Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Strength For The Journey

“Why are you sitting there just staring off into space?” one friend asked another.

“Well, this year has been awful. It’s the worst year that I can ever remember. Nothing’s gone right and it seems that everything’s gone wrong. So I’m trying to figure out what was the worst thing that happened. But there’s too much competition for first place.”

Call them what you will: Misfortunes or mishaps, troubles or trials, adversities or afflictions. They are part of all of our lives and no one is immune to them.

But some seem to get through them, over them or around them better than others. Does their strength come from a superior source? Do they have a resource to call upon that is unavailable to the rest of us?

There is a story of the men of Judah standing before the Lord with their little ones. Suddenly, the spirit of the Lord came on one of the men. The message that came to him to give to the others was simple: “Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. Go out there tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!”

All Christians have God’s Spirit in them Who can work through them. If we stand firm in our faith and ask for God’s help, He will fight the battle for us and triumph.

Prayer: Lord, when adversity tries to stare us down, may we look up to You to save and sustain us. Amen.

Scripture: 2 Chronicles 20:13-17

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Straight Lines Or Stray Lines?

The class was asked to draw a picture of the home where they lived. Bobbie quickly began his work and was finished before everyone else.

Noticing that he had completed his assignment, his teacher came to review his picture.

“Bobbie,” she said as she pointed to his paper, “the roof line isn’t straight.”

“No, it isn’t,” he admitted, “but that doesn’t matter. I can fix that later.”

Respectfully she picked up his drawing and said carefully, “A straight line never needs to be fixed!”

How easy it is to live life in a hurry, leaving many crooked lines behind us. We convince ourselves that we’ll correct them later on. Often we leave things undone or incomplete, thinking there is always another day, another time, another place, another opportunity to do things right.

But the Christian must always attempt to do the right things right - the first time. That’s why God has given us His Word. In it, we find the directions on how He expects us to live and the promise that He is with us personally. And that promise assures us that He will give us the strength and power to live according to His rules and not need to make unnecessary corrections.

Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to follow all of Your rules and principles with all my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Psalm 119:30-38

Monday, December 27, 2010

Review And Renew

Jeanie was hurrying into the ice cream store, one of her special places. At the door, her pastor greeted her with a warm smile. “What are you going to get?” he asked.

“A chocolate milkshake!” she relied.

“Have you ever thought about giving that money to our church instead of buying ice cream?” he asked.

“Yes,” she replied quickly. “But I’ll just get the ice cream and let the people who own the store give the money to the church. That way they can get the credit for giving it to God.”

Many of us place a great value on things that have no lasting value, eternally speaking. Our hobbies and habits, pleasures and pastimes often interfere with what really matters. “Let’s let others do things for God.”

With a stroke of his pen Peter gives us a stern warning: “Since everything around us will one day be dissolved or disappear, what kind of lives should you be living?”

It is easy to live in the present and not focus on our future with the Lord. But we must plan for the day when we will be living in the presence of God. Let’s carefully review this year and plan wisely for the next.

Prayer: We ask Lord, that You will direct our minds and hearts to seek the things that are eternal. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Approaching Retirement

During a company planning meeting, the president asked the personnel director, “How many employees do we have that are approaching retirement?”

“All of them, sir,” was the reply. Then he continued, “We have no one going in the opposite direction.”

Life on earth is fleeting. We look back on years past and recall doing the same things that children do today - playing favorite games and enjoying special events. Suddenly we find ourselves grown and aging, facing the same problems and issues that all elderly folk do. In what seems like a passing moment, the gray hair begins to appear, wrinkles develop almost overnight and erase the smooth skin of youth.

We get closer to eternity with every beat of our hearts. As someone had inscribed on their tombstone, “I expected this, but not quite so soon.”

That is why God has made it possible for us to live forever in eternity with Him. Through His Son, He bought eternal life for each of us. What greater gift can He offer us. “God so loved...that He gave...that we might have...eternal life!”

Prayer: Father, help us to realize the shortness of life, the certainty of death and the gift of eternal life through Your Son, our Savior. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Hebrews 9:27-28

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Anywhere You Choose

A tourist traveling through a small mountain town stopped for gas. Sitting near the entrance to the store was a man watching his every move. Wanting to be friendly, he asked, “Is your town famous for anything?”

“Oh yes,” came the quick reply. “You can go anywhere from here.”

One of the final statements of Jesus to His followers was the Great Commission. “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

The last words anyone speaks or writes may be the most important for us to hear. Certainly, these words of Jesus are. He expected everyone, everywhere to hear the Gospel. What He did was for whoever, wherever; then, now and tomorrow.

Wherever we are, no matter what we are doing, we are “commissioned” to make disciples. It is not an option for us to consider. It is our obligation to fulfill.

While we may not see ourselves as evangelists, we are directed by our Savior to evangelize. God has given each of skills and abilities to serve Him and win the lost. As we accept this responsibility, we can take comfort in the fact that He is always with us, even to the end. We can take His message “anywhere from here.”

Prayer: Help us, Father, to be faithful, obedient witnesses to Your Word, taking Your Message to the world. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Scripture: Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Excuse The Interruption

A science teacher was reviewing the previous days reading assignment. “Class, I want someone to explain to me what happens when your body is immersed in water.”

From the back of the room, one student smartly replied, “The phone rings!”

Interruptions! We can allow them to be an irritation to our plans or an opportunity to serve God.
Wherever Jesus went He was constantly interrupted by individuals needing something. Once while Jesus was traveling from Jericho to Jerusalem, He was approached by one of the many beggars who existed by pleading for help. The beggar called to Jesus for “mercy” and when Jesus heard his cry, He invited him into His presence. When Jesus asked him what he wanted he simply said, “I want to see.” And Jesus replied, “Go. Your faith has healed you.”

Often when we are “on our way and doing our thing” people interrupt us for one thing or another. When it is someone we care for or one whom we feel deserves our attention, we gladly pause and offer help.

It is easy to overlook those who are beneath us or undeserving. But when we understand the fullness of God’s love to us, we welcome the opportunity to serve.

Prayer: Lord, help us to do what You would do when we have an opportunity to help others. In Your name, Amen.

Scripture: Mark 10:46-52

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Group Photo

It was her first day at her new job. Her boss spent several hours acquainting her with all of the company policies and procedures. Finally he thought is was time to talk about himself so she would know what kind of person he was.

He spoke proudly of his successes as an athlete. Then he talked at great length of his ability as a dancer. After dancing came the lengthy description of his outstanding career in sales, winning every company award. Finally he described his military experience, detailing every duty station and assignment. He talked more about himself than her job.

Finally, when he ended his bragging she asked, “Have you ever had a group photograph taken of yourself?”

Pride is the result of thinking too highly of one’s self. It is being overly concerned with what we have accomplished, believing that we are not getting the recognition that we deserve. What matters most is not the recognition we get from others, but from the Lord. It is far better to be honored by God for being faithful to His Word, blessed by serving Him in silence or humbly obeying His every command than being praised in the largest assembly the world has ever known.

Prayer: Help, me Lord, to clothe myself with humility, so that my life is all about You, not me. Amen.

Scripture: 1 Peter 5:5, 6

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Wonderful Dog

Each night in his prayers, young James prayed for a dog. One day a dog followed him home from school and he thought it was the answer to his prayers. “Mom,” he said joyously, “didn’t God give me a wonderful dog?”

Shaking her head, his mother responded, “No! He’s nothing but a flea-bitten bag of bones that smells awful.”

Putting his arms around the dog’s neck he said in a loving voice, “But, Mom, look how beautifully he wags his tail.”

Most individuals determine beauty by physical characteristics or traits. “It’s what’s on the outside that counts,” is what many would say. Early in life we are taught what is attractive and what is not and to recognize and honor the external. But God sees things differently.

Fortunately for us, the Lord does not make decisions the way we do. He judges us by our faith and character, purity and humility. First and foremost He looks on the inside and sees us as we actually are. That is why I need to spend more time with Him. Everyone sees my outside, but only the two us, me and God, can see my heart. What do you and God see in your heart.

Prayer: Lord, You have saved me to reflect the beauty of Christ to others in this world. May my life always be attractive to others because of You. Amen.

Scripture: 1 Samuel 16:7

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Growth Is A Choice

The Japanese bonsai is a beautiful but small tree. Most grow no larger than eighteen inches tall.

The California sequoia is beautiful but large. Some grow over 275 feet tall.

When the young bonsai peeks its small head above the ground, its caretakers tie the taproot and its growth is stunted. Its size is limited by design. The sequoia, on the other hand, has a different destiny. Its growth is stimulated by the minerals in the soil, the rain and the sun. The bonsai and the sequoia have no choice in determining their growth. But we do.

In writing his second letter to the young churches, Peter begins and ends his message encouraging believers to “grow” in the special favor and knowledge that comes from knowing their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He reminds them that they can know Him better and grow into His likeness.

No matter where we are in our spiritual journey, no matter how long we have been walking with the Lord, no matter what level of spiritual maturity we have achieved in our faith, there is still room for growth. We will always be challenged by matters that relate to our faith. But we will always have the opportunity to grow.

Prayer: Father, let us realize that the choice to grow into Your likeness is ours. May we choose to become more like You each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

Monday, December 13, 2010

What's In A Name?

At the end of the War Between the States, General Robert E. Lee was without a job. He was presented with two offers that had received his attention more than all the others. One offer was from a small college that could only assure him of a salary that would meet his basic needs. The other offer was from a great insurance company that would provide him with a large salary.

When this offer was presented to him, he was told by the leaders of the insurance company, “You really won’t need to work. We just want your name.”

“But,” Lee protested, “my name’s not for sale!”

Lee decided to accept the presidency of the college and he led Washington College into becoming one of the greatest educational institutions of his day. At his death they renamed it Washington and Lee University.

We find some great advice in the Book of Proverbs. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.” Though wisdom may enable a person to achieve much prosperity, the rewards that matter most come from righteousness and kindness. In the end, they have more value than all the wealth in the world.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach us to make wise decisions that always honor You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Do Dollars Make A Difference?

DO DOLLARS MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
A banker was stopped by a beggar who convinced him that he was worth some money. After giving him $10.00, the beggar said, “I envy you!”

“Why? I have my troubles, too,” said the banker.

“Yes,” said the beggar, “you may have some troubles. But I ain’t got nothin’ else.”

It is good to have money. It is neither good nor bad - but something we can use to acquire the things of life. It can buy us many objects that are enjoyable and make life comfortable.

Nor does God want us to live without money. But He does warn us about falling in love with money because of what the love of money can do to our spirituality. Loving money can erode our dependence on Him and bring an attitude of greed and envy into our lives. When this happens, we become slaves to a never-ending desire to accumulate things that are an end in themselves. We learn from God’s Word that money is to be used to honor God, not take His place.

Money cannot buy us the hope that we have in Christ, the peace that comes from God or the comfort of the Holy Spirit that warms our hearts and can change our lives.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to trust You to meet our every need through the riches of Christ. In Your name, Amen.

Scripture: Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Importance Of Encouragement

Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play for a major league baseball team. Although he eventually became highly respected for his many accomplishments, he had a difficult time breaking the “color-barrier.” Wherever he played, he had to prove himself again and again. The crowds enjoyed jeering him game after game.

Once while playing in a critical game, he committed an error. The fans immediately began to boo and ridicule him. Standing at second base, tears filled his eyes.

Suddenly, Pee Wee Reese walked over to where he was standing and put his arm around him, and faced the crowd. Suddenly the booing and jeering ended.

Later, Jackie Robinson said, “That arm around my shoulder saved my career!”

When “e” is placed next to “n” it forms “en” - which means “to give to” or “to cause.” And when we put the letters before “courage” it means that we “give to” or “cause” others to have courage. When we encourage others we show them understanding and compassion, and give them inspiration and strength, hope and help.

Prayer: Lord, all around us are the beaten and broken, discouraged and downhearted. Give us no peace until we comfort their pain. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Acts 11:23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"I Forgive You!"

There are certain missionaries who are well known for certain strengths or accomplishments. Some are known for their work or witness. Others are known for translating Scripture, some for being martyred.

Corrie ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, were known for being prisoners of war in the concentration camp at Ravensbruck. While there, they were brutally beaten and shamefully treated. But they endured, were released and returned to serving the Lord.

One evening after speaking to a large audience a man approached her. She recalled the man rather vividly. Immediately she recognized him as the guard who treated her very cruelly.

“I was a guard at Ravensbruck,” he said, with head bowed. “But I have become a Christian. God has forgiven me, but will you?”

Weeping she said, “I forgive you with all my heart!”

Forgiveness is both horizontal and vertical. It is not only something that God grants us, but something He expects us to grant to others. God forgives because of Who He is, not who we are. If we are truly forgiven, then we will be willing to forgive others.

Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to show our gratefulness for Your forgiveness by forgiving others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Secret Of Sin

A famous author, known for his skepticism, accepted an invitation to attend a revival meeting. At the end of the sermon the speaker extended an invitation for individuals to accept Christ and turn from their sins. His friend asked if he wanted to turn from his sins to the Savior.

Immediately he responded, “No. I like my sins. I enjoy them!” Sadly, he echoes the feelings of many.

God has given each of us the power of choice. In doing so, we are free to choose between two masters: sin or Jesus Christ. Each “master” has a plan for our lives. One Master assures us of the presence and power of Christ in our lives, knowing that He is with us and for us, protecting us and giving us His peace and comfort in troubled times. He also gives us His Word that we will be with Him throughout eternity, where we will rejoice in the glory of God’s grace and mercy.

The other master gives his followers a gift as well. It is the gift of enslavement - a gift that takes away our freedom and the right to an abundant life. The Bible tells us that sin is a sickness of the soul that leads to physical and spiritual destruction, eventually death and eternal damnation.

We have a choice to make: Life or death.

Prayer: Father, open our hearts to accept Your Son to become our Savior, In His Name, Amen.

Scripture: Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's As Big As We Want It To Be!

He was deeply in love with his fiancée, and saved as much money he could to buy her a beautiful engagement ring. Finally, he took his savings to the jeweler and bought the biggest diamond he could afford.

As he presented it to her he said, “I’m sorry dear, that is it not bigger. It’s all that I had.”

“It’s perfect,” she shouted in her excitement. “It is as big as we make it!”

What a beautiful response. Sincerity is much more important than size, and thoughtfulness more than any “thing.” Size had nothing to do with our salvation. Our salvation depended on Someone’s sacrifice.

If we want more from God, we must give more to God. That’s His way. And He invites us to make His way, our way. “Give and it will be given to you,” Jesus said.

When we share our time, He will increase our talents so we can do more. When we share our treasures, He will make up the difference - and then some. When we share our strength, He will enable us reach far beyond the limits we place on ourselves. But we must give in faith, believing and trusting that He will provide for our every need in ways we never imagined.

Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to have enough faith to trust, knowing that You will never fail us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Colossians 3:14-25

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Not My Fault

“How did you happen to hit the other car?” the judge asked sternly.

“Well, Your Honor,” the defendant replied timidly, “it’s actually my wife’s fault. She always tells me how to drive and she happened to fall asleep in the back seat and no one told me where I was supposed to drive.”

Blaming others for our mistakes is as old as history. It started with Adam and Eve and continues to this day. When God asked Adam about his sin, he immediately blamed Eve. Then, Eve blamed the serpent. Not only did Adam blame Eve, but he even included God in his defense. “It was the woman You gave me that made me do it.” Eve followed by saying, “The serpent tricked me and that’s why I ate it.” Ever since then, “the devil made me do it” is our defense.

God knew the truth then and He knows the truth now. He did not accept their excuses then and He will not accept our excuses now. His Word clearly says, “Each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

Whoever excuses himself accuses himself. Whenever we break God’s laws and sin, we must be ready to admit what we have done and confess our sin to God. For “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us!”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, trouble our minds and convict our hearts of our sins. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Scripture: Genesis 3:8-19

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advance!

During the Civil War a young officer went to his superior and said, “I can’t get my men to come to the line of battle and engage the enemy.”

“Never mind,” said the general, “let them stay where they are. The enemy will advance soon and engage them.”

Peter gives us a frightening picture of our adversary, the devil. He portrays him as “a roaring lion, prowling about, seeking for someone to devour.” The picture that Peter uses here suggests that the devil is looking for Christians who are young or abandoned, alone or asleep. He would have us to be very aware of dangers we face through the temptations of the devil.

There are always times in our lives when we are especially vulnerable to his attack. He knows when we are lonely and discouraged, frightened and isolated from friends and loved ones.

Again Peter advises us to “resist him!” God will give us the power to resist him if we stand firm in our faith.

When Jesus was tempted by the devil He did not argue or reason. He turned to the promises of His heavenly Father and used them to reject the power of the evil one. Trusting in His Word and using it to fight the temptations of Satan will assure our victory over him.

No matter how powerful the temptation may be we can overcome it. God will always provide us with a way out. When we are faced with temptation, we must turn our eyes to Jesus, our minds to Scripture and our hearts over to God.

Prayer: Father, comfort us with the assurance of Your faithfulness, fortify us with Your Word, and fill us with Your Spirit that we may overcome temptation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Scoring or Scrapping?

A professional hockey star was known not only for his ability to score goals but for his short fuse and hot temper. It seemed as though he got into a fight in every game.

One day his small daughter asked, “Daddy, how can you score goals when you are always in the penalty box?”

Good question, isn’t it. We all seem to place ourselves in a “penalty box” when we lose control of our tempers and harm others.

Self-control is an important part of everyone’s life. It is our ability to manage our behavior, especially when we are threatened and act from impulse or emotions.

We cannot blame others for those moments when rage rules. Each of us is responsible for our actions and behaviors, our choices and decisions.

However, it may be time to realize that there is something beyond self-control. God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us and guard us. God has given us His Spirit to live a life under His control. No matter what others may say about us or do to us, we have the power through Him to do what is right, say what is right, live as Jesus did. God has given us all the tools that we need to avoid the “penalty box.”

The gift of “Spirit control” will always put us in the best possible light to reflect His glory and keep us from responding foolishly.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to wiling give up our self-control to become Spirit-controlled. We know that You can and will give us victory over ourselves if we but surrender to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 56:3-4

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Show Me A Better Way!"

The editor of a newspaper was working furiously to meet a deadline. In his haste he knocked his faithful typewriter from his desk and it fell on his foot. The burst of pain caused him to begin swearing and take the Lord’s name in vain. In the middle of his cursing, his pastor walked in.

“John,” said the pastor, “you should not swear like that. It’s not right.”

“Reverend,” he asked, “if it’s not right, would you teach me a better way?”

God’s Word teaches us that we must never use His name “in vain,” meaning that it is wrong for anyone to ask God to damage or destroy someone on their behalf. When we use His name in vain we are calling on Him to use His power to harm someone we are resentful of. It is asking God to use His strength or might in a way that is inconsistent with His very nature and being.

Whenever we use God’s name, it should be for a particular purpose. In particular, we are to call upon Him when we worship Him and praise His name. When we go to Him in prayer and call on Him for help, healing, guidance, strength or encouragement, we must remember that we are speaking with the Creator.

Whenever we hear someone using God’s name in vain we would do well to pause and pray for them. How anyone uses His name let’s us know of their relationship with Him – even you and I.

Prayer: Lord, Your name is stamped on every cell of our body and whatever we see in Your creation. May I carefully and prayerfully use and respect Your name whenever it crosses my lips or enters my mind. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

Scripture: Exodus 20:7 You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's In A Name?

A known drug dealer in New York was arrested for selling heroin. His name was Archie Outlaw. While out on bail he decided to have his name changed, believing that it might make the judge give him a lighter sentence.

“I’d like to have my name changed,” he said to an attorney.

“What name would you prefer?” asked the attorney.

“Sir,” replied Archie Outlaw, “please change it to Archie Bylaw, Archie Lawman or Archie Inlaw. Maybe Archie D’Law!”

We cannot become a new person with a new identity simply by changing our name. It is more than a name, it is our nature, that controls what we do. And if we want a change of nature, it takes more than a change of our name - it takes the Lord.

When we accept Christ as our Savior, we become new persons with a change that starts on the inside and works its way outward. Only the Holy Spirit can give us a new life. When that happens, we are not the same “old persons” anymore. We are not persons who have been reformed, but as Paul puts it, we are persons who are transformed into a “new creation.” When we become a “new creation” we begin a new life in Christ, we live with His power within and have a living, vital relationship with Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, create in us a clear heart that leads to a godly life. May our new nature reveal a new way of living that pleases You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What Matters Most

A man lost control of his vehicle as he was going around a sharp turn. The car crashed through the guardrail and ended down a steep embankment. The car was damaged beyond repair and as they were removing him from the wreckage he sobbed, “Oh, my new Cadillac. It's destroyed!”

“Never mind the car,” said a member of the rescue team, “think of your arm. It’s gone!”

“Oh, no,” he cried loudly, “I’ve lost my Rolex, too!”

How quickly we can become deceived by what the world values. And what the world values, as someone has put it, has a “shelf-life” – an expected life span. Whatever we see before us or around us will someday be gone. So, the warning of Jesus is: “If you live for God and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern, Your Father – Who already knows what you need, will provide for everything you need.”

Too often we set our sights on the things of this world believing that they will bring us happiness or satisfaction. Every day we see people who seem to “have it all” yet are miserable and unfulfilled.

God wants to have the “primary” place in our lives. He wants our thoughts to be filled with His wisdom and insight so that our lives will reflect His will and way.

Prayer: We pray, Father, that we will have enough faith and trust in You that we will set our priorities in order with worshiping and serving You at the top. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 6:31-34

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Two In One"

Walking through a cemetery late one evening, an intoxicated man fell across a tombstone. Lying there he saw the inscription that read: “Here lies a business man and a great Christian gentleman.”

“My word!” he exclaimed, “They’ve buried two guys in one grave.”

What a tragic opinion for someone to have about Christians. It is unfortunate that some who are followers of Christ do not live Christlike lives.

God expects us to be His light in His world – a light that reflects His goodness, grace and glory, a light that shines in darkness as a beacon in stormy weather, a lamp on a dimly lit street. We are to be a light that sends forth His brightness so the world can see a clear representation of Him.

As His light, we have a great responsibility that is not easy to fulfill. And being His light may be something we would rather not be. But like it or not that is what we are as people of His Kingdom. We must never be timid about being His light even though we may be criticized when our light in dimmed by worldly activities. Instead, we need to stop, thank Him for the warning and clean the lens so people can follow us to where He would have them to go.

Our faith in God must enhance and involve every area of life. When we sincerely worship Him it will be reflected in our work and our walk. As His light, we must demonstrate integrity and honesty, understanding and thoughtfulness, a willingness to share and a spirit to encourage.

Prayer: Lord, help us to realize that we are Your light in this world. May we realize that we are like a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. Help us to be faithful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What To Live Without

A young lady was bragging to her girlfriends about her good fortune. “I have two handsome men who want to marry me, and I can’t decide which one to choose. I can live with either of them!”

One of her friends wisely said, “Your job is to determine which one of them you can’t live without.”

Everyone has a decision to make: Will we accept or reject Christ as our Savior.

When we choose to accept Him and the life He has to offer, we settle our eternal destiny. Once we have accepted Him as our Savior our life will be different. When we turn from our sin to the Savior, we are given the power to live an abundant life that is satisfying and fulfilling and one that pleases and honors God.

Sin is not a defect in our personality but a disease that destroys us. Sin is not an attitude or an accident, but a decision to turn against God. Sin is not a mistake but a willing rebellion against God laws. God’s Word says that “the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are eternally grateful to You for giving us the opportunity to choose life through Your Son, Jesus Christ. We ask that You will become the Master in our lives and keep us from sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Make Someone Happy

The famous comedian, Jimmy Durante, was doing his best to meet the deadlines in a tight schedule. While traveling from one location to another, someone asked him to visit a Veteran’s Hospital. He agreed to do so, however, he emphasized that he would only be able to spare a few minutes.

He began his visit with a short monologue. The vets were thrilled and applauded loudly. The more he entertained, the louder the applause. He was thoroughly enjoying himself and forgot about the time. He stayed much longer than he had intended. Finally, he took his last bow.

Knowing of his schedule, someone asked, “What happened?”

“I was supposed to leave much sooner,” he said. “But look at those two vets in the front row. I couldn’t let them down.”

One of the men had lost his right arm and the other his left. Left to themselves, they were incomplete. But together they were able to clap. And this they did wildly and happily. It was a moment of great happiness for the comedian and the vets. Unfortunately, it did not last.

For the Christian, however, it can be a permanent condition if our hearts are right with God.

Real happiness is ours when we have a right relationship with God. Regardless of what we may be facing, we can be happy in the Lord knowing that He will never leave us nor forsake us, and that one day we will be with Him. Forever.

Prayer: Father, give us Your peace that passes all understanding and brings joy and happiness to our lives. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 68:3 But let the righteous be glad; Let them rejoice before God; Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Proud To Be Humble

A tourist visiting a monastery was impressed with the daily routine of the monks. Awakening at dawn, they would pray for hours, eat little food, spend time alone meditating and reading their Bibles or labor on their farm. Curious about the nature their mission, he asked one of the monks to explain how they were different from the other monastic orders.

“Well,” said the monk, “when it comes to learning, we don’t compare with the Jesuits. When it comes to good works, we’re no match for the Franciscans. But when it comes to humility, we’re at the top!”

It is inappropriate for Christians to attempt to appear humble and downplay the gifts that God has given them. God has endowed each of us with certain gifts that are unique to us. We must accept them graciously, develop them to their fullest, and use them to the glory of God.

If we want to grasp the meaning of humility we must look to our Lord and Savior. Here is one Who was with God and equal to God, but willingly laid it aside. He lived a selfless life of service to others and then suffered a horrible death on the cross for our salvation. In humility He accomplished His Father’s plan doing whatever He could to reflect in word and deed His love.

Pride comes naturally, but not humility. When we do difficult things in a gracious, loving and caring manner – as Jesus did – we are living godly humility.

Prayer: Father, we often pray to be humble not wanting to accept our responsibility to be humble. Grant us a willing heart to set ourselves aside. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Scripture: 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wishful Thinking

During her bedtime prayers, little Lisa was thanking Jesus for all of the good things that happened to her that day. Then she prayed for each member of the family. Just before her “Amen” she said, “And please, dear Jesus, make six plus seven equal eleven.”

“Why?” her mother asked.

“Because,” she said, “if it’s not, I’m going to fail my math test.”

There are many different ideas and opinions on the subject of prayer. But what the Bible says about prayer is very simple. We can pray when standing, sitting, kneeling, walking, running or waiting in traffic. Whether in carefully chosen words or short stubby sentences, deep sounding tones or shrill cries, God hears us. Where, when and how does not matter. Who and why does.

We must always remember that God does indeed hear each one of us. We must also remember that He will respond in a way that is designed specifically for every prayer that we offer to Him. If the answer does not come quickly, remember how precious it is to have the opportunity to speak directly with the Creator.

When the answer does not meet our expectations, it may mean that we need to align our prayers with His will. Often we may have to wait awhile for something that is far better than we ever imagined. When He is silent, it may be that He wants us to keep on praying and learn the art of trusting in His wisdom.

Prayer: Lord, Your Word assures us that You will listen to us whenever we call upon You. We thank You for this precious privilege, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: 1 John 5:14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

Friday, November 12, 2010

How Thoughtful!

It was a perfect day to go ice skating.

Donald and his sister Kate decided that they would go to the local lake and spend a few hours skating with their friends. However, the family only had one pair of skates. Upon their arrival, Donald insisted that his sister go first while he watched.

A stranger noting this seeming act of kindness said, “You were gracious, son, to let your sister skate before you did. Not many young men would do that.”

“Thanks very much,” he answered, “but I just wanted to make sure the ice was thick enough to skate on.”

Most of us would consider Donald as being “self-centered.” But for the Christian, it is more than being self-centered – it is being “off-centered.”

Paul reminds us that the Christian is to be “other-centered.” To do this we must become sensitive to the needs of others. We must seize every opportunity to help support those who are struggling in their walk with the Lord. We must always behave in a way that encourages others and share the strength that God has given us.

We must always remember that our salvation is not earned by doing good deeds. However, we must never forget that our salvation is inseparably connected to Christian responsibility and therefore strive to set a good example for others.

Prayer: Lord, help me to consider what I might do to when I see others who may be having a difficult time with life. Open my eyes to see, my hands to serve and my prayers to support those for whom You died. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Is It Knowing Or Is It Doing?

A young salesman saw a farmer sitting on his porch. He sat down next to him and began to talk excitedly.

“This book,” said the salesman, “will tell you everything you need to know about farming. It tells you when to plant and when to harvest.”

“Young man,” interrupted the farmer, “those aren’t my problems. I know all there is to know about farming. My problem is in the doing.”

Most of us know more than is necessary to begin serving our Lord with enthusiasm. We sit comfortably and quietly Sunday after Sunday listening and learning. But when it comes to doing, we begin to wonder if we can do what God wants us to do.

Whatever God calls us to do comes with the resources to do it. When we trust in Him, believe in His power and understand His presence within us, all that remains for us is “the doing.”

As in farming, so in living a Christ-exalting life. God’s Guidebook, the Bible, tells us what to believe and how to behave, when to reach out and when to reach up.

If there are times when we feel unable or unworthy, inadequate or incomplete it may be His Spirit suggesting that we have gone beyond what He would have us to do. He does not expect us to do everything. But He does expect us to do something!

God has a purpose and plan for each of us. Jesus said, “If you know what to do, blessed and happy are you if you practice them!”

Prayer: Lord, all around me are people who are hurting and hopeless, in danger and distress. Open my eyes to see them and my ears to hear their cry. Amen.

Scripture: John 13:17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tested To Triumph

When I was a boy, my mother arranged for me to take violin lessons.

Each year my teacher would schedule concerts for his students. He saw it as an opportunity to encourage and challenge them to do their best.

On one occasion my teacher said, “Please hand me your violin. I want to teach you how to make it beautiful.” I watched as he brought a shine to the fine wood. Then he said, “If you leave it overnight, I will put new strings on it so it will sound as beautiful as it looks. You will be proud to play before the crowd.”

The next day I went to his studio, picked up the violin and began to play it. What a difference the new strings made. Over time, the old strings had lost their strength and could not bring to life the music that was in the instrument.

Years later while going through a difficult time in my life, my mother said to me, “Do you remember the time when your violin teacher tested the strings and decided that they needed to be replaced? This difficult time is the Lord testing you so that you will become a more beautiful and useful Christian.”

Peter said that we will have to suffer all kinds of trials if our faith is to become genuine and result in our praising and honoring God.

Prayer: We thank You, Father, that You love us enough to test us to bring out the best in us. Increase our trust in You, knowing that someday we will become complete in You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture: 1 Peter 5:7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"That's Jesus Knocking!"

There was a nurse on the children’s ward who enjoyed letting the children listen to their hearts through a stethoscope.

On one occasion she put the ends of a stethoscope into the ears of a small boy and placed the disc over his heart and asked, “What do you hear?”

“It’s Jesus knocking!” he said.

One cannot help but wonder if a faithful Sunday school teacher taught him about Jesus standing at the door of our hearts and asking to be admitted into our lives. And what a staggering thought that is: the creator of the universe and all that man has or ever will discover is knocking gently, hoping earnestly that we will willingly enter into a loving relationship with Him that will last through eternity.

Often we do not hear Him “knocking” on our heart’s door. We become insensitive and indifferent to the many ways He tries to enter our lives. It is easy to go days without reading His Word. Without realizing what is happening we can fill the hours of the day without stopping to worship or praise Him. We might even forget to pray unless there is an emergency.

But it does not matter to Him. He stands there as though ours was the only heart in the world and He will stand there as long as He can, waiting for us to invite Him in.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your patience and persistence, Your longing to come into our hearts and control our lives. Help us to recognize Your presence and open the door to Your salvation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Is It Money Or Is It The Man?

A famous violinist was scheduled for a concert in Houston, Texas. It was announced that he would perform using a violin crafted by Stradivarius that cost thousands of dollars.

At the end of the concert, he took the violin and smashed it to pieces. The crowd was stunned.

Calmly he said, “This is not the Stradivarius. I purchased it last night for $98.00. It was not the quality of the instrument that made the beautiful music, but the quality of the musician.”

When writing to the Christians in Rome, Paul urged them to “present” their entire beings as a living and holy sacrifice to God. To Paul it was completely reasonable because of Christ’s sacrifice for them!

There are times when all of us think that God cannot use us because the tasks we face are so large and we seem so small. That is true. Unless we willingly give all that we are and have to God, we cannot be the person He desires us to be or do the things that He has planned for us.

God wants us to be like the clay in the hands of a potter – clay that He can shape as He sees best for His use. God wants us to be holy and wholly surrender to Him for His service. Peter says it best, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He way exalt you at the proper time.”

Prayer: Father, I ask that Your Holy Spirit will reveal to me the parts of my life that I choose to keep for myself, and through Him, convict me to do whatever it takes to surrender my life completely to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (NIV)

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Name Or A Number?

A census worker was asking a mother some routine questions. Eventually came the question, “How many children do you have?”

“Well,” she began, “there’s Mary, Kenneth, Martha and...”

“Never mind the names,” interrupted the worker, “just the number.”

She protested quickly, “They’ve got names, they’re more than just numbers.”

In the time in which Jesus lived, it was common for families to keep their flocks of sheep in a common sheepfold. Each morning the shepherd would call his sheep to “come follow me.” Each shepherd had a peculiar tone, range of notes or sounds that alerted his sheep to follow him. The sheep knew their master’s voice and the master knew which sheep were his. Each flock had a personal relationship with their shepherd and responded to his call. It may have been a call for a feast of good grass and cool water or a time to gather close because of a dangerous situation. He cared so much for them that he would lay down his life to protect them.

No wonder Jesus referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd. Wherever we look we see numbers that represent something. But whenever Jesus looks for us or at us, He knows us by our name and calls us by that name – the name He has written in the Book of Life!

Prayer: Father, it is so comforting to know that no matter how insignificant I may feel, You know who I am, where I am and what I need. May I always be listening for Your voice and respond when You call. Amen.

Scripture: John 10:3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (NIV)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What Are Your Orders, Sir?

Sir Henry Shackelton was a world famous explorer of the Antarctic. As he was completing the plans for his last expedition, he began to advertise his final journey around the world.

Asked a friend, “Why so much publicity?”

“My friend and colleague, Mr. Wild, has traveled to the deepest, darkest part of Africa,” came the reply. “He left no address, no contact. I wanted the news to reach him. If he knows that I am going, he’ll come with me.”

Shortly after making that statement, his secretary announced, “Wild is here!”

Wild said, “News of your trip reached me in the heart of Africa. Here I am. What are your orders?”

Many years ago there was a great need for people to hear God’s message. It was a time of great moral and spiritual decay. There was one individual who was well established in a respectable career. One day he heard a voice speaking clearly and with compassion. He realized his sinfulness and felt his inadequacy. But he said, “I have seen the King, the Lord almighty.” And after God cleansed him, he heard God’s call and responded by saying, “Lord, I’ll go, send me.”

God is calling on each of us to join Him in a journey to reach those whom He loves and died for – if we will.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, cleanse our hearts, open our ears, and put within us an attitude of willingness to hear Your voice and to willingly follow You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (NIV)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why Not Surprise Me?

A New Yorker bought a burial plot near his home in New York. Tired of the cold, stormy winters, he moved to Florida to retire. Not long after his move, he bought another burial plot.

He became very ill and was told he would not live much longer. His friends, knowing of the two plots asked, “Where do you want to be buried – here or New York?”

In his anguish, he smiled and said, “Surprise me!”

Life is full of surprises – but death is not one of them. Each time we learn of a friend’s death, read the obituaries, attend a funeral, pass a cemetery or watch the news, we are reminded of the uncertainties of life and the reality of death.

God’s Word states that “man is appointed once to die, then comes judgment.” We can be sure of two things: death and judgment. And we can prepare for both. How? By making arrangements with Him in advance.

The Bible says, “Now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation!”

We must first make sure of our salvation and then reach out to those around us – our family and friends – and bring them to Christ. No surprise is the best surprise!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for the assurance of salvation and the promise of eternity with You. Convict us to bring others to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Hebrews 9:27 "Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment." (NIV)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Setting Men Free

A homeless man was arrested in Holland for sleeping in a cemetery. He dug a hole underneath a tombstone and began to live there. When discovered, he was jailed.

The Bible tells of a man who lived among the tombs in Gadara. Day and night he roamed the graves screaming and slashing himself with sharp stones. Fearing the man, the citizens sought to solve the problem by binding him in chains. All attempts failed.

When Jesus saw the man He wanted to free him from the control of the demons. It was the goal of the demons to control the man. It was the goal of Jesus to free the man from sin and Satan’s control. The demons had power over the man but not over Jesus.

It was true then, it is true today. Jesus wants to set us free from the control of Satan and the destruction that he brings into our lives. After the man was set free, the people noticed the change in his life. We are told that he was “fully clothed and completely sane.”

When Christ comes into our lives there will be changes, too. Our lives will reflect the grace and glory of God as we worship, witness and win others to Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we ask that You change our minds and our hearts and bring salvation to our lives through Christ Who can save us from Satan. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Scripture: Mark 5:1-15

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Hasty Exit

Thomas Edison did not like to attend formal dinners. While attending one that was particularly boring to him, he decided to slip away.

As he approached the door, his host noticed him and exclaimed, “It’s a delight to see you Mr. Edison. What are you working on now?”

“My exit!” came the quick reply.

There are times when we run from something and are considered cowardly. However, wise is the person who realizes the importance of physically removing him or herself from temptation.

The temptation to sin is Satan’s main activity in our lives. He takes great pleasure in challenging our selfishness and fleshly appetites. We are reminded in Hebrews that “Because He (Jesus) Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Our faith and commitment to God will be tested frequently and fiercely. When we are faced with the terror of temptation, we need to turn to God in prayer immediately and not let the temptation intensify. We must ask God to take the temptation from us before it becomes too strong and the struggle too intense. God will always give us the strength to resist because His Word assures us “that no temptation comes our way…without a way out,” if we look to Him for an exit.

Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to be aware of and alert of the temptations that Satan brings into our lives. May we, through Your strength and power, overcome them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:13

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Disturbed By The Lord

Everyone was in bed reflecting on the day’s activities before going to sleep. There was a gentle “rapping” that seemed to persist. First, they thought someone was at the door. But no one was there. Puzzled and frightened, they began to search from room to room.

Finally, they found the source. There was a picture of Jesus with His hands outstretched calling people to “Come unto me!” As a fan circulated the air in the room, it caused the picture to move and make the “knocking” sound.

God uses every possible activity to get our attention to hear and heed His voice. Rarely does a day go by that He is does not make Himself obvious to each of us. But He does so in His own way. While we may look for a burning bush, water coming from a rock or a sea parting, He often speaks in a “still, small voice.”

Isaiah said, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, This is the way, walk in it.” God is doing everything He can to get our attention. Has He already given us the answers that we need but refuse to accept?

Too often we put the problem on God when it is our problem. We cannot expect to hear His voice or find His path if we are unavailable or unaware. “Surely you will find me when You seek me with all your heart.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, lead us and guide us, instruct us and protect us, provide for us and nourish us as we walk in Your path and follow Your Word. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Scripture: Isaiah 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." (NIV)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Wife Fell Asleep

A man was appearing before a judge because of an automobile accident. “How did you happen to hit the other car?” he asked.

“Your honor, it was my wife’s fault,” he answered. “She fell asleep in the back seat.”’

This was not a new defense. Adam was the first man to blame his wife for his wrongdoing. When God asked him why he was hiding, and why he disobeyed God, he said, “The woman You gave me, brought me the fruit, and I ate it.” When that didn’t work, he said, “The serpent tricked me.”

Things have not changed much, have they? No one wants to be accountable when they have done something wrong. We think that if we can hide something, the guilt will go away. God saw Adam and Eve and He sees you and me. It seems foolish to think that we can hide from God.

God created us to have fellowship with Him. When Adam and Eve realized they had sinned, they hid from Him. When we realize our sins and recognize the holiness of God, it is natural to want to become invisible. Our normal response is fear because we know that we have failed to live up to His standards of righteousness.

We need to admit our sin. By His grace and because of His mercy, His love is forever drawing us to Him and we can restore the relationship with Him that He wanted us to have.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to accept Your grace and mercy through Jesus Christ and may we live forever in a right relationship with You. Amen.

Scripture: Genesis 3:8-19

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"I'm His Best Friend!"

Three men were discussing a mutual acquaintance. Their sharp tongues shredded his reputation.

One of them sighed, “You don’t know the man as well as I do!”

“Oh yes I do,” countered another. “I’m his best friend!”

It is nice to have acquaintances. But deep within us God has planted a craving, a real need for true, authentic friends.

When we are at our worst or our weakest, we need someone who will help and not hurt, care and not condemn. Someone who is merciful, someone who is not calloused but compassionate, someone who knows us inside and out and accepts us as we are, as God does.

The Bible says, “A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes.” Friendship is important to God for we find many references to it in His Word. He also encourages us to hold fast to our friends and to protect them in times of adversity.

We have all had those “friends” in life who have let us down, spoken unkindly of us, were not there for us when we needed them. Since Scripture speaks of friendship as a significant part of life, and since we know the importance of friendship, perhaps we can seek out the lonely and unloved and become a true Christian friend to them as Christ has done for us.


Prayer: Lord, help us to be to others as You are to us: someone who is loyal, trusting, honest, willing to listen and help, and never beyond reach. In Your Name, Amen.



Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Monday, October 25, 2010

Attitude Is Everything

Two farmers were talking about their crops. Said one, “Aren’t you just thrilled over the large healthy crop of potatoes this year?”

“Not really,” came the reply. “It’s plenty good, but now we don’t have the bad ones to feed the pigs.”

Often we deceive ourselves into believing that we are not good enough for God to love. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we are incapable of achieving the opportunities that God has given us.

There are times when we face a situation and everything appears to be going against us. That is exactly the time we need to realize that God is in that very situation and that one thing is always right: He loves us in all places and at all times. We need to cultivate an unshakeable confidence in God, believing that He can lighten every load, brighten every dark corner and straighten out any path He calls us to travel.

As Christians, we can develop a “faith-filled attitude.” He can and will change us from the inside out. We can develop a new way of looking at life, a new way of thinking about life and a new way of living life. We can look at life through His eyes and discover the goodness He wants to share with us.

Prayer: Father, may we learn to look at everything in life through Your eyes, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, find encouragement and opportunity to honor and serve You. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

Scripture: Philippians 4:4-6

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where Or Who?

During the first Gulf War, a platoon of British soldiers became lost in the desert. Some were wounded and all were weary from the endless hours of combat. Finally they saw someone standing on a mound looking at a battle through a pair of binoculars. They struggled to approach him and finally made it.

“Do you know where we are?” asked a soldier, not recognizing the American general.

Condescendingly, he demanded, “Do you know who I am?”

Exclaimed one of the Britishers, “Can you believe this? We’ve got a real problem. He does't know who he is, and we don't know where we are!”

Jesus told parables about things being lost. There is the lost sheep that is rescued, a woman’s lost coin that is found, the prodigal son “who was lost and now is found.” When Jesus spoke of being lost it was always being lost spiritually, separated from God.

Being lost is the most critical problem everyone faces. But the problem can be solved. Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Those few words summarize the entire mission for Jesus. He came to find us and bring us back to our Heavenly Father that we might be at home with Him.

Do you know where you are?

Prayer: Father, I thank You for coming to find me and for wanting to be my Savior. I ask that You forgive me, save me and give me life everlasting. In Your Name, Amen.

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? (NIV)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

His Evidence Is Everywhere

A small child was fishing with his grandfather. Suddenly in a burst of excitement he asked, “Grandpa, can anyone see God?”

Thinking for a moment he answered, “Son, it's getting so that I can't see anything but God.”

Looking at the beauty of nature, we see the handiwork of God and are reminded that He is creator and Lord of all of life.

When I loose a loved one, I realize that He is a Friend that is much closer than a brother, and in my pain I find His comfort and compassion.

When I am filled with fear, I know that I can turn to Him as my refuge.

When I feel oppressed or overwhelmed, insignificant or insufficient, I know that my Savior has all the strength I need.

When I feel that my life is a shambles, I know that He can put it back together and that He will not give up on me.

When I feel that I have come to the end of my rope, He makes me aware that nothing is impossible with Him.

As sure as God is my Heavenly Father, I know that His presence and power, His grace and goodness, His majesty and might are with me now and will be in eternity. We will never be separated from Him and His love.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we truly believe that You are ever-present, never-failing, all-powerful and all-sufficient. May we trust You for all that we need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 19

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stretch!

Rubber bands appear worthless until they are stretched. They remain quiet but ready. They come in different sizes and shapes waiting for various types of assignments. Some are thick, some are thin, some are small and some are large. All are designed for specific uses. However, a rubber band is worthless until it is stretched to its limit. Then it will hold things together, keep things orderly and bring chaos under control.

We cannot accomplish God’s purpose without stretching. When we bear one another’s burden, help someone solve a problem that is beyond their capabilities, wipe away a tear from a saddened eye, give a cup of cold water to a thirsty traveler, we are showing the kindness and grace of God.

Each day we need to stretch our minds and learn something new about our Lord, His Word, His world, and His ways. If we remain as we are, we fail to grow into His likeness and the future He has for us.

We also need to stretch our bodies and bring them under God’s control. The stronger we are physically, the more we can do spiritually. An out-of-control body reflects an out-of-control life. God expects us to do the best we can with what He gives us.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to take what You have given us and stretch it to the limits of our potential. May we never be satisfied with who we are until we become who You have intended us to become in worship and service. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Friday, October 15, 2010

An Example In Courage

It was an intense wrestling match. Now that it was over, the crowd was cheering with great enthusiasm. But he knew that it was not for him. He lost, and realized that the shouting was for his opponent. Suddenly, the arena became quiet, and the crowd focused its attention on the “Loser” and the thunderous ovation was directed toward him.

Wrestling is a difficult sport demanding strength, flexibility, courage and stamina. Only those in excellent condition ever enter the ring. But when you’re born without a left arm and your right arm is just half an arm with two fingers growing out of the “stump,” most people would consider that person a freak. Some called the “loser” a freak and said that he had no business wrestling.
Now, his career was over and the crowd was cheering wildly, standing and shouting with all of their strength. Why? He demonstrated that winning isn’t everything, courage is?

Courage is the God given force within the Christian that empowers us to face danger and hardships knowing that God is on our side, and that through Him we will be victorious. Courage gives us the confidence because “greater is He who is within us than he who is in the world?”

The Christian always has an extra resource in the Lord. “Be of good courage…for the Lord your God is with you.”

Prayer: Father, may we realize and accept by faith the fact that You are always with us, will not fail us nor forsake us and we need not be afraid. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Joshua 1:8-9

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Find A Need And Fill It

It was time for class elections. There was one student in the room whom everyone liked. Unfortunately, he had no skills or talents. The nominating committee got together and decided to make him president.

When asked why, they said, “Well, he can’t write plainly, so he can’t be our secretary.” Another said, “That’s right, and he can’t add or subtract so he can’t be our treasurer. If we didn’t choose him for something, he’d feel bad. So we made him president.”

Jesus said, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servants also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” Whenever we commit our lives to Jesus Christ, and declare to the world that we are His followers, we give ourselves to serving others by showing compassion and kindness as He did. We are obligated to Him to offer help to the helpless, compassion and counsel to the condemned, and even kindness to those who would ridicule Christ.

Mother Teresa said, “Being unwanted, unloved and uncared for, I think, is more painful and a much greater hunger than the person who has nothing to eat…we must find each other.”

For Jesus’ sake, we must find the ones with disabilities and emphasize their possibilities, the ones with fears must be fortified with faith and the ones without salvation must be brought to the Savior.

Prayer: Lord, open our eyes that we may clearly see those around us who need help and hope, kindness and compassion, that in us they will see You. In Your Name, Amen.

Scripture: 1 John 3:11-20

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

From Adversity To Advantage

Fanny Crosby was only six weeks old when the doctor recognized that she was developing a problem with her vision. The doctor treating her did not follow the appropriate procedures and she became blind.

Miss Crosby grew to love the Lord, though times were difficult and learning to live life blind was not easy. Through all of the trials she endured she did not become bitter. Rather, she became a better servant for her Savior. She even forgave the doctor.

Though she was blind, she saw God move clearly in her life. She wrote many hymns and through the hymns guided people to God more graciously and gracefully. She could not see what was going on in her life, but she could see the One Who was the Light of life.

It is not an experience that will bring us down or destroy us. It is our response to it. We can fill out minds and hearts with fear or faith, sarcasm or strength, hate or hope.

Adversity became a spring board to Fanny Crosby. She wrote more than eight thousand hymns. When adversity comes our way, God is with us and He will provide a peace that passes all understanding as He calls us in new directions.

Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to turn to You when adversity invades our lives. May we believe that You have a perfect plan for each of us that will bring us to completion in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11-12 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. (NIV)

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Girl Of His Dreams

While attending Harvard University, Teddy Roosevelt met Alice Hathaway. He immediately knew that she was the girl of his dreams.

He wrote these words in his diary: “A year ago Thanksgiving Day I made a vow to win her. Now that I have done so, the aim of my life shall be to make her happy and to shield her and guard her from every trial.”

Every marriage has its difficult days, its rocky roads, its stormy sessions and its terrible times.

Robert Dodds said, “The goal of marriage is not to think alike, but to think together.” Success in marriage is more than finding the right mate, it is being the right mate. It is more than finding the person who pleases you, it is pleasing the person whom you have found. Marriage does not consist of two people, but three people: a husband, a wife and the Lord. We must allow the God of love, the God Who created marriage, to be the center of the marriage.

Perhaps the words of the Apostle Peter might be good to place on a plaque where wives and husbands could constantly be reminded to “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

Prayer: Father, we are grateful that You created marriage. Help us to work together to honor You first, and then each other – always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Ephesians 5:31-32 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. (NIV)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Straight And Crooked

A famous artist had an etching of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in his studio. It was one of his favorite works of art. Each morning when he began his day, he had to straighten it because it would be crooked.

One day he mentioned it to his housekeeper. In frustration she explained, “Each day I have to hang it crooked to make the tower hang straight.”

Many individuals do that with God's Word: they twist and turn its message to get it to say what they want it to say. But the Bible is clear when it claims to contain spiritual truth – truth that is absolute, consistent, irrefutable and unchanging.

The Bible is clear on this point. We do not determine God’s truth, we discover it. The Psalmist declared, “All your words are true, all your just laws will stand forever.” God’s Word is, in fact, an extension of His character – His truthfulness. And Jesus said, “I came to bring truth to the world. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” The beginning and end of truth are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

We cannot adjust the Bible to ourselves. We must accept the Bible as it is. The words of Paul sum it up: “It straightens us out and helps us do what is right.”

Prayer: Help us, Father, to accept Your Word as truth, and to love it and hide it in our hearts that we might not sin against You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (NIV)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Tests Of Life

A father wanted to teach his son the value of enduring trying times and difficult days. He placed three pots of water on the stove and brought them to a boil. In the first he placed several carrots. In the second he placed an egg. And in the third he placed some coffee grounds.

After a few moments he looked at his son and said, “John, these carrots went in hard and came out soft. This egg went in soft and came out hard. The coffee gave the water a new taste.”

When we are tested and tried, we need to look into the event as well as beyond the event. If an illness occurs or an accident happens because we have neglected to take care of ourselves, we need to change our behavior if we expect God to take care of us. If suffering or sickness occurs through no fault of our own, we can count on God’s grace to sustain and comfort us. Whatever comes into our lives brings with it an opportunity to grow into Christ likeness.

Suffering never leaves us where it finds us. It can either draw us closer to God or drive us further from Him. God gives us opportunities to grow up and become more like our Lord, or give in and live a life of despair and defeat.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to break through the darkness of suffering and accept Your strength, hope and encouragement to grow into Your likeness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: James 1:1-4

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Say So!

Every moment or two a teenager kept looking at his watch. The man sitting next to him on the bus noticed this rather strange behavior and became curious. It appeared to be an inexpensive watch and the man said rather sarcastically, “Does your watch tell time?”

“No,” answered the boy, “you gotta look at it!”

All of us have heard that the best advertisement is “word of mouth.” Many successful businesses have been built by one person simply telling another of a good product or fair treatment. We all rely on the words of trusted friends.

This “word of mouth” appears to be lacking when it comes to Christians. We seem to have a hard time sharing our faith with those we work with, play with, eat with. We try to behave like Christians, work like Christians, think like Christians – yet we do not “speak up” like Christians and share our salvation with others.

Paul said to Philemon, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” We are expected to share our faith by “word of mouth.” When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, He will enable us to speak of His salvation on His behalf.

“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!”

Prayer: Lord, may our faith come to life in words as well as deeds. Give us the courage to share the joy of our salvation with those whom we know and love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say this— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, (NIV)

Monday, October 4, 2010

How To Get Beautiful

“I know how to get beautiful,” bragged little Julie.

“How?” asked her neighbor.

“You rub this lotion on your body,” she answered, “just like my Mommy does.”

Julie must have had a beautiful Mommy. And she believed that her Mommy’s beauty was some “thing” that could be applied on the outside and a miracle occurred.

Beauty means many things to many people. For some it is a life-long, never-ending, relentless quest. Some individuals try to get rid of every flaw and blemish, believing that eventually perfection will be achieved.

God’s Word says that outward beauty is of no consequences unless the beauty comes from the inside. His Word reminds us that we “should clothe ourselves with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God.”

God created us to have purpose and reason for being. Therefore, we are His work of art? Everything about us has been designed to reflect His glory.

“People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.” Beauty is something internal that is created by Someone Who is eternal. Said David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Prayer: Lord, we ask that our lives might reflect a gracious, God-given beauty that comes from living a life of holiness, worship, prayer and surrender that comes for knowing and being with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 51:1-10

Friday, October 1, 2010

Laziness

It was time for the annual employee performance appraisals. The manager said to a sales associate, “You are the laziest worker I have ever known. Tell me one way that this firm benefits by having you as one of our employees.”

“Well,” came the quick reply, “when you give me a vacation you don't have to hire someone to work in my place?”

Laziness and procrastination are dangerous because they destroy our bodies, minds and souls. God has given us bodies to use in serving Him. But if we do not take proper care of them, we will become weak and unable to serve Him. He has given us minds. But if we do not study His Word and learn about His will for our lives and ways to serve Him by meeting the needs of others, our salvation becomes questionable. And He has given us a soul. We nourish our soul through worship and praise, graciously and humbly waiting before His presence as we bow before Him, recognizing Him as the source of life, knowing that one day we will be with Him for eternity.

Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to make good use of every moment of every day. May we realize the value of each day, the significance of every minute and seize every opportunity to glorify You now and throughout eternity. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

Scripture: Proverbs 6:6-11

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Christ Died For Our Sins

Two soldiers had been serving together in Vietnam since their arrival. They had become inseparable. Whenever they went into combat, one would always cover the back of the other. In their many fire-fights, one would always lead and the other would follow. The next time, they would change places.

One day it was John’s turn to go first. But he hesitated for a moment, sensing the closeness of the enemy. Will became anxious and made the first move. He was killed instantly.

Returning home John was telling some of his friends about the experience. “It was my turn,” he said, “but Will took my place and died.”

There was a day in history when Jesus took our place. Peter said, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God...”

Jesus lived His entire life knowing the closeness of the enemy – Satan. He knew that if He did not take our place, the righteous for the unrighteous, that we would die. Christ’s death was the climax of God’s plan to make amends, “to atone,” for our sins.

Because Jesus died for our sins, the innocent for the guilty, we can come to God in faith believing that our sins are fully paid for and that His righteousness is now our righteousness and we are permanently secure in Christ.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your grace and mercy that makes our salvation possible. Through Christ, we know that our sins are forgiven. Thank You for saving me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, (NIV)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Submitted

A reporter was sent to study the revivals of D.L. Moody, the great evangelist, while he conducted meetings in England. He listened to him night after night, talked with him, walked with him and even ate with him. He was determined to discover the secret to Moody’s success.

Following his observations, he concluded, “I can see nothing in Moody to account for his marvelous work.”

When Mr. Moody heard the story he laughed and said, “That’s the very secret. There’s nothing in me that can explain it. It is the power of God. The work is God’s, not mine.”

Early in his life, Mr. Moody heard a preacher say, “The world has yet to see what God can do through a man who is fully submitted to Him.” Said Moody, “I’ll be that man!”

The sum of the Christian life is submission to the Lordship of Christ. When Paul wrote to the Romans he begged them to “present their bodies,” meaning “their whole being,” everything about them. He then added that they should present their bodies “as a living sacrifice” – meaning that since they had been born again and were now alive in Christ they were to live fully and faithfully and forever honor Him in a life of service.

Moody said, “I’ll be that man.” We need men and women like that today – surrendered and serving, working and witnessing. Are we willing to do as Moody did?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, stir our hearts, trouble our minds and convict our souls until we surrender our entire life to You in selfless service. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Romans 12:1-2

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Unrecognized

Queen Elizabeth enjoyed walking among her subjects dressed “incognito.” One day she walked through the gates into town. A faithful servant followed her.

Walking along a road she came across a flock of sheep. Somehow she got in their way and the shepherd shouted, “Keep out of the way, stupid woman.” The queen smiled, but said nothing.

When the shepherd was told that she was the queen, he said bitterly, “Well, she should have dressed like one!”

This happened to Jesus. When he came into the world He created, He was not recognized. Even the people chosen by God to prepare the world for Him rejected Him. Although the Old Testament that they read and believed pointed to His coming, they refused to accept Him.

John said, “Even in His own land and among His own people He was not accepted.” How sad. John continues, “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.”

This belief in Christ changes us from the inside out. When we become children of God, we become new people with new habits and hopes, new beliefs and behaviors, new attitudes and actions.

We must ask ourselves: Does my life show the world that I am part of God’s family by what I do and where I go?

Prayer: Help me, Heavenly Father, to walk in the world in a way that proves that I am Your child by what I do, and where I go. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: John 1:11-13

Monday, September 27, 2010

"First, Get His Attention"

A farmer sold his mule to a neighbor. Looking his friend in the eye he said, “He’s a good mule. He’ll work hard all day and do anything you want him to do. But first you’ll have to hit him to get his attention.”

Some of us are like that mule. God has to allow us to get into difficulty before He can get our attention.

Remember the prodigal son? He must have had a good life. But he was not satisfied. He took what was his and left home. His wicked ways led him to a life of sorrow, sadness and separation. Finally he hit bottom. When there was nothing left and no place to go, he returned to his father.

Sometimes it takes great sorrow and tragedy before we turn to God. We try to live our own lives and go our own way and we end up in pitiful, painful places. We push aside our responsibilities to God and fail to be obedient to His directions. Then He does something to get our attention.

The Psalmist said, “Before I was afflicted, I went astray; but now I keep Your Word.”

Troubles? Problems? Sickness? Broke? Worries? God will do whatever He must to get our attention, not to impair us but to improve us.

Prayer: Father, we thank You that You want us to be close to You and honor You in our lives. We pray that we will always hear Your voice and follow Your paths of righteousness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:67-71

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stretching Our Souls

While cutting his grass, a man’s mower stopped running. He took it to be repaired. When he returned to get it, he asked the repairman for the bill. He was told, “Forget it. It was such a small thing to fix, that it’s free.”

But the man insisted on paying, taking some money from his pocket and presenting it to the man.

“Sir,” replied the mechanic, “I’m a Christian, and every now and then I do something to stretch my soul.”

John wrote about that when he said, “If anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother in need and refuses to help – how can God’s love be in that person?”

When Christ comes in, His love goes out. All around us are people who have needs for the necessities of life. Everywhere we look people have burdens to bear, problems to solve, decisions to make, hearts to heal and sicknesses to survive.

When we see the needs of others and do something about them, we stretch our souls and show His love. We need to stretch our souls every day.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, open our eyes that we may see what Your eyes see, and then move in our hearts to help others even as You did. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 John 3:14-24

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What A Deal

A father was having a difficult time getting his son to study and make good grades after he left home and entered college. Said the father, “Son, if you shave your beard, cut your hair, read your Bible and make no lower than a ‘B’ in all of your classes, I’ll buy you a car.”

The deal was made, the car bought, the Bible read but the beard and long hair remained. When the son came home for a weekend visit, the father asked, “Why have you not kept our deal?”

Said the son, “Well, I can’t find anywhere in the Bible where it says you have to have short hair and no beard.”

“Well,” said the Dad, “I can’t find anywhere in the Bible where it says you have to have a car, either.”

Paul states that “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. The new has come.” “In Christ” is one of Paul’s favorite phrases because of the change He made in his life.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we look to You for salvation and You look to us for surrender and submission. Help us to live our lives in You and for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:19 ...that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (NIV)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In God's Image

Wherever you went in the Roman Empire, you were reminded of the Roman Emperor. Everywhere you looked you saw his influence and image, his power and prestige. And when a Roman penny was made, the image of the emperor was stamped upon it. Those who used his coins were expected to obey his laws.

We are like those pennies. When God created man He stamped His image in and upon him – within his soul. As a result of that “stamping,” there is within all of us a desire to discover who we are. It is not by accident that there seems to be within every one of us a sense of being lost or the drive to discover or find ones self.

Most people – young or old – do not want to be different. No child wants to stand out. Teenagers all try to look the same. Young adults have a difficult time determining who to identify with and why. Adults want to have the same things as their peers. Each of us has the need to identify with someone or something.

But Christians solve this problem because they can identify with God. We have been created in His image and nothing is like us. Because of the fall, we have been damaged and distorted but not destroyed. If we choose, God can repair the damage and clear up the distortion. Then, one day He will restore us to our original condition. With God, all things are possible through salvation in Christ.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, We accept the promise that You can give us a pure heart, a sound mind, a right spirit and everlasting life with You. Through Christ, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Genesis 1:26-31

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Starting Over

When he was 67 years old, Thomas Edison experienced an event that would have caused most of us to give up. The building where he had conducted most of his scientific work burned to the ground.

Looking closely at his father observe the tragedy, his son said, “My heart ached for him as he stood watching his work go up in smoke.”

How did Edison respond? He said, “There’s a great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew!”

Paul said, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed.”

Paul says we are pressured everywhere we look. He adds that we may be persecuted – but we will never be abandoned. He also says that when we are at our wit’s end we are never at hope’s end. And he concludes by saying that we may be knocked down, but never knocked out or destroyed.

Whatever we go through in life, we go through it with God. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and He will be with us and draw us closer to His Son, our Savior.

Prayer: Father, help us to recognize that You are always with us as we face life. May we sense Your presence, peace and power and look to You for victory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (NIV)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Driven By Purpose

Two brothers were born in a farm house in rural Kansas. They attended a one-room school and were responsible to keep the fire going in the stove. One day the stove blew up.

Running from the building, Glen looked around to find his brother. He was no where to be found. He rushed back into the building, but it was too late to save his brother. He escaped with his life but suffered severe burns. Doctor after doctor told him he would never walk again. But he did.

Through all the pain and grief, suffering and struggles, he refused to be discouraged. Though there were times when he was disappointed with the progress he was making, he never gave up. He had a dream and was filled with the determination to make that dream come true. He dreamed that one day he would run faster than anyone in history, master the mile and set the world record. And he did just that – breaking the international record. The world remembers Glen Cunningham but not the fire.

We need to believe as Paul did, “...do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to overcome my handicaps and harmful habits, and plant deep in my heart and mind the purpose that You have for my life. May I only live to bring glory and honor to Your name, through Christ my Lord, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Daniel 1:9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel... (NIV)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Prayin' For Rain

A motorist driving down a country road noticed a home that was on fire. Sitting calmly as though he was enjoying the fire was the farmer who owned the house.

Shouting loudly the motorist exclaimed, “Your house is on fire!”

“I know it,” came the reply.

“Then why don’t you do something about it?” he asked.

“I am doing something,” said the farmer. “I’m prayin’ for rain.”

We need to use common sense, not nonsense, when we pray. The Lord will not do for us what we can do for ourselves. But He will do for us what we can not do for ourselves if it is in keeping with His will for our lives.

But all of this depends on one thing: obedience. John said, “Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” Someone said, “If we do not obey, we may as well not pray.”

When God does not answer our prayers, we need to examine our lives, look for our sins, ask His forgiveness and return to a life of obedience to Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, asking is certainly easier that admitting, confessing and forsaking our sins. Help us to obey Your teachings and keep Your commandments. In Christ’s Name we pray, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 John 3:22 And receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. (NIV)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Love Everlasting

Teenage years are difficult for both the teenager and the parent. But this one in particular became increasingly rebellious and belligerent. It seemed as though she delighted in causing her mother pain and embarrassment. Finally it reached a breaking point when she was arrested for drunk driving. Her mother was grief stricken.

After bringing her home from the police station, they sat facing one another. Finally, the mother presented her with a beautifully wrapped gift box. She opened it with a frown and saw a small rock. “Cute,” she said sarcastically. “What’s it for?”

Finally she saw a small card that was tucked away in the box. She read it slowly: “This rock is more than 200 million years old. That’s how long it will take before I give up on you.” Quietly she began to sob, tears running down her cheeks. She reached across the space that separated her from her mother and hugged her tightly. She apologized for all the pain and sorrow that she had caused and asked her mother to pray with her as she accepted Christ as her Savior.

Long ago Jeremiah the Prophet spoke about a message he received from the Lord. It was, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued My faithfulness to you.”

Prayer: We thank You, Heavenly Father, that Your unending love and sufficient grace is ours to accept. May we be open to Your love and obedient to Your Word. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

Scripture: Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. (NIV)