He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

Thursday, December 27, 2007 

15 Qualities Every Family Needs to See in a Dad & Why

1. One who is saved and seeking a daily walk with God (Gen. 5:24; 6:9).

-It creates in the family a hunger for God.

2. One who exercises godly leadership (1 Cor. 11:3; Col. 3:18-21).

-It teaches children respect for authority; it teaches sons how to be godly leaders as husbands and daughters godly followers as wives.

3. One who honors the Bible as God’s Word in attitude and action.(Ps. 119, James 1:22-25).

-It will build respect for God’s Word, and it will also build respect in the children for a dad who reads, studies, and obeys God’s Word.

4. One who lives by scriptural principles and conviction (Josh. 24:15, Acts 5:29, II Tim. 3:16).

-It will encourage family members, especially the children, to form their own biblical commitments and live by them.

5. One who loves unconditionally (1 Cor. 13).

-It builds acceptance and a sense of self-worth.

6. One who loves mother and shows it (Eph. 5: 25-33).

-It builds security in the life of the family.

7. One who disciplines in love (Eph. 6:4, Heb. 12:5-13).

-It builds a sound relationship with the children for future responsibilities and relationships. Correction belongs ultimately to the father rather than the mother!

8. One who has a servant spirit (Matt. 20:26-28).

-It builds a family attitude of humility and willingness to serve others just like dad.

9. One who confesses his failures and is willing to say, "I’m sorry, I was wrong" (James 5:16).

-It creates openness and respect by the children towards dad.

10. One who has a forgiving spirit (Eph. 4:32, Col. 3:13).

-It creates the security of genuine love and needed assurance for your children.

11. One who expresses gratitude and appreciation to God and others (Col. 3:15).

-It builds an attitude of gratitude in the family, and fosters joy and thankfulness.

12. One who listens attentively (James 1:19-21).

-The family gains a sense of personal value and importance.

13. One who keeps his word (Num. 30:2, Prov. 6:16-19).

-It builds faithfulness, truthfulness, and responsibility in the children.

14. One who prays for and with his children (James 4:1-3, 5:16).

-It will teach the family to trust in and depend on God to meet their needs.

15. One who is spirit-filled and seeking to be like Jesus (Rom. 8:28-30, Gal. 5:22-23, Eph. 5:18).

-It will give the family a visible example of a godly, Christ-like individual. For that example to be the husband/father would be most pleasing to our Lord and Savior.

- by Danny Akin

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 

Look What God Made

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 


Phillipians 2:5) Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6) who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7) but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8) And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9) Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10) so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Monday, December 24, 2007 

Christmas Candle

The sun had just begun to set
And Joseph's face, filled with regret
Appeared again. "We'll find a place,"
Said Mary, full of hope and grace.
"I know we will," she touched his chin
And bravely smiled, "Who needs an inn?
The sky is clear, the blankets thick
And warm; there's still good light to pick
A place among the rocks we passed.
God's first and best is often last."
More times than he preferred to think
Poor Joseph's faith would start to sink
And darkness gather like a foe
'Til Mary's hopeful heart would glow.
It wasn't that he feared the night,
Nor prowling beasts nor thieves to fight.
In fact, it wasn't fear at all
That made the tears begin to fall.
"It's all right, Joseph, I don't mind.
I'm sure it won't be hard to find."
"My God, you're pregnant, woman, look!
What kind of husband ever took
His wife to sleep among the rocks?
I'm not a shepherd with some flocks;
I am a man and you're my wife
With child." She hugged him to the Life
Within her womb and said no more.
Wise woman, she had learned before:
Sometimes you leave a man alone
To bear his load of love, and groan.

She'd kept it to herself all day
And every time they came she'd pray
"Not yet, O God, not on the road;
Your handmaid bears as big a load
As she can take. O Lord, please wait;
Please let the child, your child, come late."
She never burdened Joseph down,
Not even when they got to town,
Not even at the setting sun,
But only when the search was done.
He helped her down among the cocks
And hens. She smiled, "It sure beats rocks,
Especially for a night-time birth."
"I'm in no mood for silly mirth."
"Nor I." "How long have you known this?"
"No anger now, my love, let's kiss
The hour and kiss the ways of God.
Remember that his staff and rod
Are comfort, father David said."
She winced and quickly shaped her bed.
"I helped to make your day's load light;
Please, Joseph, carry me tonight."
"I'll get a midwife from the place..."
"Don't leave me here without your face.
My mother showed me what to do
And what I need right now is you."

Between the pains she tried to lie
In peace and stare into the sky,
And think of how she'd been prepared.
And then she said, "Joseph, I'm scared."
And he with steady eye and calm
Recalled for her the angel's psalm.
"He is the shoot of Jesse's rod;
He shall be called the Son of God;
His Kingdom shall not ever end.
Will not God then his birth attend?"
But Mary's face remained so grim:
"The promises are sure for him.
You know I never doubt God's word,
But, Joseph, I have never heard
A promise for myself but this:
‘Some sword my own soul will not miss.'"
Again his eyes were steady, bright
Reflecting heaven's grace and light.
"Our book is full of promises;
Remember that one where it says,
No good thing does the Lord withhold
From those whose cares on him are rolled.
And: when your worries multiply
God's consolation hovers nigh.
And: steadfast love surrounds the girl
For whom Jehovah is her pearl.
And: God's a stronghold for the weak,
How happy those who his help seek."
Each time the birthing pangs withdrew
He gave her joyful words and true.
He carried Mary with the Word
And she delivered what she heard:
God's Yes to every ancient oath.
And now with lifted hands they both
Were filled with distant prophecy:
"To God alone all praises be,
And let the world a candle light
To celebrate this awesome night."

- by John Piper


An American Christmas

That's right...Americans will be playing JesusDressUp...


North Korea Christmas

Believers in Jesus Christ will most likely celebrate the birth of their savior in isolation if they live in North Korea, where it is a state crime to be a Christian.

North Korea remains one of the few countries in the world where citizens are not permitted to celebrate Christmas at all.

But Christianity is alive and growing in the oppressive communist state with some estimates putting the underground Christian population at tens of thousands.

Although these believers are not allowed to openly express their joy at Christmas, they will still observe the meaning of the holiday, according to a Christian ministry working with persecuted believers in North Korea.

“But, of course, Christians do reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ,” said Brother Simon, who coordinates the work of Open Doors in North Korea, from a secret location. “Only they can’t just go along to church to sing or listen to a sermon. They can’t even visit one another to read the Bible together. Being a Christian in North Korea is very lonely.”

Simon, whose full name cannot be given for security reasons, explains that believers in North Korea can usually only gather two at a time on a given Sunday. A Christian would sit on a park bench and another Christian would come sit next to him. If no one is around, they may be able to share a Bible verse they know by heart and briefly give a reflection. They also share prayer topics with each other, said Simon.

“Then they leave one another and go and look for Christians in some other part of their town. This continues throughout Sunday,” he said.

A cell group usually has less than 20 Christians who meet and encourage one another this way or meet one-on-one in people’s homes.

In this way, Christmas will also be celebrated.

“Christmas is mainly celebrated in the heart of the Christian,” said Simon. “Only if the whole family has turned to Christ is it possible to have something like a real gathering. For fear of retribution it is necessary to keep your faith hidden from the neighbors.”

But in remote areas, a group of up to 20 people can sometimes meet. In rare instances, some gatherings in the mountains bring together some 60 to 70 North Korean Christians.

North Korea is ranked number one in the annual Open Doors Watch List as the country that has the worst persecution of Christians. If the regime discovers a person is a Christian, the believer can be thrown into a labor camp, tortured, or even publicly executed to dissuade others from following the faith.

It is believed that tens of thousands of Christians are currently suffering in North Korean prison camps, according to Open Doors. The regime is suspected of detaining more political and religious prisoners than any other country in the world.

Instead of a globally recognized religion, citizens of the reclusive country are forced to worship a cult-like version of the trinity consisting of the deceased dictator Kim Il Sung (father), current dictator Kim Jong Il (son) and the Juche ideology.

All religions other than the worship of the North Korean dictators are forbidden. Christianity, in particular, is seen as the greatest threat to the state and to Kim’s power and is harshly punished.

The U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, John V. Hanford III, described North Korea as the “worst violator of religious freedom in the world” during his presentation earlier this year of the 2007 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom.

Saturday, December 22, 2007 

God Believes in Us? - Rob Bell Says Yes

Watch it to believe it.

"God believes in us, in you, in me. I mean faith in Jesus is important, but what about Jesus' faith in us?" -Rob Bell


13 Ways to Bless Missionaries Without Paying Postage

Were you unable to send a Christmas present or care package to some missionaries you love this season? It’s okay. You can still bless a missionary this Christmas.

Here are 13 post-office-free ideas to get you started, most of which you could do right now from your desk:

1) Pray specific Scripture for them and their ministry, and then email it to them.

2) Call or email their parents—Christmas might be just as lonely for the ones at home as the ones away.

3) Purchase phone minutes for an international calling card through an online service like OneSuite and email them the account number.

4) Donate frequent flier miles to them.

5) Purchase an iTunes gift card for them. Have it sent to you and email them the account number.

6) Commit to pray for them on a specific day of the week for a year.

7) Write a song or poem or story for them. Email them the text and a recording of you reading or singing it.

8) Get friends and family together to create a holiday video greeting for them using Google Video or YouTube. Include lots of people you know they miss.

9) Make a year-end gift through their missions board or agency.

10) Western Union—the fastest way to send money.

11) Call their local florist (not everyone is in the jungle these days) and have flowers delivered, or their local Pizza Hut and have pizza delivered—with corn and shrimp as toppings!

12) Donate to a charity that means a lot to them.

13) Make a monthly commitment to support them financially.

- from Desiring God's blog, by Tia

Thursday, December 06, 2007 

Need Missionaries, not just Money

1. It appeals to the materialistic desire for comfort amongst Western Christians, that just by giving a bit of money they are let off the missionary hook and do not have to sacrifice themselves.

2. Foreign money can very often damage the growth of missionary vision in countries where this is developing. Note how the Friends Missionary Prayer Band in India [Ed: the largest mission in India] made the deliberate decision that they would not accept foreign money for the support of their missionaries because of this very fact and they have a significant impact on many parts of India.

3. Foreign money, if not given through indigenous bodies of believers, diverts the accountability from the body of Christ within that country to an expatriate group - often in the States - who call the tune and set the parameters of that ministry. It can so easily become foreign-controlled and is a step back from true indigeneity of missionary thrust. Donors in the West are far more inclined to insist on accountability to them than to the body of Christ in the country to which the money goes, which is tragic.

4. There is an implied division in the body of Christ. In our own mission, WEC International, we have made a deliberate decision that we make no difference about where a person comes from or to what ethnic group he belongs. We are all treated at the same level. I believe this is essential for the body of Christ worldwide. We are all responsible to give and to pray and to go. There may be different parts of the body that are better able to do certain aspects of these three types of ministry than others, but that is beside the point. We are one body.

5. There is an implied paternalism in this type of mission activity. We see it in our vocabulary. I heard of someone saying that a national pastor was preaching in his church in New York. My immediate comment was, "Oh, you mean an American." "Oh, no, somebody from Africa!" We use this term "national" which is really just a paternalistic pat on the head for those good little boys who are willing to work for less in another country. May I just add this point that if a missionary leaves India to work in Africa and vice versa, it costs them as much and possibly even more to serve as a missionary in another country. We know this adds to our cost for our workers from these continents who have gone to other continents for Jesus.

-Patrick Johnstone

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