Archives for June 2008

You Never Mentioned Him to Me

I want you to think about the meaning to the words of the following song, by James Rowe and J. W. Gaines, arranged by H. F. M. Something that I do too often is sing a song and not think about the words. It’s something that I’m working on, and on a recent Sunday, this song caught and held my attention.

When in the better land before the bar we stand,
How deeply grieved our souls may be;
If any lost one there should cry in deep despair,
“You never mentioned Him to me.”

O let us spread the word where ‘er it may be heard,
Help groping souls the light to see,
That yonder none may say, “You showed me not the way,”
“You never mentioned Him to me.”

A few sweet words may guide a lost one to His side,
Or turn sad eyes on Calvary;
So work as days go by, that yonder none may cry,
“You never mentioned Him to me.”

“You never mentioned Him to me,
You helped me not the light to see;
You met me day by day and knew I was astray,
Yet never mentioned Him to me.”

Mark 16:15-16 says “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.’” It’s a hard thing to be the first one to speak out, but sometimes we must be the one who speaks out about Christ to someone for the first time. Other times, someone may be curious about Christianity and start a conversion himself. I always think it’s easier when someone else asks the questions and I can answer. Right now I am involved in a discussion of baptism.

Many of us have friends or family who are not believers, and because they are our friends and family, they are often the hardest to talk to. But remember this important fact: unexpected things happen. If you don’t start a conversion now, you may never get the chance again. A friend of mine recently died unexpectedly, and I am very glad that she was a Christian. Other friends and family may move away. Many of us are afraid of being ridiculed or rejected. But remember, they are not rejecting you, they are rejecting God. This is a concept that took me a long time to understand. Even Jesus was rejected (Luke 4:22,28-30 ):

“So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’ So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.”

Your talents should be used to spread God’s word. Every little bit helps. A story was told to me of a preacher who had a gospel meeting. From that meeting, only one young, teenage girl was baptized. Years later, those women’s sons became elders, deacons, and overseas missionaries. While you can only do a little, God does a lot more, but first you have to do your part. Everybody has talents that they can use to spread God’s word. Whether it’s teaching a group of friends, going out and talking to people, or handing out pamphlets or fliers, everybody can do something.

Matthew 25:15-18: “And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.”

Let’s be like the first two servants and use our talents for our Master!

Dear Lord,
Pierce my heart in Your Son that he may grant me the courage to use my talents to spread Your word.
In Jesus Name, Amen

By Megan Skinner

The Beauty of Heaven

Read John 14:1–3

“And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gates was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it” (Revelation 21:21-22).

I was just a toddler when I remember first hearing about Heaven. The Sunday-school teacher said, ”Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, and He has gone to Heaven to prepare a place for us.” She described the beauty of Heaven, as set forth in Revelation 21:21-22. Then she said, ”If we live for Him, and do His commandments, He will come one day and take us there.”

That lesson had a profound effect on me. From that day until this, seventy-plus years later, my heart’s desire, and my goal, has been to go there. Through the years, Christ has been my Rock, my Defender, and my Comforter. I have, to the best of my ability, followed His commands. That isn’t to say that I haven’t committed sin. We are all human, we all make mistakes, and we are all sinful. ”If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (I John 1:10). The good news is that ”If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). He has been with us as my husband and I raised a physically and mentally handicapped child, as we gave back to Him three children, as I watched my husband die with of cancer, and as I went through my own very serious illness. Never once has He failed to fill all my needs.

When we obey God’s commands to the best of our ability, and confess our sins, repent of them, and continue faithfully in His way, then we can say, with Paul, at the end of our life here, ”I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all them also that love His appearing“ (2 Timothy 4:8-9).

Dear Father,
Please help me to depend on Thee in good times and in bad times. Help me to reach out to others with Thy Word, so that all may hear it, obey Thy commandments, and have that home that Jesus has gone to prepare for us.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

By Bonnie Reaves

Introduction to Christian Evidences

Is Christianity logical and verifiable? Is it reasonable? Is it true?

We are going to begin a series on the evidences for Christianity. The Christian religion is an historical religion based on historical facts (see, for example, Luke 2:1-5 and Luke 3:1-2, where specific historical names, places, and events are mentioned). Christianity is not the same as mythology, superstition, supposition, or mere cultural tradition. Christianity is based upon facts.

Is it right to “check things out,” to investigate, to question? Actually it is wrong not to! (see John 7:16-17; Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1). God wants us to be sure, to ascertain, and to know the certainty of the things recorded in the Bible. Biblical faith is based upon an acceptance of the facts the Bible states (Romans 10:17).

There are many philosophies in our land today, about which the Christian must be aware.

  1. RELATIVISM: The relativist believes there is no such thing as absolute or objective truth, that “truth” in only what each individual perceives it to be.
  2. AGNOSTICISM: The agnostic believes one cannot know whether there is a God or not.
  3. ATHEISM: Atheists deny the existence of God. However, the atheist cannot know for sure there is no God; he must believe that. Unless one had all knowledge or could be everywhere present, he could not know there is no God somewhere. So atheism is a belief system.
  4. PANTHEISM: The pantheist believes that God is in all, and all is God; that God is the world, and the material world is but an illusion; man’s true self is God. These are the views of the New Age movement, as well as certain forms of Hinduism and Zen Buddhism. (This is what many in Hollywood seem to believe.)
  5. SKEPTICISM : This is the belief that all things held to be true are questionable or doubtful, that nothing can be absolutely known for sure. Thus all religious beliefs, according to this philosophy, are unsure, and nothing is certain.
  6. SUBJECTIVISM: This is the belief that all knowledge is subjective and relative, not absolute or objective.
  7. THEISM: This is the belief that there is one eternal God, who is a personal Being and really exists; that the world is a created reality and that absolute truth exists and can be known; and that there is a moral standard determined by the laws of the Creator to which man is subject.

Let us ask some important questions:

  1. DOES THE BIBLE TEACH THERE IS SUCH A THING AS ABSOLUTE TRUTH? The answer: Yes! The Bible affirms the reality and certainty of truth (see John 14:6; Psalm 100:5; Ephesians 4:15; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3-8). There is a distinction between truth and error, right and wrong.
  2. CAN TRUTH BE KNOWN? Again the answer is “Yes!” The Bible affirms that truth can be recognized, learned, known, understood, and believed (see Proverbs 22:17-21; John 8:31-32; 2 Peter 1:12).
  3. WHAT CAN WE KNOW? The Bible affirms that we can know God (John 17:3), that God exists (Psalm 46:10), that our Redeemer lives (Job 19:25), that Christ’s doctrine is of God the Father (John 7:17), and many, many other things!
  4. SHOULD WE HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD? Again the Bible affirms, “Yes!” We can and should, in fact, we must, have knowledge of the things of God (see Habakkuk 2:14; Ephesians 4:17-18; 2 Peter 3:18). In many places in the Bible, “know” and “believe” are used together (see John 8:24, 28; John 10:37-38; John 17:21-23).

“Faith” is “belief.” But why do we believe what we believe? The only correct reason for believing what we do is because it is true!

Christianity is based on the testimony of eyewitnesses (see Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-3; and many other passages). Apologetics is the field of study that means to make a defense. It is right, and it is required, that we make a proper defense of the things which we believe. The Bible tells us to “prove” (that is, to test, to examine, to scrutinize, to approve as right and worthy) in such passages as 1 Thessalonians 5:21 and 1 John 4:1.

Faith, as used in the Bible, is our confidence regarding what we hold to be true, and what we hold to be true is based on evidence (Hebrews 11:1). Thus faith is the assurance we have concerning that for which we hope, and the proof we have concerning that which is not seen with the naked eye. Faith is not a “leap in the dark” (as it has sometimes been described), but rather, faith is a step into the light; it is our conviction based on overwhelming evidence regarding what is true. Something is not true because we believe it; we believe it because we have assurance it is true!

We invite all to examine the evidence for Christianity. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to express concerns. The purpose of this column will be to answer questions and give assurance. Christianity can be examined, tested, and verified – of this we are certain. There are many Bible verses cited above, and these are recorded so that you may look into the Bible and check for yourself what it says.

In the columns that will follow we will be looking at such questions as: Is there a God? Is the Bible really God’s Word? Is Jesus the Son of God? Is Jesus the only way of salvation? Are the things the Bible says about Jesus really true, and did they happen (like the virgin birth, His death for sin, His resurrection from the dead)? What is God like? What about heaven and hell?

Faith never has anything to fear from honest investigation. Indeed, the deeper you look into the evidences for Christianity, the stronger will be your faith. If you have questions, please ask. We will address your questions, your interests, and your concerns. If you are an unbeliever, all we ask is that you keep an open mind. Give us an opportunity to explain the Christian faith.

Our faith gives meaning, purpose, and direction to live. We invite everyone to come with us on this journey as we explore the reasons of belief.

By John M. Brown

Day 009

Matthew 12:9-50

9 Departing from there, He went into their synagogue.
10 And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”–so that they might accuse Him.
11 And He said to them, “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out?
12 “How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand!” He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other.

14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.

15 But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all,

16 and warned them not to tell who He was.

17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

18 “BEHOLD, MY SERVANT WHOM I HAVE CHOSEN; MY BELOVED IN WHOM MY SOUL is WELL-PLEASED; I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT UPON HIM, AND HE SHALL PROCLAIM JUSTICE TO THE GENTILES.

19 “HE WILL NOT QUARREL, NOR CRY OUT; NOR WILL ANYONE HEAR HIS VOICE IN THE STREETS.

20 “A BATTERED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK OFF, AND A SMOLDERING WICK HE WILL NOT PUT OUT,
UNTIL HE LEADS JUSTICE TO VICTORY.

21 “AND IN HIS NAME THE GENTILES WILL HOPE.”

The Pharisees Rebuked

22 Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw.

23 All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?”

24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.”

25 And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.

26 “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?

27 “If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges.

28 “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

29 “Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.

The Unpardonable Sin

30 “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

31 “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.

32 “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Words Reveal Character

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.

34 “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

35 “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.

36 “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.

37 “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The Desire for Signs

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”

39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;

40 for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

41 “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

42 “The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

43 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it.

44 “Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order.

45 “Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”

Changed Relationships

46 While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him.

47 Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.”

48 But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”

49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers!

50 “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

The Greatest Day of My Life

I’ve always remembered that day like it was yesterday. I had been contemplating all week whether or not I was going to do it, and on Friday I had finally decided. I WAS GOING TO BE BAPTIZED! It was the last day of church camp, and I just felt like it was the right time. I felt like God had surrounded me with his loving hands. My mom was at camp with me and I was nervous about telling her. I’m not sure why I was, though. I first told my best friend that I wanted to get baptized, and she helped prepare me to talk to my mom. I then had to go and talk to the Director of that week he was also the preacher at my church. He asked me who I wanted to invite—I had become close to all of the other teens that week, so I told him that’s who I wanted to invite, plus some of the staff. I wanted to get baptized at night, because I have always loved the moon and the stars; they are just so beautiful.

After the activity that night, we were going to watch a slideshow with pictures on it from the week, but they were having technical difficulties. So my preacher told me to get all my friends to the pool and to go get changed. My excitement had been building all day and the moment was finally here. I couldn’t help but smile.

After I had changed, my mom and I walked up to the pool. All of my friends were lined up by the steps, and my preacher was waiting. He led me into the pool, and he asked me “Do you believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the redemption of your sins?”

“I do,” I replied.

“I now baptize you in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.” He then dunked me under the water, and when I came up, I know I had a huge smile on my face. I was so happy. When I got out of the pool, I grabbed my towel and went over and hugged all of my friends. I had tears of joy in my eyes. When I got to one guy, he put a necklace with a cross made out of nails around my neck and then hugged me. I don’t know if he knows how much that meant to me, but I’ll always remember it. This was and will always be one of the greatest days of my life.

by Lizzy Morgan

Day 008

Matthew 11

John’s Questions

1 When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.

2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples

3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”

4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see:

5 the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.

6 “And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

Jesus’ Tribute to John

7 As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?

8 “But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces!

9 “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.

10 “This is the one about whom it is written,
‘BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU,
WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.’

11 “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

12 “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.

13 “For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.

14 “And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.

15 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

16 “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children,

17 and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’

18 “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’

19 “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

The Unrepenting Cities

20 Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His (S)miracles were done, because they did not repent.

21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

22 “Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.

23 “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.

24 “Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”

Come to Me

25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.

26 “Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.

27 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.

30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 12

Sabbath Questions

1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat.

2 But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.”

3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions,

4 how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone?

5 “Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent?

6 “But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here.

7 “But if you had known what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.

Lord of the Sabbath

8 “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Chicken Parmesan Bundles

Chicken Parmesan BundlesPrep Time:
35 min
Total Time:
1 hr 5 min
Makes:
6 servings

Ingredients
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened 1 pkg.
(10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
1-1/4 cups KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, divided 6 Tbsp.
KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb.), pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1 egg
10 RITZ Crackers, crushed (about 1/2 cup)
1-1/2 cups spaghetti sauce, heated

Instructions
PREHEAT oven to 375ºF. Mix cream cheese, spinach, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and 3 Tbsp. of the Parmesan cheese until well blended; spread evenly onto chicken breasts. Starting at one of the short ends of each breast, roll up chicken tightly. Secure with wooden toothpicks, if desired. Set aside.

BEAT egg in shallow bowl or pie plate. Mix remaining 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese and the cracker crumbs in separate shallow bowl or pie plate. Dip chicken bundles in egg, then roll in crumb mixture. Place, seam-sides down, in 13×9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

BAKE 30 min. or until chicken is cooked through (165ºF). Remove and discard toothpicks, if using. Serve topped with the spaghetti sauce and remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.

Kraft Kitchens Tips
Healthy Living
Save 40 calories and 4g fat per serving by preparing with PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese, KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Redcuced Fat Mozzarella Cheese and RITZ Reduced Fat Crackers.

Make Ahead
Assemble chicken bundles and place in baking dish as directed; cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours. When ready to serve, uncover and bake at 375ºF for 35 min. or until chicken is cooked through.

Jazz It Up
Stir chopped fresh basil and/or sliced black olives into spaghetti sauce before heating.

Courtesy of http://www.kraftfoods.com

Soap Operas and the Heart

As a Christian woman I am trying to live the life Christ wants me to live, while also living in a world full of sin. Of course, it is difficult when most of the world relies on sinful things to live, and Christians, as well as non-Christians, are affected by worldly doings. The media often uses sex in order to make a profit for themselves, because they know people are drawn to this worldly pleasure. Soap operas are often described as sexual dramas because of the emphasis the directors and writers place on sex within the storyline.

As Christians, we learn that sexual lust is wrong. First Peter 2:11 says, ”Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” Although we know the sin involved with lust, most everyone struggles with this to some degree because of the way God designed our bodies for marriage. Sexual images are everywhere, feeding the world’s sexual appetite in an unholy way, which is discussed in Hebrews 13:4: “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

A example of lust is the recent movie The Other Boleyn Girl. Although this is not the typical soap opera, many reviewers have referred to it as the 16th-century soap opera. The story is not historically accurate, and the immorality discussed continually throughout the movie creates a very sin-filled film. However, it has become a popular film, and many Christians are recommending it to others. I have not seen it, but the Christian reviews concerning the film prove that Hollywood has struck again in its attempt to fill our hearts with sinful thoughts.

Many Christians believe that as long as they aren’t the ones active in the sin, they aren’t sinning. But watching soap operas and other immoral shows or movies can be committing sin in our hearts. In Matthew 5:27–30, Jesus talks about not only committing adultery, but having lustful thoughts in one’s heart, and explains that it is a sin. Also, by allowing ourselves to view the act of sin (real or fiction), we are making ourselves vulnerable to the present sin, which could have long-term consequences. Hebrews 3:13 says, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called to day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Now that school is ending for the summer, many of us are left at home, without parents, eating and watching television. If we follow what God has commanded, hopefully we will all exercise our ability of choice in what we watch and will follow the Biblical examples of purity while exercising our thumb on the remote.

Trying to stay pure is a continual process and is never easy; however, with prayer, persistence, and the help of fellow Christians, our walk with Jesus will be more fulfilling than we ever imagined.

By Sarah Brown

Better-Than-Ever Beef Enchiladas

Better-Than-Ever Beef EnchiladasPrep Time:
20 min
Total Time:
43 min
Makes:
4 servings, two enchiladas each

Ingredients
1/2 lb. extra lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1/2 cup chopped red peppers
2 cups TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick ‘N Chunky Salsa, divided
1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Light Zesty Italian Reduced Fat Dressing
8 corn tortillas (6 inch)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions
PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Cook meat and peppers in large nonstick skillet on medium heat until meat is no longer pink, stirring frequently. Add 1 cup of the salsa; simmer 3 to 4 min. or until peppers are tender. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese.

SPREAD 1/4 cup of the salsa onto bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish. Brush dressing lightly over both sides of tortillas. Stack 4 of the tortillas on large sheet of waxed paper; wrap tortillas in waxed paper. Microwave on HIGH 20 to 30 sec. or just until warmed. Immediately spoon 1/3 cup meat mixture down center of each warm tortilla; roll up. Place, seam-side down, in dish. Repeat with remaining 4 tortillas and meat mixture. Spoon remaining 3/4 cup salsa evenly over filled tortillas; cover with foil.

BAKE 20 min. or until heated through. Uncover; top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake an additional 2 to 3 min. or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro.
TACO BELL® and HOME ORIGINALS® are trademarks owned and licensed by Taco Bell Corp.

Kraft Kitchens Tips
Makeover Savings
Try this madeover version of beef enchiladas that can save you 200 calories and 18 grams of fat per serving by decreasing the beef and using a leaner variety, adding peppers, and using KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese.

Cooking Know-How
Corn tortillas are typically fried in oil to prevent cracking, but in this healthy version the tortillas are spread with dressing and warmed to minimize cracking.

Courtesy of http://www.kraftfoods.com

Bible Knowledge

Did you know that people spend more time reading books about the Bible than they spend actually reading the Bible? Reading books about the Bible are wonderful if you want to study a specific Biblical topic in depth, but books about the Bible don’t replace the Bible. The best way to gain Bible knowledge is to read the Bible! Bible classes, sermons, and Pierce My Heart articles are wonderful, but they are to accompany daily Bible study, not take the place of it.

Whether you are used to reading your Bible every day, or usually don’t even crack it open, this Bible study will be beneficial because if you read the assigned chapters, you will actually read the entire New Testament by the end of this year! We’ll start with Matthew and go all the way through the book of Revelation. There is not very much reading per day, so even if you get behind, you should be able to take extra time and catch back up again. This summer is a wonderful time to get in the habit of regular Bible study because you won’t be tied down with school and homework. If your family is going on vacation, print out extra copies of the reading plan and let everyone take turns reading out loud in the car. (Reading the Bible is a much better way to pass the time than reading license plates!) If you have a summer job, take the reading plan with you and read on your breaks from work. There is no better way to unwind and regroup than to read the Bible and pray! Maybe you’re staying home all summer by yourself while your parents work; make it a habit to do your Bible reading before checking your e-mail, Facebook or Myspace. Our theme this month is “Pierce my heart in the Son,” and we will be reading through the book of Matthew and starting on Mark, which are both records of the life of Jesus. No greater man ever lived than Christ Himself, so learn about Him this summer by digging into your Bible and letting the Word of God pierce your heart!

Suggested Reading, June 2008

June 01 (Matthew 1:1-2:18)
June 02 (Matthew 2:19 – 4:25)
June 03 (Matthew 5:1-42)
June 04 (Matthew 5:43 – 7:6)
June 05 Matthew (7:7 – 8:27)
June 06 (Matthew 8:28 – 9:38)
June 07 (Matthew 10:1 – 10:42)
June 08 (Matthew 11:1 – 12:8)
June 09 (Matthew 12:9 – 12:50)
June 10 (Matthew 13:1 – 13:52)
June 11 (Matthew 13:53 – 14:36)
June 12 (Matthew 15:1 – 16:4)
June 13 (Matthew 16:5 – 17:23)
June 14 (Matthew 17:24 – 18:35)
June 15 (Matthew 19:1 – 20:16)
June 16 (Matthew 20:17 – 21:27)
June 17 (Matthew 21:28 – 22:33)
June 18 (Matthew 22:34 – 23:36)
June 19 (Matthew 23:37 – 24:35)
June 20 (Matthew 24:36 – 25:30)
June 21 (Matthew 25:31 – 26:35)
June 22 (Matthew 26:36 – 27:14)
June 23 (Matthew 27:15 – 27:66)
June 24 (Mark 1:1-28)
June 25 (Mark 1:29 – 2:12)
June 26 (Mark 2:13 – 3:19)
June 27 (Mark 3:20 – 4:34)
June 28 (Mark 4:35 – 5:43)
June 29 (Mark 6:1 – 6:44)
June 30 (Mark 6:45 – 7:37)

by Davonne Parks

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright (C) 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.