Author Topic: Today's Word  (Read 11892 times)

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Today's Word
« Reply #150 on: February 13, 2012, 07:40:27 am »
Today's Word for Pastors...

Hebrews 4:9-11
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

Today's Preaching Insight...

Adventures Of A Prison Escapee

In speaking at family conferences for the last thirty or forty years, I have heard many questions about good ways to handle family worship. Apparently many Christian families struggle with this. I shall never forget an incident which occurred approximately 1967 or 1968 when our daughter, then 4 or 5 years of age, was in charge of family devotions. Julie was telling the very story in the text before us, particularly the part where the angel comes to Peter in prison to release him. In her own words which I still remember, "The angel said to Peter, grab your coat and grab your thongs, we're getting out of here."

Events of this chapter took place in the spring of A.D. 44 and represent the first demonstration of church-state relations, an issue that haunts us well into the 21st century: how much and where should Christians be allowed to speak the gospel in public venues? The problem arose first in chapter 4 and now we see it again in chapter 12. A cruel and powerful king is about to learn that God is always in control.

(To read the rest of this article, click here to visit the official website)

Today's Extra...

Illustration: Gifts

Ann Landers wrote about a person she knew who said the greatest gift he ever received in his life was a note his dad gave him on Christmas. It read, "Son, this year I will give you 365 hours--an hour every day after dinner. We'll talk about whatever you want to talk about. We'll go wherever you want to go, play whatever you want to play. It will be your hour."

That dad kept his promise and renewed it every year.

There is no greater gift we can give than ourselves.

 :angel:
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Today's Word
« Reply #151 on: February 14, 2012, 07:27:28 am »
Today's Word for Pastors...

Hebrews 4:9-11
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

Today's Preaching Insight...

The Gospel According to Zacchaeus

In the book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning tells the story of a man who had sinned greatly. His church excommunicated him, and he was forbidden to ever come into the church again. He repented. He wanted healing, so he went to the Lord, as the story goes, and said, "Lord, they won't let me in because I am a sinner." To which the Lord replied, "What are you complaining about, they won't let me in either."

The point of the modern parable was a good one: Poor sinners never fare well in churches that refuse to admit that we are all sinners and in desperate need of a salvation that is out of this world.

The Jewish Rabbinical religion of the first century offered little to ragamuffins. A religion that requires tithes to support a leadership who spend time counting how many angels could fit on the head of a pin is not an attractive message to people laden with guilt, searching for meaning and purpose in life, and trying to come to terms with the holiness of God in light of their own humanity.

Then again, religion based on what we can do to get right with God, what regulations and rules we must keep to earn God's favor, never do. Such religion is still popular. You can gather a pretty big church if you just go around telling them they must do this and do that.

I heard of an evangelist that was speaking at a church in Minneapolis where several hundred people had gathered to hear the message. The evangelist preached that night on the Gospel of God's free gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ. As the service ended, he heard the pastor of that church turn to his associate and say: "Humph, that airhead didn't say one thing about what we have to do to earn our salvation!"

(To read the rest of this article, click here to visit the official website)

Today's Extra...

Illustration: Thankfulness, Providence

In his Church & Culture blog, James Emery White shares this story: The barracks where Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy were kept in the Nazi concentration camp Ravensbruck were terribly overcrowded and flea-infested. Click Here to read more.

 :angel:
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!


Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Today's Word
« Reply #152 on: February 15, 2012, 07:58:31 am »
Today's Word for Pastors...

John 3:16-17
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Today's Preaching Insight...

Immorality In The Church

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral persons — not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since you would then need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber. Do not even eat with such a one. (1 Corinthians 5:9-11)

The first four chapters of 1 Corinthians deal primarily with divisions in the church. These divisions come when individual believers live not as spiritual but as fleshly, carnal persons.

Carnal Christians produce not only divisions within the church when they cut themselves free from spiritual wisdom or eternal wisdom, exchanging it for carnal wisdom or temporal wisdom. They also produce other behavior patterns. Paul now turns to these. In the next several chapters, he deals with specifics.

In chapter 5, he talks specifically about sexual immorality in the church. In this chapter, we confront the issue of how a church is to handle cases of sexual immorality within its own fellowship. Later in January, after the Advent Season, we will look more specifically at biblical standards for Christian sexual behavior.

The church of Jesus Christ is an island in the middle of a polluted ocean. The sea laps upon its shores. It is impossible for us to live our contemporary existence without a constant exposure to moral pollution. The stench of it is so common that we have become accustomed to its rotten odors.

We observe so much immorality in the everyday lives of persons with whom we come in contact that we close our eyes to these tragic actions and attitudes. We don't want to spend all our time judging others, so we pretend we don't see what we see. Or, if we see it, we can so quickly accommodate ourselves to it that it no longer seems so bad. In fact, we tear down the signs that say, "Danger. Do not swim. Waters are polluted." We dive into the bay without adequate inoculation against disease. Then we are surprised when we hear about some Christian who has messed up morally.

(To read the rest of this article, click here to visit the official website)

Today's Extra...

Illustration: Excuses, Family

A cowboy walks into a bar in Texas, orders three mugs of Bud and sits in the back room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn. When he finishes them, he comes back to the bar and orders three more.

The bartender approaches and tells the cowboy, "You know, a mug goes flat after I draw it. It would taste better if you bought one at a time."

The cowboy replies, "Well, you see, I have two brothers. One is in Australia, the other is in Dublin, and I'm in Texas. When we all left home, we promised we'd drink this way to remember the days we drank together. So I drink one for each of my brothers and one for myself."

The bartender admits this is a nice custom, and leaves it there. The cowboy becomes a regular in the bar, and always drinks the same way. He orders three mugs and drinks them in turn. One day, though, he comes in and orders only two mugs. All the regulars take notice and fall silent.

When he comes back to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, "I don't want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your loss."

The cowboy looks quite puzzled for a moment, then a light dawns and he laughs. "Oh, no, everybody's just fine," he explains. "It's just that my wife and I joined the Baptist Church in Sweetwater, and I had to quit drinking. Hasn't affected my brothers though."

(from Walt Mansfield, Grace Shepherd Church, Bellefontaine, Ohio)

 :angel:
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Today's Word
« Reply #153 on: February 16, 2012, 07:09:46 am »
Today's Word for Pastors...

John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Today's Preaching Insight...

Jesus Christ Ascended Exalted Returning Judging

The Apostles' Creed declares, ". . . he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead."

Today's sermon topic is "Jesus Christ Ascended, Exalted, Returning, and Judging." It could be four sermons. Or, in the hands of the right theologian, it could be four books of very carefully written biblical theology.

Let's do our best to see the big picture, addressing each of these important and, in some cases, often neglected themes.

I. Jesus Christ ascended into heaven.

Imagine if all the Bible did was tell of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and then left it there. We would see Jesus appearing to the various people as recorded in the gospels and by the Apostle Paul. We would be aware that His atoning work was accomplished on the cross, with all the implications involved in His life, death, and resurrection. We would see Him appearing in His resurrected presence to various people, as recorded in the gospels, and to Paul. His atoning work is accomplished and then He would just sort of shuffle off into oblivion.

The Bible doesn't let that happen. God tells us historically what happened and also lets us know the implication of all of this for us today.

We are told that Jesus ascended into heaven.

And we see that, just before He ascended into heaven, He gave a commission to His disciples that remains relevant to you and me to this day.

Biblical scholars question whether the Gospel according to Mark should end with what is called the "shorter ending," which reads: "And afterward Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation" (Mark 16:8b). Or there is the alternative conclusion to Mark, which is referred to as the "long ending" that, like the shorter ending, does not appear in all ancient manuscripts. It is in this ending that we read that Jesus said to them, "'Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned'" (Mark 16:15-16).

(To read the rest of this article, click here to visit the official website)

Today's Extra...

Why the Bible Matters

Why the Bible Matters: Rediscovering Its Significance in an Age of Suspicion (Harvest House) by California pastor Mike Erre would provide the launching pad for an excellent sermon series on the grand story that we know as the Bible. So many contemporary believers know so little of God's Word -- perhaps 2012 would be a good time to begin to introduce them to the story that can change our lives?

 :angel:
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Today's Word
« Reply #154 on: February 17, 2012, 07:31:27 am »
Today's Word for Pastors...

Psalms 139:1-3
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Today's Preaching Insight...

Is Being Good Enough Good Enough to Get Me to Heaven?

Is "good enough" good enough? Consider, if you will, that if 99.9 percent were good enough ...

The IRS would lose 2 million documents this year.
22,000 checks will be deducted from the wrong bank account in the next hour.
Telecommunications companies will misdirect 1,314 telephone calls every minute.
2,488 books will be shipped with the wrong covers on them each day.
More than 5.5 million cases of soft drinks in the next year will be flat.
20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions will be written each year.
12 babies will be given to the wrong parents each day.
Obviously, being good enough is not good enough for life in modern society. So why do we think that being good enough is good enough to get us into heaven? You've heard people ask, "If I try my best won't God let me into heaven?" or "Doesn't God just require me to be better than the average human?" or "Don't I have to just live a good life to be a Christian?" or "How could a loving God send good people to hell?"

Martin Luther, the reformer, wrote, "The most damnable and pernicious heresy that has every plagued the mind of man is the idea that somehow he could make himself good enough to deserve to live with an all-holy God." A Bible teacher used to say, "Man is incurably addicted to doing something for his own salvation." What does the Bible say about being good enough?

(To read the rest of this article, click here to visit the official website)

Today's Extra...

Illustration: Cost of Commitment

From a recent "Hagar the Horrible" comic: Hagar is inciting on his troops. "This is the moment we've been waiting for men! The moment we do battle with the enemy! Is everyone here?"

They shout: "Yes!"

Hagar continues: "OK men -- repeat after me: 'I am a Viking Warrior!'"

"I AM A VIKING WARRIOR!" they shout.

"And I will fight to the death for what I believe!"

There is silence in the next two frames, then in the third frame Hagar asks: "OK, why aren't you repeating after me?!"

One meek Viking speaks for them all: "Hagar, the men would like to change that to 'and I will fight hard until it's time for dinner.'"

 :angel:
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

  • By the Grace of God I am what I am! 1 corinthians 15:10
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Re: Today's Word
« Reply #155 on: February 20, 2012, 07:44:54 am »
Today's Word for Pastors...

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Today's Preaching Insight...

Peace Without a Pill

Studies prove that many Americans admit they do not enjoy peace in their lives. Experts tell us every day in our nation, we swallow 9 tons of sleeping pills and another 15 tons of aspirin. Then we can add to that another hefty amount of more powerful medication — tranquilizers. Although our land has only 4 percent of the world's population, we consume 96 percent of the world's tranquilizers.

Still another 31,482 Americans last year decided they had all they could handle. They were convinced no one and nothing could help them, so they took their own life. Yes, there's a lack of peace in our lives.

Yet people continue to search for peace. Last week I got on the internet and typed in the words "personal peace." I was curious how many sites give information on that topic. Do you know how many there were? More than 300,000! Yes, people are on a mad search for peace.

Is it possible to enjoy real, lasting peace? If so, where can it be found? I believe Isaiah 26:3 is God's answer to how to enjoy peace without a pill. Read the words of this Bible verse slowly and carefully: "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is staved on You, because he trusts in You."

Those words are some of the most profound in all of literature. They are so simple, yet so true. They are so old (about 2,700 years old), yet millions of people have experienced the reality of those words. Let's think together about three things.

(To read the rest of this article, click here to visit the official website)

Today's Extra...

Illustration: Value of Teamwork

An out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse, named Buddy.  He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull!" Buddy didn't move.

Then the farmer hollered, "Pull, Buster, pull!" Buddy didn't respond.

Once more the farmer commanded, "Pull, Coco, pull!"

Nothing.

Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull!" The horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch.

The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times.

The farmer said, "Oh, Buddy is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn't even try."

 :angel:
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Today's Word
« Reply #156 on: February 21, 2012, 08:09:49 am »
Today's Word for Pastors...

Romans 6:1-2
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

Today's Preaching Insight...

Prelude to Power

Prayer is a sacred covenant. We usually associate it with solemnity and holy words. Of course, there are humorous situations which come with it.

Let's take the case of little 8-year-old Mary Lou. In planning a picnic her friends purposely leave her out. It isn't until the very last minute they give in and issue an invitation. Her mother offers a sigh of relief. She calls out, "Hurry, dear. Wash your face. Slip on a clean dress. I'll fix your picnic lunch." Mary Lou slowly walks up to her mother and despondently explains, "Mother, it's no use. I've just finished praying for rain."

Then, there is a group of farm families waiting for their new preacher. It is a scorching hot summer day. The crops are needing rain very badly. When he arrives, they immediately ask him to pray for rain. He responds positively and offers a beautiful prayer. Slightly before the benediction is pronounced, a great storm breaks lose. Fields are flooded. Crops are washed away. Bridges come tumbling down. Monday morning two of the farmers are observing the disaster. One grumbles to the other: "Well, that's the way with these new preachers. Everything they do, they overdo."

Finally, we must not forget about little Tommy. In just seven days he will be six years old. His prayers are getting noticeably longer and louder. It comes time for his usual bedtime talk with God. He kneels with his forehead on the blanket and begins praying in a voice which can be heard for several yards. He lists the many thing he wants for his birthday. His mother quite irritatingly says, "Don't pray so loudly. The Lord isn't deaf'. He pays no attention to his mother. So, she goes into his bedroom and taps him on the shoulder. He looks up at her with an angelic innocence. He whispers, "S'hh, Mom, I know the Lord isn't deaf; but Grandma is in the living room, and she is."

(To read the rest of this article, click here to visit the official site)

Today's Extra...

Illustration: Names

The story appeared in the January 29, 2003, edition of The Washington Post. Titled "Picabo's Problem," it is a story about the well-known Olympic gold medallist, Picabo Street. The article notes that she's much more than a famous skier. Between training on the slopes and traveling around the world, she managed to get an education and earn a degree in nursing.

"Early in her nursing career, she was assigned to work briefly as an Intensive Care Unit nurse in a large metropolitan hospital. She did outstanding work, but there was a slight problem. The head nurse had to tell her not to answer the phone in the ICU because of the confusion it caused when callers would be connected to the ICU and hear Picabo say in her best professional voice: "Picabo, ICU." What a story! Can you imagine? Only problem is that it's not true.

Picabo is not a nurse -- never has been. She gets the joke, though, and has a good laugh with others. Since childhood, she's been teased about the name her parents gave her, who got it from an Idaho town that takes its name from a Native American word meaning "shinning waters." (from Jimmy Gentry, Tabernacle Baptist Church, Carrolton, Georgia)

 :angel:
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

  • By the Grace of God I am what I am! 1 corinthians 15:10
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Re: Today's Word
« Reply #157 on: February 22, 2012, 08:08:51 am »
Today's Word for Pastors...

Romans 7:1-3
Do you not know, brothers--for I am speaking to men who know the law--that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage.

Today's Preaching Insight...

What Starbucks, Harry and You All Have in Common

"For if the message declared through angels was valid, and every transgression or disobedience received a just penalty, how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" (Heb. 2:2-3a).

Rick Richardson, professor and writer, tells about a pastor named Dan, who realized he was getting stale. So with the approval of his pastoral team, he took a part-time job at a Starbucks coffee shop.

To his surprise, "All 21 people he worked with believed in God. Not one was an atheist ... They were all very positive toward God and spirituality."

Richardson goes on to report:

A second surprise was that all were interested in spiritual things, but not in Christians, Christianity, or the church. No one wanted to hear Dan's proofs for God or invitations to come to church or ideas about salvation. Almost everyone thought they knew what Christianity was about and had decided they didn't want it. They were post Christian. At some point along the way, each of them had experienced a breach in trust related to Christianity. Maybe a Christian friend had been hypocritical or pushy. Maybe when they were young they had attended church and found it boring and irrelevant. Maybe they had watched TV preachers and been turned off. Or maybe they had experienced a tragedy—death or sexual abuse or some other trauma—and felt that God had been distant and uncaring.

Richardson said, "Dan wasn't starting at ground zero, but rather at minus-three or four. ... The biggest thing Dan learned is that people in this generation have a prior question of trust that must be addressed before we can have meaningful spiritual conversations with them."

Pastor Dan had discovered the outside understanding of how the church was viewed by some people.

(To read the rest of this article, click here to visit the official web page)

Today's Extra...

Illustration: Giving, Stewardship

A very wealthy man in the community was not known for his generosity to the church. The church was involved in a big financial program so the fundraising committee decided they had to pay him a visit. As they met with him, they said that in view of his considerable resources they were sure that he would like to make a substantial contribution to this program.

"I see," he said. "So you have it all figured out, have you? In the course of your investigation did you discover that I have a widowed mother who has no other means of support but me?" No, they responded, they did not know that. "Did you know that I have a sister who was left by a drunken husband with five children and no means to provide for them?" No, they said, they did not know that either. "Well, did you know also that I have a brother who is crippled due to an automobile accident and can never work another day to support his wife and family?" Embarrassingly, they responded, no, they did not know that either.

"Well," he thundered triumphantly, "I've never given any of them a cent, so why should I give anything to you?"

 :angel:
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

  • By the Grace of God I am what I am! 1 corinthians 15:10
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Re: Today's Word
« Reply #158 on: February 23, 2012, 07:36:50 am »
Today's Word for Pastors...

Lamentations 3:3
indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long.

Today's Preaching Insight...

The Theology of Ecology

I have just returned from my annual, "Dear God, I can't take this anymore; please release me; let me go; I'm leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again" break, otherwise known as a vacation. During that time from the mountains to the beach, I got reacquainted with this beautiful place called planet earth. The clean air, pristine lakes, beautiful beaches and trees from pines to palms reminded me of how good God has been to give us such a wonderful home.   

It goes without saying that environmental issues have become a hot topic literally and figuratively. It doesn't matter where you go or who you listen to, it seems like everyone these days is talking about the environment, whether they are professors or professionals, actors or athletes, bureaucrats or business people. 

The topic is certainly relevant right here in our country; although we represent roughly 5 percent of the world's population, we generate 40 percent of its waste. The average American family produces 40 pounds of garbage every week. Every day, we dispose of approximately 200 million tons of garbage and less than a quarter of it is recycled. Only 7,000 of the 20,000 landfills that have been operating since 1978 are now in operation. Of those 7,000, more than 90 percent of those do not meet EPA regulations. Even such a thing as one leaky faucet can waste up to 50 gallons of fresh water a day, which is astounding considering the fact that only 3 percent of the world's water is fresh water. I could go on, but you get the picture.

(To read the rest of this article, click here to visit the official website) 

Today's Extra...

Illustration: Prayer, Sharing

A businessman needed millions of dollars to clinch an important deal, so he went to the church to pray for the money. By chance he knelt at the altar next to a man who was praying for $100 to pay an urgent debt.   

The businessman took out his wallet and pressed $100 into the other man's hand. Overjoyed, the man got up and ran out of the church. The businessman then closed his eyes and prayed: "OK, Lord, now that I have your undivided attention..."

 :angel:
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

  • By the Grace of God I am what I am! 1 corinthians 15:10
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Re: Today's Word
« Reply #159 on: February 24, 2012, 07:47:13 am »
Today's Word for Pastors...

Psalms 43:4
Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God

Today's Preaching Insight...

Creation Care: Can Our Planet Survive?

There has been subject matter that God has heated up in my heart that I've talked to you about, sometimes repeatedly. Then there are other subject matters that I don't even know why they took a little while to get heated up in me; and I feel badly about that because God has heated up this subject matter in some of you, and you're ahead of me. So I'm really glad that we're going to invest this weekend the way we are. Again, I apologize for not bringing up the subject matter earlier.

You all know that Genesis 1:1 (NIV) says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Then God asked us to take care of the earth. He said, "I still own it; I'm just asking you to take care of it until I build a new one." Psalm 24 puts it this way: "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it" (Psa. 24:1).

The oceans, forests, plains, rivers, lakes—all of that—it all belongs to God. You heard the old hymn earlier, "This Is My Father's World." In the early chapters of Genesis, God gives instructions as to how we're supposed to take care of this planet. There are really four key instructions that He delivered. He said He wanted us to subdue it, rule over it, work it and take care of it.

(To read the rest of this article, click here to visit the official website)   

Today's Extra...

5 Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them

After 30 years in ministry, Charles Stone has identified 5 Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them: Help for Frustrated Pastors (Bethany House). The five killers: head-in-the-sand mentality; misdirected emotional investment; unhealthy responses to ministry killers; an attitude of "God and I can handle this;" and lonely, hurting spouses. This is an important book that can save ministries -- maybe even yours.

 :angel:
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!