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Messages - Judy Harder

Religious/Spiritual / Re: Devotional
November 17, 2014, 10:28:19 AM
A Thankful Tomorrow
by Ryan Duncan, Culture Editor

"How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you." – Psalms 31:19

I've always really enjoyed Thanksgiving. Sure, the family can be pretty crazy at times, and I usually end up on dish duty after the meal, but Thanksgiving has always been a time for me to stop and realize how blessed I am. Friends, family, a warm meal, there are many simple things in this life that are easy to take for granted, so it's good to have a day that reminds us to be thankful for all God has given us. The problem is that's usually how long it lasts, a day. After the food has been eaten and prayers have been said, many people wake up the next morning and jump head first into the madness of Black Friday.   

I can only remember shopping twice on Black Friday, and I regretted it both times. It's complete chaos, with people running, screaming, and sometimes even fighting each other over things they want to buy. I've never had any crazy experiences myself, but my brother-in-law remembers a particularly strange incident that happened while he was in college. One year, while he and my sister were still dating, he drove up to visit her on the Friday after Thanksgiving. He had left his house at 3am with hopes of avoiding the holiday rush and was making good time on the freeway when suddenly, out of nowhere, a long line of traffic appeared in the distance.

At first he thought there had been an accident, but as he got closer he realized that the stalled traffic was due to cars making complete stops on the freeway so their passengers could get out, jump the guard rails, and climb a small hill to a nearby outlet mall. It's ironic, and a little sad, that a day which celebrates American greed happens after the holiday about being thankful. At times like these, it's important that as Christians realize we cannot live Christ-centered lives when we leapfrog between God and possessions.   

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." (Matthew 6:24)   

So don't throw out your thankfulness with the evening leftovers, but hold onto it as the Advent season begins. Remember the blessings Christ has given us and use them to prepare yourself for Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Christ, the greatest gift of all.     

Intersecting Faith and Life: Don't let the crazy shopping season distract you from what's really important.

Further Reading

1 Timothy 4:4

Religious/Spiritual / Re: Heartlight/Leaves of Light
November 17, 2014, 10:25:34 AM
November 17

Psalms 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Thoughts on today's verse

God's promises, God's Scripture, help us find our way in a pluralistic world of competing voices and lights our path in these times so given to cynicism and despair. What great grace we have to know God's will in our own words!


Loving Father, thank you for giving me your truth in Scripture. To know that you love me enough to communicate in language I can read is truly awe inspiring to me. Make my heart hunger for your truth revealed in your Word. I want to grow to be a righteous and gracious child in your family. With love through my older brother I pray. Amen.


The Power of a Discerning Spirit

Hebrews 5:11-14

In a world filled with endless sources of information and opinions, believers need to develop a discerning spirit. Otherwise, how will we know what is true? Much of what we see and hear is based on a worldly perspective that is influenced by Satan, the Father of Lies. Deception is found even in the religious realm: cults mix lies with enough truth to make some people consider them legitimate Christian institutions.

The only way believers can guard against deception is to ground themselves in God's Word. The more time you spend filling your mind with the Lord's thoughts, the more discerning you will be. However, just knowing biblical truth isn't enough. You must put what you learn into practice so that it becomes more than head knowledge.

The goal is to let God's Word become such an integral part of your thinking that it guides all your decisions. Even if the situation you're facing isn't specifically addressed in the Bible, scriptural principles provide the needed wisdom for every choice. In addition, the Holy Spirit was given to each believer as a Helper, whose job is to guide you into all the truth (John 14:26; 16:13). However, your responsibility is to put God's Word into your mind so that He can bring it to your remembrance. If you neglect the Word, you'll lack discernment.

What are you allowing into your mind? Is Scripture high in your priorities? Unless you're careful, worldly thinking will overpower spiritual discernment. It's difficult to keep God's perspective in the forefront if you spend two or three hours in front of the television and only ten minutes in the Bible.

Religious/Spiritual / Re: Love Worth Finding
November 17, 2014, 10:19:00 AM

November 17

An Extreme Make-Over is Underway

"Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified." - Romans 8:30

Dr. Scofield, who edited the Scofield Bible, says that "predestination is the effective exercise of the will of God by which things before determined by Him are brought to pass." That is, God says He is determined to do something and then He does it. God's wisdom is sovereign.

What did God predestinate? That those whom God foreknew will be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, who is the Firstborn.

God had one Son and He said, "I want more just like Him." And so God is redeeming a whole race of people, so that all these people might be conformed to the image of God's Son.

If you are saved, you are predestined to be like Jesus. When God foreknew that you would receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then He said, "It is settled. You will one day be like My Son."

Thank God for what He has done and is going to do, in shaping you into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Religious/Spiritual / Re: Quiet Walk
November 17, 2014, 10:17:02 AM
November 17

2 Timothy 3

As Christians, we must be on our guard to follow the truth continually.


The Scriptures are designed to be the basis of truth for leading a Christian to maturity in Jesus Christ. They are accurate and trustworthy, afford adequate knowledge, and lead to a godly, biblical lifestyle. They also yield a biblical ministry: "that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (v. 17). A mature Christian is one who knows what he needs to know (knowledge), is what he needs to be (lifestyle), does what he needs to do (ministry), and is guided by the Scriptures in all of this.


Praise the Lord for His magnificent Word that contains perfect instructions on how to live:
Deal bountifully with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word.
Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.
I am a stranger in the earth;
Do not hide Your commandments from me.
My soul breaks with longing
For Your judgments at all times.
You rebuke the proud and the cursed,
Who stray from Your commandments. . . .
Your testimonies also are my delight
And my counselors (Psalm 119:17-21, 24).

Pause for praise and thanksgiving.

Pray this confession to the Lord as you seek to keep your life free from sin:
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You (Psalm 51:12-13).

Confess any sins that the Holy Spirit brings to your mind, and pray this affirmation to the Lord:
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:6-8)

As you make your requests known to the Lord, include:
greater self-control,
those who minister in our inner cities,
your activities for the day.

Finally, offer this closing prayer to the Lord:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man's all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).


Monday, November 17

Call the Repairman!

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
2 Chronicles 16:9

Recommended Reading
2 Chronicles 16:1-10 [ ]

Quick, call the repairman! Something's wrong with our TV sets. Suddenly all over the world they're exploding in radioactive levels of profanity and toxic sewage, contaminating houses and homes like leaking reactors. It's so bad, even Time Magazine posed the question, "Is there an epidemic of nudity on prime-time TV?"1

Listen to Today's Radio Message [ ]

As we lament the proliferation of immorality all around us, we're tempted to despair. But it helps to consider the greatest heroes of the Bible. They too lived in declining societies, and they lamented the falling standards of their day. Even in the book of Genesis, the heroes of the faith -- men like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Joseph -- faced the challenge of living godly lives in a shifting culture and amid collapsing standards of morality.

When culture changes around us, God's standard of living does not. Even when we're engulfed by evil, the eyes of the Lord range to and fro throughout all the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.

It's not the repairman we need. It's the Redeemer.

[ God ] . . . constantly scans, east to west, north to south, seeking loyal hearts. Why? In order to show Himself strong by working in our lives.
Bruce Wilkinson

1Gary Susman, "Is There an Epidemic of Nudity on Prime-Time TV?"  TIME , June 10, 2013.

Acts 14–15 [ ]

All God's Children

Even though America has come a long way in terms of race relations—far more than many other countries of the world—stereotypes do still exist. Perhaps there are some people you'd rather not have as neighbors. Certain nationalities draw your suspicions. They have customs and habits that feel—(to use a fitting word)—"foreign" to you.

But while home and family and patriotism are each good things, we must always be careful about letting natural mind-sets overrule biblical ones. Just because a bigoted attitude of yours is embraced and encouraged by your friends doesn't mean it's the right one for you to have. When you have an automatic, negative reflex that lights up whenever you see a person of another race or national origin, you're assuming a superiority that isn't really there.

And you're forgetting that one reason why heaven is so heavenly is because it's the biggest melting pot of all.

"After this I looked," the apostle John said, "and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9). This preview of heaven's population simply cannot be allowed to land on our ears and not logically affect the way we treat people whose heritage and skin color are different from ours. Jesus Christ can rule in anyone's heart. Let's make sure he's ruling in ours.

Pray this prayer: I ask you, Lord, to take an axe to my prejudices, that I would not look down on anyone, but would rather be dedicated like never before to your call to make disciples of all nations.

Religious/Spiritual / Re: Heartlight/Leaves of Light
November 15, 2014, 08:40:29 AM
November 15

Psalms 119:143
Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight.

Thoughts on today's verse

This verse is hard for me, because I know I am so blessed. Trouble and distress do not seem to be a part of my vocabulary right now. But I know in many places in the world, this statement is true of Christians who are under attack and live under the threat of persecution and death. But their love for God and their commitment to obedience is greater than Satan's threats because God's will is their delight.


Majestic and holy God, I ask you to bless and liberate your church that is under persecution. But Father, I ask that if deliverance is not what is coming, I pray for my brothers and sisters and myself, that we may be found faithful in death before surrendering to compromise. Please strengthen our faith: we believe but help our unbelief. Empower us through your Spirit to be obedient: forgive us when we fall. Most of all, deliver us without fault into your glorious presence. In Jesus we find our salvation and assurance. Amen.


Victory Over Guilt

John 3:16-17

At times, people are bound by guilt long after the feeling should have been resolved. Some rightly live with it because they refuse to give up the sin that brought it on. Meanwhile, others suffer the weight of false guilt because they harbor shame that doesn't belong to them. Whatever the root cause of your condemnation, the battle plan remains the same.

Victory over guilt begins with understanding that Jesus took our shame to the cross and paid our penalty. There is no way that we can pay for our own sin. But we do need to honestly identify the source of our guilt and confess before God. That means we agree with His perspective on what we've done. In other words, we admit when we're wrong. Repentance goes a step further: we turn away from the wrong and choose to do right.

Confronting guilt in this way replaces the weight of shame in our heart with peace and joy, which are far lighter and more freeing. And an amazing side effect is that we have wisdom to share. Openness about our past mistakes, resulting consequences, guilt burdens, and forgiveness can reveal the Lord to those in our sphere of influence. Through our witness, God may reach others who need their guilt chains broken.

The battle to overcome guilt is one that should not be delayed. The feeling won't just go away. Whether your condemnation is true or false, it needs to be dealt with quickly. Stop running, and face the source of your guilt. It's time to end your captivity and start walking in the joy of God's blessing.

Religious/Spiritual / Re: Love Worth Finding
November 15, 2014, 08:34:57 AM

November 15

Is There Enough "Goodness" in Your Cup?

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." - Isaiah 64:6

There is none good, no not one. If you asked every single human being on planet earth to deposit in a cup all of his or her goodness, there would not be enough goodness in that cup to save even one person!

Isaiah 64:6 says our righteousness is as "filthy rags" in the sight of God. The cross of Jesus Christ is our only hope. Jesus took our sin upon the cross. Jesus took our shame upon the cross. Jesus took our suffering upon the cross. And by His death, He paid the sin debt and now we have His righteousness.

In 1906, Jessie Brown Pounds wrote these words: "I must needs go home by the way of the cross, there's no other way but this; I shall ne'er get sight of the gates of light, if the way of the cross I miss."

Get this clear with yourself: Whose righteousness are you depending on? Your own? Your accumulated lifetime of "good works"? Or the righteousness of the sinless Lamb of God, Who became your substitute on the Cross and paid your sin debt in full?

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