Last Call Digest: God Cares About You! -Raul Ries

God Cares About You!

“Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; 
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”
Psalms 55:22 

What problem are you experiencing right now? God wants you to take this problem and put it into His hands. He wants you to learn to trust Him and look to Him for strength. Mabey you are angry or depressed about this problem or bad circumstances?

The first step you need to take, is to admit to God that you are angry and depressed, but that you want to commit this whole situation to Him and seek His will and strength.

God wants to help you in your situation. He loves you and cares for you!

Thought for the Day:


God cares about every aspect of your life – 
Especially the situation you find yourself in right now!

Last Call Digest

This material was brought to you by Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity. Last Call Digest, is a ministry of Michael James Stone, volunteers, and people dedicated to the Love of God and Salvation of Souls. It is an aggragate of Christian Material selected to Bless you and Prepare you for each and every day you read them. May God Bless You as You Do!! Reading these Devotions will help you to prepare daily for life, living, and your Lord. You will hear God Speak To You thru them.  Jesus  is Coming Very Soon.

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Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity, operates by you, with you, and for you. “Freely you have received, freely give”  Pass this on, everywhere you can, anytime you can, anyway you can. You will be blessed if you do.LastCallDigest@michaeljamesstone.com

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Last Call Digest: Has no one condemned you?" -Bob Coy

SPIRITUAL SIGH

When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." John 8:10-11 (NKJV)

Imagine the spiritual sigh of relief that resonated inside this woman's heart as these words of forgiveness fell on her ears. Keep in mind that she was guilty of the accusations against her. She had been caught in the act of adultery (John 8:4), and under Mosaic Law, her execution would have been just and reasonable. 
Let that sink in. She undoubtedly knew the Law; perhaps she had even seen it enforced on others. In all likelihood, she considered her death a foregone conclusion; all that remained to be determined were the details.

What would it feel like when the first volley of stones found their mark? What would be the image she saw before closing her eyes for the last time? And what would it be like to walk into the shadowy valley of death as an adulteress? 


Freeze that frame for a moment and put yourself in her place. As sinners, we were just as guilty before God as she was. Her adultery was our lying, cheating, greed, idolatry, etc. No matter how we fill in the blank, all of us deserved eternal death for sinning against a perfect, pure, and holy God (Romans 6:23). 


Then we looked to Him and heard Him say, I don't condemn you; I forgive you. Thankfulness, gratitude, appreciation . . . these words fall short in describing the spiritual sigh of relief we share with this forgiven woman. The trajectory of our destiny was completely changed-sinners were made saints, punishment was exchanged for paradise, and instead of stones, we feel His forgiveness-all because Jesus forgives sinners. 


"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:17 NKJV)

Discuss what you think was going though this woman’s mind as the accusers walked away. What kind of life do you suppose she lived after this encounter with Jesus? Dig into Romans Chapter 6. What should our response to God’s forgiveness be? Decide to live like a person who’s been given a second chance at life.

Each day, take time to “count yourself dead to sin” and alive to God through Christ.

Last Call Digest

This material was brought to you by Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity. Last Call Digest, is a ministry of Michael James Stone, volunteers, and people dedicated to the Love of God and Salvation of Souls. It is an aggragate of Christian Material selected to Bless you and Prepare you for each and every day you read them. May God Bless You as You Do!! Reading these Devotions will help you to prepare daily for life, living, and your Lord. You will hear God Speak To You thru them.  Jesus  is Coming Very Soon.

Last Call

Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity, operates by you, with you, and for you. “Freely you have received, freely give”  Pass this on, everywhere you can, anytime you can, anyway you can. You will be blessed if you do.LastCallDigest@michaeljamesstone.com

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Last Call Digest: True and righteous are thy judgments. -Jon Courson

And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

 

Revelation 16:7

 

The phrase ‘another out of’ does not appear in the original Greek text. Thus, newer translations correctly render this verse: ‘And I heard the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.’ Now whether this voice be figurative or literal, I cannot say. But this much is sure: the voice which cries, ‘True and righteous are thy judgments, O Lord,’ originates at the altar. 

In our own times of trial and tribulation, there can be a tendency within us to question the fairness of the Father.

But the altar, the place of sacrifice, the Cross speaks just the opposite.

If you don’t see this, you’ll go through life one day blessing the Lord in the amphitheater and the next day cursing Him because of your troubles at work. 

God demonstrated His love for you in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Therefore, I must look at every trial I face, every hard time I endure through the lens of God’s love as shown on the altar of Calvary.

‘What shall we say then? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ (Romans 8:32). Because God loved me enough to hang on the Cross in my place, to pay for my sin, to die for me, I know everything He does in my life — whether or not I understand it at the time — is right. 

If I complain about my job, boss, paycheck, kids, singleness, employees — it only means I am not listening to the cry of the altar, that I have forgotten Calvary. Allow the Cross to ‘altar’ your view, precious people, as you look at everything in the light of Calvary.

Last Call Digest

This material was brought to you by Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity. Last Call Digest, is a ministry of Michael James Stone, volunteers, and people dedicated to the Love of God and Salvation of Souls. It is an aggragate of Christian Material selected to Bless you and Prepare you for each and every day you read them. May God Bless You as You Do!! Reading these Devotions will help you to prepare daily for life, living, and your Lord. You will hear God Speak To You thru them.  Jesus  is Coming Very Soon.

Last Call

Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity, operates by you, with you, and for you. “Freely you have received, freely give”  Pass this on, everywhere you can, anytime you can, anyway you can. You will be blessed if you do.LastCallDigest@michaeljamesstone.com

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Last Call Digest: The Battle for Our Souls -Bob Caldwell

The Battle for Our Souls

 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"

The conflict between the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of light is obvious during these last 3½ years of the Great Tribulation. We see this clearly between the two witnesses of God and the "Beast" (the anti-Christ). We see it between the woman and child (Israel and Christ) and the great dragon (Satan) (12:1-17, 19:20-20:3).

When Jesus appeared to Paul at his conversion, He made direct reference to this battle that rages over our souls between the kingdoms of Satan and Christ. Three days after Saul's conversion, Christ gave him his call to preach the gospel with the end result being that He would "open their eyes in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to the power of God" (Acts 26:18).

This tension between the two kingdoms for supremacy over our souls provides the basis by which the true heart condition of all humanity is revealed. God uses this tension in our lives just as He did in the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God allowed Satan to tempt each one of us in this conflict for our souls.

As God calls us into the kingdom of Christ, Satan unleashes all his wrath and deceptions to turn us away. If in the face of all Satan does to deter us, we overcome with obedient faith, we have made a decision that settles forever who will and who will not be faithful to God for all eternity.

Conversely, for those who choose to stay aligned with the kingdom of darkness, it will be proof for all eternity why such people are kept in hell. This is the proof that no matter what God did to reveal Himself and His gospel they rejected Him.

Clearly in this last half of the tribulation these two witnesses and their revealed power from God is proof that they are witnesses for God. Clearly the way God protected the 144,000 and the "woman" will be proof that they and their Messiah are of God.

Our response to the clear call and evidence of God's Kingdom versus Satan's will leave none of us with any excuse when we stand before God to be judged (11:17-18).

What will happen in the tribulation to seal the eternal destiny of mankind happens in each generation of humanity prior to the tribulation. Therefore, watch and pray, for our souls dwell in the valley of decision. With which kingdom will our faith and allegiance lie?

Revelation 11:1-12:17  The Two Witnesses

1 Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, "Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. 2 But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. 3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth."

4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. 6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.

The Witnesses Killed

7 When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. 10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.

The Witnesses Resurrected

11 Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. 13 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

Seventh Trumpet: The Kingdom Proclaimed

15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" 16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying:

"We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.

18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great,
And should destroy those who destroy the earth."

19 Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

Revelation 12 The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon

1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.

3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. 5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

Satan Thrown Out of Heaven

7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time."

The Woman Persecuted

13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 11:1-12:17

v. 1 measuring rod – This term literally means "reed." In ancient times, surveyors would use reeds (a species of cane) that grew in the swamp lands of the Mediterranean as measuring rulers. These reeds were straight like a staff, and they could grow to lengths of 15 to 20 feet long. We are not sure the size of this rod, but in Ezekiel 40:5, his measuring rod was 6 cubits (about 9 feet long).

measuring – This could refer to God knowing and claiming His possessions; the Temple, the altar, and those worshiping Him during this time of the tribulation.

The temple of God – Around 70 AD, the Roman Empire came in to Jerusalem and destroyed it along with the Temple of God. The Temple consisted of two places: the holy place and the Holy of Holies, which was considered the dwelling place of God. The Temple referred to in this passage is the Temple which will be rebuilt during the tribulation period. During these end times, Jewish worship will be reinstated until it is corrupted by the man of sin (2 Thess. 2:4).

The Altar – The Temple had two altars: the "brazen altar" which was outside in the courtyard, and the "altar of incense" which was inside the Temple in the holy place. In this passage, it would be best understood that this altar referred indeed to "the altar of incense," because it was part of the Temple which John was asked to measure, while the other was outside that area.

Those who worship there – This refers to Jewish believers that will worship God during the first part of the tribulation time.

v. 2 The holy city – Jerusalem

v. 3 Two witnesses – These two witnesses will prophesy for three and a half years of the Great Tribulation. These witnesses will be prophesying against the unrepentant world and the injustice and defilement of the anti-Christ.

Prophesy – to speak forth by divine inspiration or influence

Sackcloth – a rough garment made with goat and camel hair. It was the common cloth of the poor, and it was symbolically associated with mourning. Though God had given power to his two witnesses, they wore sackcloth to symbolize mourning in these times of tribulation and troubles.

v. 4 These are the two olive trees – This mystery was first introduced in Zechariah 4:8-14: "These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth." They have been set apart to be witnesses and communicate God's message to the people of the world.

and the two lampstands – These two witnesses will shine forth the light of God's truth.

v. 7 The Beast – This is the first reference to the beast out of 36 total in the book of Revelation. The beast is a reference to the "anti-Christ."

v. 8 the great city – Jerusalem

Sodom – Was located at the southern part of the Dead Sea. During Abraham's day it was a city known for its vile corruption and wickedness (Gen. 18:20). The city was so evil God chose to destroy it and its inhabitants. Jerusalem is compared to this city, because though it was to be a holy city, it became corrupt and wicked.

Egypt – As Sodom represents corruption and wickedness, Egypt represents slavery and bondage as the Hebrews were once enslaved there. Egypt also worshiped many false gods. Thus, Egypt represents both physical and spiritual bondage.

v. 11 breath of life – To give life. In Genesis 2:7, God breathed life into Adam. In the same way God will give life to the bodies of these dead prophets.

v. 13 a tenth of the city fell – This refers to a tenth of the city of Jerusalem being destroyed by the great earthquake that follows the disappearance of the two witnesses into the sky.

v. 15 the kingdom of this world – This is the kingdom of the anti-Christ. The prophet Daniel mentions this kingdom in Daniel 7:14. This kingdom is unlike any kingdom we have experienced. It is distinct from all others kingdoms, because it will dominate the globe.

The kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ – The final glorious Messianic kingdom spoken of in Daniel 7:11-14. After the beast is defeated this kingdom will replace the kingdom of the anti-Christ and have no end. From this point on there will be no more corrupt governments of men. Christ Himself will rule over the earth forever.

v. 18 the time of the dead, that they should be judged – This is a reference to "the Great White Throne Judgment" (20:11-15). At that time everyone great and small will be judged for the works in their lives whether good or bad.

v. 19 The temple of God – This is not talking about the Temple of the tribulation time. It is a heavenly temple. In the book of Hebrews, the author makes it clear that the institutions on Earth that pertain to God are mirrors or shadows of what is in Heaven. So, just as there is a Temple of God on earth, there is a heavenly Temple.

Revelation 12

v. 1 signsemeion (Gk.) an indication, especially ceremonially or supernaturally; miracle, token, wonder

a woman – represents the nation of Israel (Gen. 37:9-10)

sun…moon…twelve stars – Here is one of the evidences of this woman being the nation of Israel. Compare this woman's clothing and appearance to Joseph's dream in Genesis 37:9. Joseph's father Jacob was the father of the 12 patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. Jacob's name was later changed to "Israel." (Gen 32:28) In Joseph's dream he saw his father and mother as the sun and the moon. He saw his 11 brothers as 11 stars. Joseph and his 11 brothers would add up to 12 stars.

v. 2 with child…in pain to give birth – A second piece of evidence pointing to this woman's identity being Israel. The description of this child in verse 5 makes clear the child is Jesus Christ. This woman's labor and pain may very well represent the many afflictions endured by Israel throughout history before the birth of Christ.

v. 3 great, fiery red dragondrakon (Gk.) simply means great serpent. And he is identified in 12:9 as the Devil and Satan. Satan made his first appearance as a great serpent in the Garden of Eden when he enticed Eve to sin (Gen. 3:1-6).

seven heads and ten horns – It is helpful to contemplate this vision in the light of Daniel's prophecy when he was given a vision of the end times (Daniel 7:7-8, 24). Daniel's vision reveals the 10 horns to be 10 kings.

seven diadems on his heads – The number seven in scripture often represents perfection or completeness. Diadems (crowns) represent authority. Therefore this dragon is depicted as having complete military and political power on the earth.

v. 4 third of the stars…to the earth – A depiction of Satan bringing a third of the angels of heaven down with him when he rebelled against God and was as a result cast out of heaven (2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6).

to devour her Child – Descriptive of Satan's attempt to destroy the Messiah born of Israel. Satan did everything in his power to kill the Christ child from the time of His birth as he worked through King Herod to slaughter the innocent children of Bethlehem (Matt. 2:16-18).

v. 5 male Child…rule all nations…rod of iron – This is an obvious picture of the Messiah promised in the Old Testament scriptures (Ps. 2:8-9).

Child was caught up – This snapshot leaves out much detail concerning Jesus Christ as we are taken from Christ's birth to His ascension in an instant. This is because the vision is not meant to be a detailed description of history but a rather a representation of the struggle in the spiritual world that lies behind history.

v. 6 wildernesseremos (Gk.) lonesome; desert, desolate, solitary place

one thousand two hundred and sixty days – This period represents the second half of the Great Tribulation, the three and a half years or the second half of the "prophetic week" (7 years) mentioned in Daniel 9:24-27 when he prophesied concerning the end times.

v. 7 war broke out in heaven – The idea of war in heaven is not a new one. Michael is the victorious warrior angel of God known for his ability to make war and win. In Daniel 10, an angel comes to answer Daniel's prayer (Dan 10:10-14). But he was detained for 21 days by an evil angel, "The Prince of Persia." Then Michael the Archangel came and subdued this evil angel.

Michael and his angels fought with the dragon – The conflict of this war is between Michael and his angels versus the devil and his angels. Apparently the devil possesses and commands angels under his power. Likewise, Michael, the Archangel also has angels under his command.

MichaelMichael (Gk.) meaning who is like God. Michael is an archangel which means he is a lead or chief angel. He is the only angel that is referred to as an archangel in scripture (Jude 9), and in Daniel 12:1 we see he has a specific purpose. It appears that Michael's purpose is to watch over the nation of Israel (Dan. 12:1, Jude 1:9).

v. 9 he was cast to the earth – Though the Devil and his angels are cast out of heaven they are not utterly destroyed. They are merely restricted to the sphere of the earth. And there the deception of Satan is still at work today.

v. 10 salvationsoteria (Gk.) rescue or safety (physically or morally) deliver, health, save, saving

strengthdunamis (Gk.) force (literally or figuratively) miraculous power: ability, abundance. This is the Greek word we get "dynamite" from.

accuserkategoreo (Gk.) means to be a plaintiff, or to charge with some offence. Satan (the accuser of the brethren) has always made accusations against God's saints. He accused Job (Job 1:11, 2:5), and he also accused Joshua the High priest (Zech. 3:1). We can also see, he once tried to gain permission to find accusations against the Apostle Peter, but Jesus intervened and protected Peter (Luke 22:31, 32).

has been cast down – Satan's ultimate defeat comes four in stages. Here (Rev. 12:8-9) he will be cast down to the earth in the middle of the Tribulation, restricting his boundaries. Later he will be bound for the duration of the millennial kingdom (20:1-3). After that he will be once more loosed for a time and finally be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur (20:10) where the world ruler (anti-Christ) and the false prophet will have been cast a 1,000 years earlier.

v. 11 overcame him by the blood of the Lamb – In the Jewish sacrificial system, the blood of a sacrificial lamb was a temporary atonement or covering for sins (Ex. 29:39, Lev. 4:35, Num. 6:14). The lamb's blood represented the death and punishment of the individual's sin. This was a shadow of the ultimate redemption found only in Christ. When Jesus' blood was shed it allowed those who trust in his substitutionary death to be forgiven. Satan can no longer accuse those who are in Christ (Rom 3:24; 8:1, 2, 39). It's by this principle that the tribulation believers will overcome.

and by the word of their testimony – their verbal witness or proclamation of their faith (Rom. 10:9-13)

did not love their lives to the death – They were willing to die for their faith in Christ.

v. 12 a short time – This refers to the last three and a half years of the tribulation period where Satan will only have a few years left to attack these believers before he is conquered by Christ. Thus, Satan's wrath increases as he is aware that his time of judgment and reckoning approaches.

v. 13 the woman – the nation Israel from whom the Christ had come forth

v. 14 wings of a great eagle – This is very familiar Old Testament language describing how God takes care of Israel (Ex. 19:4; Deut. 32:11, 12).

a time and times and half a time – The three and a half years of the Great Tribulation A time equals a year. During this last half of the tribulation and the worse part of God's judgment upon Satan and the sinful inhabitance of the earth, God will protect Israel from all wraths.

v. 15 water out of his mouth like a flood – This refers to some type of retaliation against the woman. It is clear that the serpent (Satan) is trying to destroy the woman (Israel). Even though the woman has been protected by God and taken to a place of safety, relentlessly Satan still tries to harm her. This depiction may possibly be a literal flash flood in the wilderness caused by Satan to wipe out Israel in hiding. Some see this flood as symbolic of invading armies.

v. 16 the earth helped the woman – This is reminiscent of Numbers 16:30-33 when God caused the earth to open up to purge Israel from rebellion and to judge the offenders.

v. 17 the rest of her offspring – From the context, this is referring to all obedient believers of Christ living at that time.

"Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!'" –Revelation 11:15

While the scenes described in Revelation seem distant to us today, God, they are part of Bible prophecy and are absolutely in our future. Keep us from considering this part of Your Word as something that will happen far in the future. Help us to remember that we do not know the time period of these events and that time for us to spread the gospel is short indeed.

 Transforming Vision Retreat

I went to the Retreat seeking help in some of life's problems. Throughout the retreat I still remained blocked to God's love and just wasn't "getting it." After admitting to everyone what I was feeling, another attendee asked when I was saved. I thought I had been, but realized I wasn't. She asked me if I believed in God and that Jesus Christ was my savior. I said yes and soon we prayed together. The retreat was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. At the baptism yesterday the same woman was now at my side helping to guide me into the water for my baptism. Both she and my discipler helped me and it is a moment I will never forget.

Prayer Points

·        for the experience of this retreat to transform the lives of women who attend and give them the knowledge that God loves them

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Last Call Digest: The Promise of Christmas -Greg Laurie

The Promise of Christmas

God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. The Good News is about his Son. . . .

Romans 1:2–3

I have always believed in the promise of Christmas. There is something very special, wonderful, even magical (in the best use of that word) at this time of year. And that goes back to my earliest childhood.

With Christmas, we have a sense of wonder, beauty, and anticipation. We look forward to being with loved ones, family and friends, and eating incredible food. It is a wonderful time of the year. It is also a time that is marked, for the most part, by an absence of meanness. There is a kindness that people will demonstrate toward one another, even strangers.

But here is the question: Does Christmas really deliver on its promises? It does sometimes—a little bit here and a little bit there. But for the most part, Christmas doesn't really deliver. In fact, what it does deliver is a lot of difficulty. If you are a man, your blood pressure will go up dramatically at this time of the year. A study was done by a British psychologist who found that Christmas shopping is actually hazardous for men's health, due to its elevating effects on blood pressure. The same study also revealed that women's blood pressure remained unaffected by the holiday shopping ritual.

So what is Christmas at its worst? It is a crass, commercial, empty, exhausting, and very expensive event that drags on for months at a time. And what is Christmas at its best? It is a glimpse of something that is coming: the beauty . . . the wonderful music . . . the adoring angels . . . the love . . . the warmth . . . the promise . . . the hope. Because when you get down to it, Christmas is a promise. It is a promise of things to come.

Last Call Digest

This material was brought to you by Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity. Last Call Digest, is a ministry of Michael James Stone, volunteers, and people dedicated to the Love of God and Salvation of Souls. It is an aggragate of Christian Material selected to Bless you and Prepare you for each and every day you read them. May God Bless You as You Do!! Reading these Devotions will help you to prepare daily for life, living, and your Lord. You will hear God Speak To You thru them.  Jesus  is Coming Very Soon.

Last Call

Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity, operates by you, with you, and for you. “Freely you have received, freely give”  Pass this on, everywhere you can, anytime you can, anyway you can. You will be blessed if you do.LastCallDigest@michaeljamesstone.com

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Last Call Digest: God so loved the world -Kay Arthur

PRECEPTS FOR LIFE

a Production of

Precept Ministries International

P.O. Box 182218, Chattanooga, TN 37422-7218

1-888-734-7707/ www.preceptsforlife.com

The following is an actual transcript of the PRECEPTS FOR LIFE Broadcast.

For the purpose of filling transcript requests quickly, they have received only light editing.

If you have questions concerning the material covered in this broadcast, Kay has published a number of books explaining the Scripture in depth.

These books may be ordered by contacting the telephone number or address printed above.

SERIES: Christmas: Receiving And Giving Love

TITLE: Program 3 – Giving The Gift Of Love

WEDNESDAY (12/23/09)

You’ve got your shopping list. You know who needs what and you’re ready to go and buy, because Christmas to many many people is about giving, the giving of gifts. I want to ask you a question: Have you thought about what you’re going to give God this year?

You see there would be no Christmas apart from God.

There would not be a Christmas if God had not sent His Son in the fullness of time to die for you.

So what are you going to give Him in return?

We’ll talk about it today.

PART ONE

What’s the first word that comes into your mind when I say Christmas? Is it gifts? Is it parties? Is it pain? Is it loneliness? Is it family? Is it joy? What is the first word that you associate with Christmas? Well if Christmas is going to be everything that you dream of it being the word that you ought to associate with Christmas

Beloved, is the word “love”, because Christmas is about love. Christmas is about first of all, receiving the love of God, because that baby whose birth we are celebrating was God’s ultimate expression of His love.

In John 3:16 it says, “…God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son….”

(John 3:16a)

Jesus came in the fullness of time. He was born of a virgin. He was born without sin. He was born to die, to die for your sins and my sins so that you and I who are separated from God might be reconciled to God. Christmas is about love, a love that reconciles, a love that takes two that are at enmity with one another and again makes them friends or brings them back. Love reconciles. It’s not God that needs to be reconciled to man, but it is man that needs to be reconciled to God. Christmas is about love and love heals. Love salves our wounds and brings healing to us.

This is what Christmas is all about.

Christmas is receiving the love of God. And Christmas is in turn loving others and loving God. Now often we think about the gift that we’re going to give to our mother or our father or sister or brother or husband or wife, our kids. And we know that the kids are so excited and we know that they cannot wait. They just cannot wait to open their presents. But Christmas is about the joy of giving to others also. I remember when I was a little girl and my daddy smoked pipes. And what I would do is I would seek to fill his pipe stand with pipes because I knew my daddy loved pipes. And I didn’t have a lot of money. I had to work. I had to earn my own money and I had to buy my own pipe.

Nobody bought daddy’s pipe for me to give to him.

So they were not treasures, but they were to me. And I remember I would sit there and I would get so excited I could hardly stand it. Why? Because I loved my daddy and I wanted to make my daddy happy. I wanted my daddy to be thrilled with what I gave him. And of course because pipes are small and because they come in a certain size package I didn’t want daddy to know that he was getting a pipe, so I would get and assortment of boxes and I would get big boxes and smaller boxes and smaller boxes inside and sometimes I’d put books and sometimes I’d put bricks to make it look like what it wasn’t so that as he would open it up the anticipation would build and build and build until finally he would open my pipe, my pipe that said daddy I love you. I would laugh. I would giggle. I would get so excited. He would get his pipe out. He would light it up and I would be all day long saying, “Do you like it daddy, do you like your pipe daddy?” I wanted my daddy to love what I gave him because I loved my daddy. I want to ask you a question. Do you love your heavenly Father? You say, “Yeah, I love Him.” Does He know it? You say, “He’s God. He knows everything.”

Well let me ask you a question: Does your life express your love to God? You say, “How do I do that?” That’s what I want us to look at today. Because I want you to experience the most wonderful Christmas that you can experience. I want us to understand what this season is all about.

I want to in a sense pardon me I want to milk it for all it’s worth. I want you and I to have the true benefit of what it means to remember that this is the time when we celebrate, whether it happened at this time or not really doesn’t matter, but when we celebrate what Christmas is all about, the gift of God’s Son. And if we’re going to celebrate it Beloved, it cannot be celebrated apart from receiving God’s gift of love, apart from giving that gift of love to others, but also apart from loving God as we ought to love God.

Now in the light of that I want us to go to the gospel of John. And as we go to John I want us to look at John chapter 14. Because in John chapter 14 Jesus is going to talk to us about loving God and you and I need to understand what it means to really love Him.

So in John chapter 14, in verse 21 Jesus has told His disciples that He is going away. Jesus has told the disciples that He’s not going to leave them alone, that He’s going to send them another helper and He’s going to send them the Holy Spirit. Their countenance is down and Jesus says, [Don’t let your heart be troubled; I’m going away, but there’s a purpose in My going. In My Father’s house are many mansions, many apartments and I’m going to prepare a place for you.

Now listen carefully. If I go and prepare a place for you, I want you to know that I am going to come again and I’m going to take you so that you can be with Me where I am.]

(Paraphrase, John 14:1-3)

And where am I? I’m in the Father’s house. So when He comes to take you and you see the Father face to face, is the Father going to look at you and say, “Thank you so much for the gift that you gave Me. Thank you so much for loving Me. Thank you for that gift of love. You really understood, didn’t you, what Christmas was all about?” Or when you see Him and you see Him in all of His majesty and all of His holiness and all of His purity and all of His beauty and all of His love, when you see Him are you going to say, “O, I absolutely wasted my life because this is who You are. Now I see You and I didn’t love You as I ought to have loved You.” How are we to love God? Well John chapter 14 Jesus says this,

“After a … while…,” verse 19, “…a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

(John 14:19-20)

He says [“On that day you are really going to understand that here’s the Father and I’m in the Father. And if I’m in the Father and you’re in Me and I’m in you, then what do you have? You have a happy family.”]

(Paraphrase, John 14:19-20)

You have the Father, you have the Son and you have us in the Son and the Son in the Father and we’re all together. And He says “You’re going to know that.”

(Paraphrased)

And He says in verse 21, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me….”

(John 14:21a)

You see you not only want to give the gift of love to the Father, but you want to give the gift of love to the Son. And you want to give the gift of love to the Holy Spirit. And so He’s saying, [“You have My commandments. If you really love Me you’re going to keep them. That’s how I know that you love Me.”]

(Paraphrase, John 14:15)

So if you and I this Christmas are going to tell God that we love Him and tell Jesus that we love Him and tell the Holy Spirit we’re going to tell them by being obedient to them. The gift that you are to give to God is the gift of obedience. It is to know what He says and to obey what He says and that’s the way God says I know that you love Me.

He says, “He who has My commandments and keeps them…”

(John 14:21a)

There are many people that go to church that know what God has to say, but they don’t keep His Word. They can tell you. They can criticize others. They can judge them, but they don’t keep His commandments. See it’s one thing to know, it’s another thing to do. It’s one thing to hear, it’s another thing to obey.

And He goes on to say, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

(John 14:21)

Do you want to hear the voice of God? I’m not talking about audibly. I’m not talking about apparitions or miracles or seeing supernatural things. I’m talking about do you want intimacy with God? See Christmas is a time of family intimacy.

It’s part of being the family of God.

It’s part of receiving Jesus Christ, God’s gift to mankind, believing on Jesus, receiving Him and “… as many as received Him, to them He [gives] the [power] to become [the sons] of God….” (John 1:12a) But then it’s about living together. And what He’s saying here is, “…he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and I will disclose Myself to him.”

(John 14:21b)

[I will reveal Myself to Him.]

(Paraphrase)

I want to urge you to give yourself time to allow God to disclose Himself to you. And I want to urge you to do that out of giving a gift of love to God. We’ll talk about it more in just a minute and explain it even deeper.

PART TWO

Relationships, they’re so important at Christmas. But the most important relationship for you to have is your relationship with your heavenly Father.

We’ve been looking at the fact that if we’re going to give God a gift this year we need to give Him the gift of love. And that love comes wrapped up in obedience. And if it’s obedience Beloved then it’s obedience because you have spent time in His Word and you understand that this is what He wants this is what he desires and because you love your Father you’re going to obey Him.

Let’s go back to John chapter 14 because this is a very important passage. If you’re marking the text and this is one of the things that we do normally when we go through a book of the Bible and that’s what Precepts for Life is all about except at this Christmas season. But one of the things we teach you to do is mark every reference to “love”.

And well I have a red heart over every reference to love. And as you look at this it’s just love, love, love, love, love. This is what Christmas is all about. And this is what the gift is all about that you want to give God.

Well He goes on to say this in verse 23, “Jesus answered and said to [them], „If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come and make Our abode with him.

(John 14:23)

He’s saying if you really love God then you’re going to keep God’s words. And He’s saying if you love Me and you keep My word then the Father will love you. We say so often that God loves everyone equally. But when you read this passage you can see that those that really love God, those that really obey God are recipients of His love, because we are loving Him. Then He comes and He reveals Himself to us. He discloses Himself to us.

He loves us. It says, “…and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our abode with him.”

(14:23)

Now when it talks about making an abode with him it means that you are so at home that you can go any place in that house. Jack and I have house guests quite often. We have them from all over the world because we minister in 121 countries and so people will come in from Moldova and Russia and Spanish speaking countries and other places in the world. And they will come in and I will tell them make yourselves at home.

But I want to tell you one thing that they don’t do is they don’t go into our bedroom. They don’t go into my closet. They don’t come into my drawers. They make themselves at home but not all the way.

With God He makes Himself totally absolutely at home. Everything is open to Him and in every place He is absolutely welcome. That’s what it means for Him to make His abode with us.

He says,

“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine…,” I’m not just saying this, “…but the Fathers who sent Me.”

(John 14:24)

Do you love Him? Then keep His words. If you don’t keep His words then you can know this, that you’re not loving God. So what are you to do this Christmas season? Well as I’ve suggested you need to read through the gospels. You need to listen to the words of God. You need to listen to the commands that He gives. You need to watch Jesus in operation.

You need to be an imitator of Christ. And as you do what you’re saying to God is “God, I love You.” If you’re going to love God you’re going to forgive others. If you’re going to love God you’re going to become a channel for His love. If you’re going to love God then you are going to love the children that are born of Him. I want to take you for one quick minute to 1 John chapter 3. In 1 John chapter 3 in verse 11 it says,

“For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brothers were righteous.”

(1 John 3:11-12)

You’re not to be like that. Rather he’s saying that the children of God love their brothers.

It says, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. [And] everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren

(1 John 3:14-16)

This is the way that we show that we love God. Go to John chapter 15 and Jesus says in verse 9,

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also love you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Fathers commandments and abide in His love.”

(John 15:9-10)

He says, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”

(15:12)

There’s a day coming; it’s described for us in Matthew chapter 25. It’s a day after Jesus Christ returns to earth as the triumphant King, the Ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. It’s the day when every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father.

[And then Jesus sits on His throne and Jesus begins to judge the peoples that are living at that time. He separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep He puts on His right hand, the goats on His left.

And He says, “Because you did it to the least of these My brethren,” listen carefully, “you did it to Me.” And the sheep enter into eternal life. The goats they’re cast into the lake of fire prepared for the devil and the angels.]

(Paraphrased, Matthew 25:32-46)

Why? Because they did not treat God’s children properly, because they didn’t love and when we love them we’re loving God. So what are you going to do this Christmas? You need to love God. You need to show God that you love Him. I love this verse and this is a verse I’m memorizing. It’s 14:31 and Jesus said

“…so that the world may know … I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father [has] commanded Me….”

(John 14:31a)

I want the world to know that I love the Father and so I’m going to do exactly as the Father commanded me. He commanded us to love one another. He commanded us to keep His commandments.

This is the gift of love that you can give to God and it begins by believing in His Son, by obeying the Son, by committing your life to Jesus Christ. That’s the way that you show the Father that You really love Him. You receive the gift of His Son. You receive the gift of forgiveness of sins. You receive the gift of eternal life. So that’s where loving God begins. I urge you Beloved; receive the gift of God’s Son.

This is the way you say I love You, God. Just simply say, “God thank You for Jesus Christ. Thank You that He died on the cross for my sins. Thank You for forgiveness. Now Jesus I believe You’re the Son of God and I receive You. I want to live with You and the Father forever and ever.”

Last Call Digest

This material was brought to you by Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity. Last Call Digest, is a ministry of Michael James Stone, volunteers, and people dedicated to the Love of God and Salvation of Souls. It is an aggragate of Christian Material selected to Bless you and Prepare you for each and every day you read them. May God Bless You as You Do!! Reading these Devotions will help you to prepare daily for life, living, and your Lord. You will hear God Speak To You thru them.  Jesus  is Coming Very Soon.

Last Call

Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity, operates by you, with you, and for you. “Freely you have received, freely give”  Pass this on, everywhere you can, anytime you can, anyway you can. You will be blessed if you do.LastCallDigest@michaeljamesstone.com

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Last Call Digest: The Bible says love is a skill -Rick Warren

The Bible says love is a skill

Posted by Rick Warren

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Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 (NLT)

Love is a skill that can be learned. In other words, it's something you can get good at and that means you get better at love by practicing love.

You may think you're a good lover, but God wants you to become a great lover, a skilled lover, a master lover. Yet, most people never learn how to love. You can become an expert at relationships.

Wouldn't you like to become known as a person of extraordinary love? When people spoke of you they might say: "He doesn't care who you are or what you look like." "She doesn't care where you've been or what you've done or where you're from."

The only way you get skilled at something is to practice at it. You do it over and over. The first time you do it, it feels awkward, but the more you do it, the better you become.

The same is true with love (1 John 4:7). Let's practice loving each other. As the Bible says, "Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all." (1 Timothy 4:15, HCSB)

Last Call Digest

This material was brought to you by Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity. Last Call Digest, is a ministry of Michael James Stone, volunteers, and people dedicated to the Love of God and Salvation of Souls. It is an aggragate of Christian Material selected to Bless you and Prepare you for each and every day you read them. May God Bless You as You Do!! Reading these Devotions will help you to prepare daily for life, living, and your Lord. You will hear God Speak To You thru them.  Jesus  is Coming Very Soon.

Last Call

Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity, operates by you, with you, and for you. “Freely you have received, freely give”  Pass this on, everywhere you can, anytime you can, anyway you can. You will be blessed if you do.LastCallDigest@michaeljamesstone.com

Posted via email from The Last Call Digest

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