Thursday, December 13, 2018, 12:25 | No Comments »

We’ve all met a Scrooge at one time or another. Whether they’re decrying the price of turkeys this year or complaining about the incompetence of government, Scrooges are no fun to be around. They have a remarkable talent for sucking every last drop of happiness and joy out of the Christmas season. Instead of rejoicing, they are bitter and miserable. How can we avoid becoming one of these Scrooges? How can we rejoice even if this Christmas is going to be tougher than usual?

Here’s what we need to remember so we can find true joy at Christmas.
 

1) Remember what you’ve been given.

No matter who you are, what your bank account holds, or what your plans for Christmas are, you have been blessed. God has given you the gift of living today. And, as its 86,400 seconds speed by, His grace continues to flow into your life. As Paul said, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being…” (Acts 17:28) 
 
How many cancer patients have longed and prayed for just one more day to inhale sweet lungfuls of air, hold their loved ones close, and watch the sun rise? Too often, we take life for granted. At the local church’s prison ministry, we want to live each day to the fullest and be thankful for it.
 
Beyond the gift of today, God has also given us a thousand other gifts. He has given us a beautiful planet to live in, His wonderful Word, and a precious Saviour. He has given us unshakeable promises that we can rest upon. To remember how good God has been to you, take 2 minutes to read “God Is Not a Tightwad.”
 

2) Remember what He gave up.

In order to come down at Christmas, Jesus had to give up many things. He had to lay aside His kingly robes and don a human body, with all its weakness and frailty. He had to leave the halls that rang with His praises and come to Earth, where He would be mocked and scorned. He had to walk down the steps of His throne and into a lowly stable and a poor family. 
 
Jesus gave up many of His rights to come to earth. What rights did He give up?
 
-The right to a soft pillow and a warm bed (Matthew 8:20)
-The right to do what He wanted to do (John 6:38)
-The right to unending worship & praise (Hebrews 1:6)
-The right to the full exercise of His powers (Philippians 2:7)
 
These are just a few of the sacrifices that Jesus made for our sakes, because He loved us. How thankful we ought to be for His willingness to do so!
 

3) Remember He loves you no matter what.

When we turn the pages of the Christmas story, we begin to see that it’s not merely the story of a Baby. It’s not about the nervous shepherds or wealthy magi. At the centre of the Christmas story is a Father-heart beating with eternal love.
 
This Father looked down and saw us in our sin. He knew that we could never scale the walls that sin had built between us. So He sent Jesus to break down the walls, to snap the chains that bound us, and to invite us into His presence. 
 
As Matthew wrote, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) 
 
Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we can be forgiven if we will turn from our sin and believe on Him. Then we can know Jesus not only as a the Baby in the manger, but as Emmanuel—God with us. 
 
As believers, we need to remember that God always loves us. He loves us when we make Him proud…but also when we fail Him over and over again. He loves us even when we are doubting and fearful. He loves us through storms and sunshine, through thick and thin, and through every circumstance of life. At the local church’s prison ministry, we are so grateful for His love.
 
This month, let us remember what God has given us. Let’s thank Jesus for everything He gave up. And let’s rest in our Father’s amazing love for us. If we do these things, then we can have true joy this Christmas!
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Are you searching? Jesus has the answers for addictions and stubborn habits. For more information, send the Crossmans a private message here on Facebook or come to a church service at Prince Albert Baptist Church. Take the first step in a walk of freedom!

For more information, call (306) 940-9554 or email anchorofhopeheb@gmail.com
 


Thursday, December 13, 2018, 12:02 | No Comments »

What is the measure of your success as a Christian? What is God looking for in His children? If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you may have heard the following:
 
“God wants you to glorify Him in everything you do.”
“You need to find God’s perfect will for your life and follow it.”
“God commands you to love your neighbour as yourself.”
 
While all of these statements are Biblically accurate, they can all be summarized in one brief verse from the prophet Micah.
 
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8)

Let’s take a closer look at 3 things that God requires from us.
 

Do justly.

While the Cambridge Oxford Dictionary defines “justly” as “in a fair or morally correct way,” we need to be a little more specific. Who sets the standard for what is “fair” or “morally correct”? As Bible-believing Christians, we understand that God has given us a standard of right and wrong in His inspired Word.  The Bible not only describes what is unfair and morally wrong, but it also tells us what is right, fair, and just.
 
Therefore, doing justly means obeying God’s commands in the Bible. It means measuring our lives by the carpenter’s level of His Word. And it means constantly striving, by God’s grace, to obey more fully. 
 

Love mercy.

To be honest, some Christians skip over this command entirely. And they end up misrepresenting Christ. In their zeal for right and wrong, they forget to be merciful. They become arrogant and condescending toward people who are living sinful lives, and they forget how much God has forgiven them. 
 
Mercy doesn’t mean saying that sin is okay. It means showing grace toward sinners. It means being patient with them and lovingly sharing God’s Word with them. It means empathizing with their struggles and being humble enough to admit we’re not perfect, either. 
 
At the local church’s prison ministry, we know we aren’t perfect. But God’s still helping us grow!
 
People who love mercy remember how much grace and mercy God has shown toward them. They thank God for His mercy and plead that He will extend that same mercy to others. 
 
Because God loves mercy, so should we. 
 

Walk humbly with Him.

Remember Jesus’ parable in Luke 18 about the publican and the Pharisee? While one prayed a haughty, religious-sounding prayer, the other one beat his chest and said, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.” Which one did Jesus commend? 
 
The Bible tells us that Jesus praised the one who humbly asked for mercy. He said, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)
 
Walking humbly with God goes beyond simply obeying Him. It means being humble enough to realize that, without Him, we can do nothing. It means constantly leaning on His strength and talking to Him as we go about our day. 
 
If we walk humbly with God, we will develop a close, sweet friendship with our Maker. This is an incredible privilege and one we should not take lightly. 
 
Living the Christian life is not complicated. It’s just hard. In our own strength, we will fail miserably. But, when we learn to depend on God, we can do justly. We can love mercy. And we can walk humbly with God. 
 
At the local church’s prison ministry, we want to live God’s way. Join us to learn more!
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Are you searching? Jesus has the answers for addictions and stubborn habits. For more information, send the Crossmans a private message here on Facebook or come to a church service at Prince Albert Baptist Church. Take the first step in a walk of freedom!

For more information, call (306) 940-9554 or email anchorofhopeheb@gmail.com
 


Friday, November 30, 2018, 07:01 | No Comments »

 

With Christmas just a few short weeks away, most of us will be tempted to get stressed out at some point. Faced with a thick gift list, a thin bank account, and a lengthy list of extra responsibilities, we may feel overwhelmed. 
 
However, God’s commands to rejoice (Philippians 4:4), cast all our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7), and trust Him with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5) don’t just apply when life goes smoothly. They also apply when your car breaks down, when the bills pile up, and when you feel you can’t go one step further.
 
No matter what circumstances you are facing, you don’t have to be stressed out. 

Read on to find out what stress steals from you (+ Biblical tips to beat it).

 

When pressure is placed upon your life, you will react by either 1) internalizing the pressure and becoming “stressed out” or 2) seeking God for His help and peace. Let’s take a look at what really happens when you choose to be “stressed out.” 

You lose your joy.

Stress shouts, “You need to do this NOW! You have no time to be happy. You have no time to rejoice in the present moment.” By some twisted logic, stress even tells us that we NEED to be anxious and worried if we want good results. 
 
According to the Bible, this is completely false. God calls us to rejoice always, even in stressful circumstances. When we choose to rejoice even when we don’t “feel like it”, God will fill our hearts with joy.  
 

You lose your peace.

Being stressed out can cause your thinking to be anxious, disorganized, and constantly bouncing from one thing to another. Stress makes us Martha, always moving and never being still before the Saviour. But God calls us to something better. 
 
The prophet Isaiah tells us the secret in Isaiah 26:3, 
 
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
 
What does it mean to keep your mind “stayed on God”? It means keeping God in the forefront of your mind. Remember that He is always with you, and walk in obedience to His Word. Talk to Him throughout your day. When worries threaten your peace, call out for His help. Cast your burdens on Him.
 
In addition, carve time out of your daily schedule to seek God in a more in-depth way. Read His Word, and pour out your heart in prayer. Be still in His presence, and listen to His voice. This time alone with God will transform your life and give you the daily strength and peace that you need. At the local church’s prison ministry, we love spending time with God in our daily devotions.
 

You lose your gratitude.

Have you ever noticed that stressed out people aren’t very thankful? They are too busy averting a would-be crisis to pause and thank God for His blessings. Writer Monica Bass wisely says, “Gratitude actually softens stress in a way no organizational planner or resolution to take on less can do…Gratitude reminds us that the sources of our stress are often the same as the sources of our blessings.”  
 
That ministry where you feel inadequate and unappreciated? It’s a priceless window to impact eternal souls for Christ.
 
Those children who are always making a mess? They’re blessings from God that you prayed and longed for.
 
That heavy burden with no end in sight? It’s an opportunity for God to show Himself strong in your life.
 
When we choose gratitude, we can find joy even in hard things. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, the apostle Paul explained what God had told him and why he was thankful for his own weakness. 
 
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
 
If you want to beat stress, start giving thanks. Thank God for His gifts. Thank Him for His stunning mercy and forgiveness. And don’t forget to thank Him for the hard things you’re facing today and the grace He’ll provide for them.
 
Feeling a bit stressed out? You don’t have to be. When you choose to trust God, cast your cares on Him, and give thanks, you can have peace of mind. At the local church’s prison ministry, we want to keep trusting God instead of getting stressed out. Join us to learn more!
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Are you searching? Jesus has the answers for addictions and stubborn habits. For more information, send the Crossmans a private message here on Facebook or come to a church service at Prince Albert Baptist Church. Take the first step in a walk of freedom!

For more information, call (306) 940-9554 or email anchorofhopeheb@gmail.com


Thursday, November 29, 2018, 10:31 | No Comments »

One of the early Church’s greatest leaders. Writer of two New Testament epistles. Disciple of Jesus Himself. Fisherman by trade.
 
Yet we could also describe this man as impetuous, quick-tempered, and cowardly. Under pressure, he caved and denied his Lord—not once, but three times. His name was Simon Peter, and we can learn much from his life.
 

Here’s what Peter teaches us about God’s grace.

Without God’s grace, we will fail.

Just hours before Peter’s infamous denial, Jesus warned His disciples that they would be offended because of Him. Peter protested, saying, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.” (Matthew 26:33) He was certain that, no matter what, he would stay true to his Master. Yet history tells us that Peter went on to deny Jesus because he was afraid. Peter failed Jesus because he wasn’t depending on God’s grace. 
 
Like Peter, we, too, will fail without God’s help. After being saved, we still struggle with our sin nature. The good news is that God has grace available for our constant need. As He told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…” (2 Cor. 12:9) At the local church’s prison ministry, we want to depend on God’s grace so that we can stay faithful.
 

By God’s grace, we can be restored.

The apostle Luke records what happened after Peter’s denial. “And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.” 
 
Can you imagine the guilt and shame that must have washed over Peter’s soul? Knowing that he had denied his Master must have been excruciatingly painful. Yet, after Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to Peter. After providing a miraculous catch of fish, He asked Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” (John 21:15) Peter replied that he did. Jesus responded, “Feed my lambs…Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-16) 
 
Even though Peter had failed dramatically, Jesus restored him to ministry. He even prophesied how Peter would eventually become a martyr for Christ. Because of God’s grace, Peter went from despair to hope. 
 
Like Peter, we often fail. Yet, when we confess our sin, He will forgive us and restore us to fellowship with Him (1 John 1:9) At the local church’s prison ministry, we are thankful for God’s willingness to forgive us.
 
Through God’s grace, we can do anything He calls us to do.
Despite his lack of formal education and humble background, Peter went on to have a powerful ministry to his own people. He preached at Pentecost, and five of his sermons are recorded in the book of Acts. God also used him to write the epistles of 1 Peter and 2 Peter. Without God’s help, these accomplishments would have been impossible. 
 
God often calls us to do things that are beyond our own abilities. That way, we can learn to depend on His grace. Jesus said, “…He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5) By God’s grace, we can do what would otherwise be impossible. 
 
How has God taught you about His grace in your own life? Can you relate to Peter’s experiences? Let us know in the comments!
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Are you searching? Jesus has the answers for addictions and stubborn habits. For more information, send the Crossmans a private message here on Facebook or come to a church service at Prince Albert Baptist Church. Take the first step in a walk of freedom!

For more information, call (306) 940-9554 or email anchorofhopeheb@gmail.com


Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 10:32 | No Comments »

One June day in 1849, a seventeen-year old boy found himself bored, with nothing to do. He picked up a gospel tract to read, thinking, “There will be a story at the beginning and a sermon or moral at the close. I will take the former and leave the latter for those who like it." But, as he read, he felt God’s Spirit tugging at his heart. After reading the tract, he chose to trust Christ as his personal Saviour. When his mother and sister heard the news, they rejoiced to see the answer to their prayers. 
 

This teenager’s name was James Hudson Taylor, and his life would never be the same. Nor would the lives of thousands of souls in China.
 

Called to China

Soon after his conversion, Hudson surrendered his life’s plans to the Lord, asking for direction. God said, “Then go for Me to China.” The young man gladly agreed and threw himself wholeheartedly into preparation. His Sunday School teacher gave him the book of Luke in a Chinese dialect to study. 
 
To prepare himself for the rigors of missionary life, Hudson gave up his feather bed and other small comforts of European life. He went to board with a poor family, ate simple food like oatmeal and rice, and visited the sick. Hudson also taught Sunday School, gave out gospel tracts, studied medicine, and served God with every possible opportunity. At the local church’s prison ministry, we want to serve God by serving others, too.
 

Abiding in Him

One of the most important lessons that God taught Hudson during this time was how to depend on Him alone. On one occasion, he helped dissect a corpse that was infected with a dangerous pathogen. Through contact, Hudson contracted a serious illness. The supervising surgeon told him to go home and arrange his affairs, for he would soon die. Hudson told the surgeon, “I do not think I shall die, for unless I am much mistaken I have work to do in China; and if so, however severe the struggle, I must be brought through.” 
 
Days later, when he had almost recovered, he heard that two fellow students who had worked on the same corpse had died. God had miraculously spared Hudson’s life, for he did indeed have work to do.
 

Destined for China

At last, Hudson sailed for the Orient on September 19, 1853, and he landed in China on March 1, 1854. In addition to furloughs, he would serve the Lord there for the rest of his life. Breaking tradition, Hudson wore the traditional dress of Chinese men and grew his hair into a long ponytail. He believed this would help him reach more souls for Christ.
 
Over the years, Hudson taught school, managed a hospital, and preached the Gospel at every possible opportunity. In January 1858, he married a missionary’s daughter named Maria Dyer. They went on to have eight children together. 
 

China Inland Mission

By God’s grace, Hudson was able to recruit many more missionaries for China. While on furlough in 1865, he founded the China Inland Mission. And he and his wife returned to China with 16 new missionaries in 1866. Eighteen more came in 1870, and a staggering 102 missionaries set sail by the end of 1887. Through these missionaries, countless souls were saved, and many local churches were planted. 
 
On June 3, 1905, Hudson Taylor was called Home. His fellow Chinese Christians bought the best coffin they could find to honour the man who had given them so much. “All God's giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on God being with them,” Hudson Taylor wrote. His life certainly proved this to be true. At the local church’s prison ministry, we, too, want to depend on God and see Him do great things. Will you join us?
________________________________________________________________
Are you searching? Jesus has the answers for addictions and stubborn habits. For more information, send the Crossmans a private message here on Facebook or come to a church service at Prince Albert Baptist Church. Take the first step in a walk of freedom!

For more information, call (306) 940-9554 or email anchorofhopeheb@gmail.com
 


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