1 Thessalonians 5:11 (KJV)

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (KJV)

Monday, February 25, 2013

How to Save a Life

Time for GOD'S Word

 From "Daily Pocket Devotions"
Acts 20:10   Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "He's alive!"

Thoughts for Today:
Paul wasn't passive when he saw a problem; he was a man of action. As evidenced in our passage today, when Paul learned that Eutychus had fallen three stories from a window to his death while listening to him preach he went down and "threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him." By doing so Paul saved his life. We don't know precisely how these actions saved Eutychus -- just that they did.
Questions to Ponder:
Sometimes, like the young man, we can all lose our way. I thank God for the people in my life who cared about me and were courageous enough to get involved when I was off course -- who saved my life.

Have you been passing up opportunities to get involved?

Is there anyone in your life who needs your saving hand?

Do you have the courage (and the time) to reach out and assist them?

The next time the Lord touches your heart with a situation,
yield to His call and you too may save a life.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tragedy: A Test of Faith and Action

Pocket DevotionsDay 318:

Acts 20:8-9
There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.

Thoughts for Today:

The upper room (third floor) where Paul was speaking was probably hot because of the large number of people in attendance, plus the many lamps. The combination of the heat and length of Paul's talk lulled Eutychus, the young man (probably around 14 years of age), to sleep who then fell out the window to his death. What a tragic event!

As Eutychus' parent I might say, "I shouldn't have let him sit in the window in the first place." Or maybe as a critical observer, "If he had been paying attention he wouldn't have fallen asleep." Or even as a compassionate family member, "If someone had designed the room better there might have been better ventilation, and the tragedy could have been avoided all together." Did you see what just happened? From three perspectives the responsibility for the death went from the self-guilt of the parent; to the personal responsibility (or rather irresponsibility) of the individual; and ultimately to a vague "someone." As silly as it would have seemed in Paul's day, in our legal system that "someone" (designer/builder/owner) would probably have legal and financial responsibility for not providing a safe environment and thereby was the cause of Eutychus' death.

From my perspective it was simply a tragic accident. Too often we make ourselves crazy -- either riddled with guilt or angry and out for retribution -- when indeed there was and is no fault in an accident. An accident by definition is: the way things happen without any planning, apparent cause, or deliberate intent. The problem is we have difficulty understanding and accepting that a life can be lost without meaning -- at least none within our ability to grasp or understand. After all, what purpose could be met in the death of Eutychus?

The Bible tells us in James 2:21-22, "Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did." Abraham did not understand the meaning or purpose of the sacrifice of his son Isaac, just that God had asked for it. As I read our passage today, I wondered if Eutychus had been my son and had died a tragic yet accidental death; would I place his death on the altar of God and thereby complete my faith; or would I be angry at God for letting it happen? Would I in grief look for a villain to blame or would my faith and action work together? Those are really big and difficult questions to answer. How would you respond?

Questions to Ponder:

Those of us who are familiar with the Book of Acts know the story of Eutychus has a "happy ending." However, in this life that is not always our experience. Accidents happen and people, including loved ones, lose their lives.
The Bible tells us in Roman 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
It is during tragedies that we are really challenged to apply that lesson of trusting God "in all things." How do you respond when an accidental tragedy occurs? How do faith and action work together in your life? How do we find God's purpose in those things we do not understand?

I pray that for all of us who face tragedy in this life, we would allow our faith and action to work together -- placing our loss as a sacrifice upon the altar of God, and as a result our faith would be made stronger, completed because of our trust in God. Amen.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Oh Baby!

Pocket Gospels & Pregnancy Resource Centers

We recently received a beautiful story on our website from Arlene D. from Jackson, WY...
I volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center and was privileged to share the gospel of John with two ladies the other day. In the morning one woman accepted Jesus as her Savior and decided to keep her baby! In the afternoon another woman came to Christ -- two in one day! Praise God! We love using the PTL pocket testament gospels of John to lead these precious souls to the Lord.
Pregnancy Resource Center, Abortion
Save a baby and save a soul! God is so good!
Did you know that every day, thousands of babies are aborted in this country? The abortion-determined parent is hard to reach, but we can see from Arlene's story that nothing is impossible with God!

They are often hurting in ways few of us can understand. But thankfully, there is always hope. There are loving and caring counselors at life-affirming pregnancy centers across our nation who speak the truth about life, and who are able to offer a better alternative to a woman looking to have an abortion.

According to TIME magazine, pregnancy centers are playing a role in why abortion rates have lowered in recent years. These centers are beacons of light in a lost and hurting world, and are truly a lifeline to those who come through their doors.

The Pocket Testament League is rolling out a new resource for Pregnancy Resource Centers... a gospel of John titled, “Life is Good”. This cover is designed to convey the idea that not only is life good, but it is also a precious gift from God.

You can make a difference by ordering Gospels of John with this cover to distribute in your local pregnancy resource centers. Please make a donation when you do so we can print even more! What a powerful message these gospels will have in the hands of young women – and men – as they sit in waiting rooms with decisions to make, as they face lives that have been unexpectedly impacted by pregnancy.

You can also order these Gospels to leave at your church, drop off at other local churches, to carry with you, or just to have on hand for those times God will provide a way for you to minister to someone who needs to know and understand that every life is a gift from God and deserves a chance.
 Order “Life is Good” today. Lives are waiting to be changed.

YOU can be a part of it NOW !

More than an 'Hour of Power'

Pocket Devotions

Day 317:

Acts 20:7
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.

Thoughts for Today:

Paul was in the final stage of this his third missionary journey, preparing the following day to return to Jerusalem. This particular trip had been especially fruitful. Not only were new churches planted, existing churches expanded, and leaders developed, but it was also a time of personal literary productivity from which we -- almost two thousand years later -- are still benefitting. It was during this time that Paul's four greatest letters were written: 1 Corinthians from Ephesus; 2 Corinthians and Galatians, probably around the same time, from Macedonia; and Romans from Corinth. A pretty good legacy, yet Paul had even more to say before he left and as a result he spoke until midnight.

I would like to meet the person who decided how long a church service should last; yet in just about every church throughout America they are the same. I wonder how much of the Holy Spirit's influence we miss when we hold our pastors accountable to such tight schedules. When was the last time you ever heard of or were present when a pastor, so filled by the Holy Spirit continued speaking, without limitations, until he was finished? For me the answer is never -- at my church the 11:00 am service ends at precisely 12:15 pm -- every Sunday without fail.

Questions to Ponder:


Has your pastor ever exceeded his allocated sermon time?
Did you find yourself looking at your watch, worried that you might miss "kick-off" of the latest football game or your lunch reservation with friends?
I'm sure Paul didn't operate with the same time restrictions or schedules that today's pastors seem forced to adhere to.
However, the real question is this: If your pastor had more to say would you have the interest and patience to listen, or is church just one more activity booked into your already too tight schedule?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Experiencing the Urgent Need for Jesus

Pocket Devotions

Day 315:

Acts 20:3a
...where he stayed three months.

Thoughts for Today:

Paul had left Ephesus, traveling through Macedonia arriving in the province of Achaia. While in Greece ("where he stayed three months") he spent a lot of time in Corinth and it was from Corinth that Paul wrote his letter to the Romans. Although Paul had not yet visited Rome, believers there had started a church (thought to be Jews who had received the Spirit at Pentecost and brought their new faith home), and Paul wrote to them of his plans to visit. The letter to the Romans is perhaps the most complete explanation of Christianity in the Bible. It begins with the meaning of faith and salvation, an explanation of the relationship between Jews and Gentiles and then concludes with a list of practical guidelines for the church to follow.

I think it is interesting that the Holy Spirit chose to inspire Paul to write the letter to the Romans while in city of Corinth. Corinth, in an age of sexual immorality, was widely known for the licentious life-style of its citizens. The first three chapters of Romans deal specifically with man's sin and fallen nature. Perhaps Paul needed the vivid reminder of Corinth to fully express humanity's need for a Savior in the person of Jesus Christ. Often times when I am circled by the love and goodness of friends, family and fellow Christians I temporarily forget the evilness and depravity of man. Sometimes I too need a reminder. I think that is why mission work is so incredibly valuable for us -- it gets us out and into the real world -- where hunger, poverty, sexual abuse, drug addiction, murder, and AIDS are not just headlines -- but real facts of life.

Questions to Ponder:

When was the last time you saw upfront and personal the consequences of sin?
A friend of mine came back recently from a mission trip to South Africa truly grieved and changed by the experience. Seeing first hand and in graphic detail the travesty of AIDS gave him a whole new perspective and passion for service in the name of Jesus. He spoke these words in summary, "Food and medicine will help a lot, but those are only temporary fixes.
The real problem is the life style.
What the people need is a change in morality and that comes from Jesus --
He's the only way anything is ever going to change." Amen.
Sign up for your church's next missionary trip. You will see the need for Jesus in a completely different way and with a whole new sense of urgency. If you cannot go now yourself, help another person go. If these two ideas seem impossible now, begin to pray for an area of the nation or world that is on your heart. Pray for healing, pray for real change through the power of Jesus Christ !

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Why the Gospel of John?

The Pocket Testament League Blog


Posted by The Pocket Testament League on Sat, Feb 16, 2013

Ever wonder why we print the Gospel of John rather than another book of the Bible?

Find out in this story posted on our website by Joan from South Hadley, Massachusetts:
“We have a congregation of many college students, and I find it so easy to welcome them to our church and hand them a Gospel of John Pocket Testament. Several weeks ago, I thought it so amazing that in a sermon our pastor said to start with John. This was part of a message on How to Study the Bible, and he said that he had been told when he was a new believer to start with John!”

Yes, start with John! Filled with the Spirit and power of God, John reveals Jesus as the Son of God, true God and true Man. You encounter Jesus through John's eyewitness account of His teachings and His miracles, and hear for yourself His message of love and forgiveness. You learn how Jesus fulfilled God's plan of salvation, and John speaks clearly about Jesus' promise of eternal life to those who believe on Him.

Read John, and continue with John! To help you, we developed the 21-Day Challenge, a free online course that takes you through the Gospel and provides easy-to-read commentary. We invite you to grow in your relationship with God and knowledge of His work in your life as you reflect on His message in the dynamic, Spirit-inspired Gospel of John.

Frequently Asked Questions - Pocket Gospels

The Pocket Testament League

Posted by Katherine Huske on Fri, Feb 15, 2013


What is The Pocket Testament League?gospel tracts, pocket gospels

The Pocket Testament League is a non-denominational ministry that began in 1893. Headquarters is in Lititz, Pennsylvania. The League is managed by a 15-person Board of Trustees.

The League is a faith-based ministry focused on helping to see God's Word shared, and to encourage Christians to Read, Carry and Share the Word of God. Those who are serious about living their faith join to study Scripture, share Gospels and be equipped for a lifestyle of evangelism. Those who want to sponsor others enjoy their role in empowering people to share their faith. Our hearts' desire is to empower every Christian, regardless of financial circumstances, to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with no barrier in the way. Our ability to provide Gospels is made possible by gifts from individuals, churches, businesses, missions boards, foundations, and estates. There is no obligation to give to receive sharing resources.


I'm not experienced in evangelism, so can I really share my faith?

Yes, you CAN! Thousands of our members are just like you, with no evangelism training or experience, and they are changing lives! Through ordinary people just like you, God has led hundreds of thousands to Christ. Remember, God does all the work. The Pocket Testament League is here to help you. You may be amazed at how God uses your life and situation to help further the Kingdom.


Do I need special training?

No special training is needed. God provides the training. In many cases, this is "on the job" training. The Pocket Testament League comes along side you to act as a support network through prayer, guidance, and other resources. You might be interested in our innovative and free Evangelism Boot Camp training program. This powerful 7-part course will help you learn how to share your faith, is delivered by E-mail and is self-paced, so you can take as long as you want with each lesson.


Does it cost anything?

A donation is requested at the time of order, but it is possible to receive Gospels for free. We do not wish to have financial issues become a barrier for anyone who wants to give away God's Word to others. Our suggested donation is 65 cents per Gospel, although the actual cost to our ministry is higher. All our online resources are completely free of any donation request.


How can I equip others with Gospels?

We offer a sponsorship program. Those members who are in financial situations that make it impossible to give can ask for sponsorship so that they can receive their Gospels free of charge. We have many sponsors, who seek to encourage those actively sharing their faith by providing financial support in the form of Gospel resources. In return, sponsors are rewarded by receiving stories about changed lives from the people who are being sponsored.

To be sponsored, just place your order and on the checkout page select "Sponsorship" as the payment option. You'll be placed in a queue and when your order rises to the top of the list (usually between 7-10 days), your order will be sponsored by the next sponsorship donation and sent on its way. Your sponsors are partners in your ministry, so encourage them by posting stories of your activity, which they'll receive by Email and in their SponsorConnect news feed. Sponsored orders are limited to one per month, with a maximum of 30 Gospels of John per order.


Do I get charged for shipping or handling?

No, shipping by standard parcel post is free. You may choose to have your order shipped more quickly using fast UPS shipping, in which case you would need to cover the cost of your order, including shipping, using a credit card.


How many Gospels can I order?

There's no limit if you donate when you order, but we ask that you order what you think you'll personally share in a month's time, usually 30 Gospels per month. You're encouraged to build a lifestyle of personal evangelism. For most people, this means putting one Gospel in your pocket each morning and looking for an opportunity to give it to someone as a free gift in the course of the day.

If you need more Gospels for a special outreach opportunity, that's fine. We ask that you use your credit card to make a donation at the time of the order in an amount that's equal to or greater than the cost to the ministry.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Are you coming or going?

Have you ever heard the phrase, "I'm so busy I don't know whether I'm coming or going"?. Most of us are really busy, and struggle with priorities. It has been said, however, that our purpose on this planet can be summarized as just "coming and going".

In the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, "Come, follow me" Matthew 4:14. In the end of the Gospel, Jesus said, "Therefore, go and make disciples..." Matthew 28:19.

Come to Jesus....Go and make disciples....that sums up our purpose.

Evangelism Tool box, share the gospelAt the League we have been in thousands of churches. We are continually amazed at how few (about 3 out of 100 in any given week) Christians share their faith.

You know you can't share a faith you don't have. If you are not "going" with the Gospel message, you need to ask yourself, "Have I truly come to Jesus? Have I given my heart and life to Him?" Everyone needs to examine their own heart on this issue. You need to truly come to Him, before you will ever go and share.

Have you come to Him? If so, it's time to get going...there are lots of people, right around you, that need to hear the message of peace and connection with their Creator.

Take a moment and explore our website for the tools the help you share our faith including our pocket gospels that you can order online at www.ptl.org/gospel

Not in the Way We Might Expect

Acts 19:21-22
After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. "After I have been there," he said, "I must visit Rome also." He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.

Thoughts for Today:

Paul did eventually go to Rome just as he planned, however he went as a prisoner which I'm sure was not what he had in mind. How many times have I built grandiose plans to arrive at some destination or goal, only to find myself there just not quite in the way I expected?
Questions to Ponder:
What have been some of the big plans you have made for your life that didn't turn as you expected? Have you found joy in the outcome or are you still bound by the disappointment? This is where being a Christian becomes difficult -- are you up to it? Is your faith strong enough? Sometimes we have to let go of the disappointment and our own plan to find joy and perhaps see a glimpse of God's master plan.
from: Daily Devotions Pocket Testament League
Have you taken the 21 Day Challenge ?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Burning the Implements of Sin

Pocket Devotions

Day 306:

Acts 19:19
A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.

Thoughts for Today:

In Paul's time, as a rule of thumb a drachma was worth the rough equivalent of one day's pay of a highly skilled worker. The United States Department of Labor tells us that the average national salary in 2007 was $861 per week or $172 per day. That means, in today's economy the value of the scrolls burned exceeded $8,610,000. That's a seriously expensive bonfire. Some might even think it was a gigantic waste of money, but was it?

Our devotion today is titled, "Burning the Implements of Sin;" I chose that title because the dictionary defines an "implement" as a "tool (a useful piece of equipment, usually a specially shaped object designed to do a particular task)." Let me pose a question in today's terms: "Is a Playboy magazine an implement of sin?" Of course it is because the editors of the magazine have specifically designed it to generate and ignite lustful thoughts in men for women who are not their wives (Proverbs 6:25, "Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes"). That brings us back to the bigger question of the day and that is "As a Christian, if you inherited a home from a distant relative and found abandoned in the garage a collection of Playboy magazines worth $8,610,000 -- would you burn them or sell them?" Your answer will tell you a lot about where you are spiritually.

Questions to Ponder:

What do you do with the implements of sin in your life when you want to change?
Do you keep them around so as not to be wasteful; place something on EBay and sell it to the highest bidder; or completely destroy it?
We know what the believers in Ephesus did -- they "brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly." I always think it's interesting how we can passively agree with Scripture about how "fifty thousand drachmas" worth of scrolls were burned, then not be as resolute about doing so in our own lives.
What residual of sin do you still keep around? Perhaps its time to do some house cleaning and have a bonfire of your own; it might be expensive on the surface but priceless in God's economy.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Call upon the name of the Lord

If there becomes a time that God rejects this nation because it has rejected God.

Remember He is always available to those individuals who sincerely call upon the Lord.

Romans 10:13 (KJV) 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.