphat called everyone together. He led the community in intense prayer. They didn’t eat or drink, but only prayed, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (v. 12). The next day, they set out. They weren’t led by their fiercest warriors, but by their choir. They believed God’s promise that they would be delivered without having to fight at all (v. 17).

While they sang and walked toward the conflict, their enemies fought each other! By the time God’s people reached the battlefield, the fighting had ended. God saved His people as they marched by faith toward the unknown, singing His praises.

God encourages us to praise Him for good reasons. Whether or not we are marching into battle, praising God has power to change our thoughts, our hearts, and our lives.

God, we praise Your everlasting love and faithfulness! You protect and guide us, and we trust You with our lives.

Hearts in tune with God sing His praises.

By Amy Peterson

Living Out Our Faith

1 Peter 1:6-9

True faith is based upon Scripture and embraces its eternal principles. Genuine belief trusts that God is who He says He is and that He’ll do everything He has promised.

Such faith is worth sharing with others, and this can be done in several ways. For one thing, we can verbally explain our beliefs. But we can also model a godly lifestyle, which is frequently an even more effective method of influencing people for Christ.

Once during high school, I went to see my grandfather and visited with him for a week. We spent a lot of time talking—he listened carefully to me and then spoke about the ways God had worked in various situations over the years. At the end of that week, I went home thinking, God, if You will do that with my grandfather, what will You do in my own life? My faith grew stronger because of those days with him.

I was also profoundly influenced by the many times I heard my mother pray. When circumstances were hard, she would kneel by the bed with me and speak to our heavenly Father. In those quiet moments, I learned that we can trust God when things look hard or even impossible. I also discovered that God is faithful.

Consistency and perseverance are two other important facets of the faith we pass down. Children look to see if we mean what we say and if we will still rely on God when trouble comes. We can use our trials to demonstrate how a godly person responds. As we live out our faith in a visible way, we will be handing down something far more valuable than gold or silver.

From Disciples to Brethren

“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” (John 20:17)

It is interesting to note that our Lord never called His disciples “brethren” until after His resurrection, and our text, which identifies them as such, was the first thing He uttered after rising from the dead, at least as recorded in Scripture.

Until then He had referred to them in a variety of ways, including “little children” (John 13:33), “brethren,” in the sense of brothers in a family (Matthew 12:49), and even “friends.”

“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:15). Certainly the disciples held a special place in Christ’s heart.

But it was not until He had risen from the dead, He who was “the firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18), the “firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20), that His disciples, and indeed all who would “believe on [Him] through their word” (John 17:20), could be made “sons of God” (Romans 8:14). “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). This high standing comes as a fulfillment of His determination to “be the firstborn among many brethren” (v. 29).

He has relabeled the “great congregation” (Psalm 22:22, 25 quoted in Hebrews 2:12) the “church,” identifying the individual members as His “brethren,” and is not “ashamed” to do so (Hebrews 2:11). As we see in our text, His God is our God, His Father is our Father; in all ways, we who have believed on Him are His brothers. Oh, what a standing is ours! JDM

“One sinner destroyeth much good.”

Joshua 7:1-13, 15

Joshua 7:1

The chapter opens with a “but,” and a very serious “but” it was. One man in Israel had presumed to violate the express command of Jehovah, and had taken of the spoil of Jericho for himself, and had thus defied the curse which had been pronounced upon any who so acted. That one man’s sin, like a single drop of a potent poison, was sufficient to do damage to the whole body of Israel. Sin is so deadly an evil that the smallest measure of it may do more injury than we can reckon or imagine.

Joshua 7:2, 3

Israel had become confident of an easy victory, and a disposition to spare themselves was evidently growing up among them. The Lord would fight for them, and therefore they might ground their weapons. In this way, in all ages, the grace of God has been abused by the self-indulgence of men.

Joshua 7:4, 5

Defeat is the sure result of an indolent carnal security, and it is well when it drives the believer to his God again, and leads him with holy earnestness to put forth all his strength. God worketh in us to make us work ourselves; he never works indolence in us.

Joshua 7:7

This was a faulty expression, and savoured of distrust. It was not the position of the people, but their sin which had destroyed them.

Joshua 7:8

The grand old warrior felt his blood boil at the thought of his nation put to the rout.

Joshua 7:9

Here was the master plea of Moses; and when Joshua came to plead that, he was sure of success. We ought to be more concerned for the honour of God, than for anything else in the world.

Joshua 7:10-13

Sin will deprive a church of all power to do good. Though it may be an unknown sin, its effects will soon be visible enough. It is a blessed thing when affliction leads to humbling, and humbling to heartsearching. Lord, grant that no sin may be in this family either open or concealed, but make and keep us obedient to thy will evermore.

 

Spiritual Warfare Is Real!

Ephesians 6:12

Spiritual warfare is real! The devil and his demon spirits are not myths or fantasies. These are real beings that hate the human race and therefore roam about seeking whom they might destroy and devour. That’s why it is vitally important to know how to best protect yourself against their attacks!

Most of the attacks the devil wages against you will occur in your mind. He knows that your mind is the central control center for your life; therefore, if he can take control of one small area of your mind, he can begin to expand outward into other weak areas that need to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. By poisoning your mind with unbelief and lying strongholds, the devil can then manipulate not only your mind, but also your emotions and your body. There is no doubt about it—the mind is the strategic center where the battle is won or lost in spiritual warfare!

The devil wants to get access into your life—and if he finds that access, you may be headed for quite a conflict! You can see why it is so important that you keep every door shut; then the enemy won’t be able to find any entrance through which he can begin to wage warfare against you.

However, the devil will often put up quite a fight even when he doesn’t find an entrance into our lives. That’s why we need to know exactly what the Bible says about spiritual warfare.

In Ephesians 6:12, Paul told us, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” I want to especially draw your attention to the word “wrestle” in this verse, for this word is the key to understanding how intense spiritual warfare can become!

The word “wrestle” is from the old Greek word pale, which refers to struggling, wrestling, or hand-to-hand combat. However, the word pale is also the Greek word from which the Greeks derived their name for the Palastra— a huge palace of combat sports that was situated in the center of most larger, ancient cities.

The Palastra was a huge building that outwardly looked like a palace but was dedicated to the cultivation of athletic skills. Every morning, afternoon, and night, the most committed, determined, and daring athletes of the day could be found in this fabulous building, working out and training for their respective sports. Three kinds of athletes primarily worked out at the Palastra: boxers, wrestlers, and pankratists.

Let me tell you a little about how these sports functioned in the first century when Paul wrote this verse, because it forms the backdrop to the word “wrestle” in Ephesians 6:12. The first and most feared combat sport was boxing. But the boxers from the first century were not like our boxers today. Their sport was extremely violent— so violent that they were not permitted to box without wearing helmets. Without the protection of helmets, their heads would have been crushed! In fact, this sport was so severe that few boxers ever lived to retire from their profession. Most of them died in the ring. Of all the sports, the ancients viewed boxing as the most hazardous and deadly.

In this brutal and barbaric sport, the ancient boxers wore gloves ribbed with steel and spiked with nails. At times the steel wrapped around their gloves was serrated, like the blade of a hunting knife, in order to make deep gashes in the opponent’s skin. In addition to this, they used extremely heavy gloves that made every punch more damaging. It is quite usual to find artwork from the time of the ancient Greeks that includes boxers whose faces, ears, and noses are totally deformed from being struck by these dangerous gloves.

Making this sport even more dangerous was the fact that there were no rules— except that a boxer couldn’t clench his opponent’s fist. That was the only rule of the game! There were no “rounds” like there are in boxing today. The fight just went on and on until one of the two surrendered or died in the ring.

Next, there were wrestlers! Wrestling was also a deadly sport in the first century. In fact, most wrestlers chose to fight to the death rather than walk out of the ring in humiliation and defeat. As you see, it was an ugly, bloody sport. In order to make an opponent surrender, it was quite normal to strangle him into submission. Choking was another acceptable practice in wrestling. Like boxing, wrestling was an extremely violent and bloody sport that tolerated every imaginable tactic: breaking fingers, breaking ribs by a waist lock, gashing the face, gouging out the eyes, and so on. Wrestling was a bitter struggle to the very end.

The third combat sport was pankration, from the Greek words pan and kratos. The word pan means all, and kration is from the word kratos, which means power. When these two words were put together, they formed the word pankration, which means all powerful. These fighters were the fiercest, toughest, and most committed of all! In this sport, they were permitted to kick, punch, bite, gouge, strike, break fingers, break legs, and to do any other horrible thing you could imagine. There was no part of the human body that was off limits. They could do anything they wanted to any part of their competitor’s body, for there were basically no rules.

An early inscription from a father to his sons who participated in pankration says this: “If you should hear your son has died, you can believe it. But if you hear he has been defeated and chose to retire, do not believe it!” Why? Because like the other combat sports, pankration was extremely violent. While participating in this sport, more professional pankratists died than surrendered or were simply defeated.

I realize that these are very graphic images, but they are also very important images, for they are all contained in the word “wrestle” that Paul uses in Ephesians 6:12. In the day when Paul wrote this letter, everyone who saw the Greek word pale (“wrestle”) saw all these images in their minds. You can see, then, that this was a powerful, pungent word for Paul to use when he started to describe our conflict with unseen, demonic powers that Satan has marshaled together to try to destroy us. By using the word “wrestle” from the Greek word pale, Paul was telling every reader (and us) that spiritual warfare can be a bitter struggle and an intense conflict.

 

This first phrase in Ephesians 6:12 really carries this idea:

“For our wrestling—that is, our intense struggle, fierce combat, contest, challenge, and ongoing conflict—is not really with flesh and blood, but with….”

Then Paul goes on to describe the different levels of demonic powers that exist in Satan’s kingdom. As we look at what Paul said, I want you to see that this conflict can be fierce! I don’t mean to alarm you, but you need to know that the devil is serious in his attempts to destroy you—and if you haven’t prepared yourself spiritually to thwart such attacks, you may find yourself in a real quandary.

You see, our adversary is real. There are foul forces of darkness that work covertly behind most disasters and many moral failures. However, these demonic spirits can’t do anything unless our flesh cooperates with them! They may come to tempt, to seduce, to deceive, and to assault the mind—but unless they find a partner to listen or cooperate with them, their evil attempts are futile and powerless.

Therefore, the greatest key to winning every battle the devil wages against you is to keep your mind dominated by the Word of God. As you do that, your flesh will be kept under the control of the Holy Spirit, which will block the majority of the enemy’s attacks against your mind! This is why Peter urges us to “… gird up the loins of your mind…” (1 Peter 1:13).

Remember, the devil knows that if he can take control of one small area of your mind, he can begin to expand outward into other weak areas of your life. Therefore, don’t you think it’s time for you to start reading your Bible and filling your mind with God’s thoughts? There is no better mental protection against the enemy’s strategies than to fill your brain with God’s Word! It will strengthen you and keep your mind free from unbelief and lying strongholds.

So take God’s Word deep into your mind, and stop the devil from finding access into your life. Do everything you can to shut every door. Don’t give the enemy any entrance through which he can begin to wage warfare against you!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I don’t want to ever give the devil access to my mind. I ask for forgiveness for the times I’ve permitted wrong; thinking to go on inside me when I knew it was wrong. Now I understand that these are the areas through which the devil seeks to find entrance into my life. Starting today, I am asking You to help me locate each “open door” in my mind; then help me seal those doors shut by the power of Your Spirit and Your Word!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that my mind is dominated by the Word of God and that I am under the control of the Holy Spirit! I gird up the loins of my mind by reading my Bible and filling my mind with God’s thoughts. God’s Word strengthens me and keeps my mind free from unbelief and lying strongholds. I take God’s Word deep into my mind, and it stops the devil from finding access into my life!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Can you think of any “open doors” in your mind right now through which the devil finds access into your life? Write down the “open doors” you need to shut immediately in order to stop the enemy’s attacks.
  2. Now that you have identified these areas, what are you going to do to seal them shut so the devil’s access to your life is stopped?
  3. Are you able to do this on your own, or do you need to ask someone to help you with prayer and daily encouragement? If you need help, ask the Holy Spirit to show you whom you should talk to. Then boldly go to that person and ask for his or her assistance.

Remember, the devil knows that if he can take control of one small area of your mind, he can begin to expand outward into other weak areas of your life. Therefore, don’t you think it’s time for you to start reading your Bible and filling your mind with God’s thoughts? There is no better mental protection against the enemy’s strategies than to fill your brain with God’s Word! It will strengthen you and keep your mind free from unbelief and lying strongholds.

 

Four Values

1. THEY WANT YOU TO APPROACH THEM WITH INTEGRITY. That is:

  • They don’t want you to come with a hidden agenda.
  • They do want you to respect them for who they are.

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake.” (1 Corinthians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:5)

 

2. THEY WANT TO BE ABLE TO TRUST YOU AND FEEL SAFE WITH YOU. Therefore:

  • Don’t violate their confidence.
  • Never express shock at what they tell you.
  • Demonstrate compassion and empathy at their anguish and pain.

People who are well dont need a doctor! Its the sick people who do!I want you to be merciful For I have come to urge sinners, not the self-righteous, back to God.” (Matthew 9:12, 13b)

 

3. THEY WANT BIBLICAL COUNSEL FROM YOU. Therefore:

  • Recognize the superior value of Biblical truth over personal opinion.
  • Become a serious student of the Bible, making its mastery your goal.

The Scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God, and fit him fully for all branches of his work.” (2 Timothy 3:17 – Phillips)

 

4. THEY WANT A SHARED PURPOSE FOR THE RELATIONSHIP. Therefore, mutually agree as to the direction the meetings should take:

  • Friendship and mutual accountability?
  • Help in relating Biblical values to the marketplace?
  • Help in influencing others for Christ?

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

 

 

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