Thursday, May 27, 2010

It Won't Come Out Right!

A little boy was trying with all of his might to button his coat. He was having a horrible time. Every time he got to the bottom, there were buttons left over. He could not understand the problem.

“Mom,” he finally shouted, “it won’t come out right!”

“Yes, it will,” she confidently assured him. “But, you must get the first button right.”

The next time he started with the first button, and things turned out right.

If we want things to turn out right in our lives, we must start out with the right things.

What are the right things? One day Jesus said to a lawyer who was looking for an answer to that question with the following, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your souls and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

These two commandments are like the little boy’s buttons. If we get them right, we will come out right.

Prayer: Help me, Lord Jesus, to love You with everything I am: my heart and mind and being. May I learn to put myself aside and live fully the commandments You gave us so that my life will end as You wish, in Your presence. In Your Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Matthew 22: 34-40

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Looking Unto Jesus

Florence Chadwick was the first woman to swim from England to France. When she first waded into the Catalina Channel, the water was cold. Soon after she began to swim, she saw sharks. The fog became thicker and the waves higher. After sixteen hours, she gave up.

“Why?” someone asked her.

“If I could have seen land,” she confessed, “I might have been able to make it.”

Two months later she accomplished her goal. The fog lifted, the waves subsided, the sharks were gone. She was able to see her goal!

One of the writers of the Bible knew the importance of keeping our eyes upon our Goal. He wrote, “Keep your eyes on Jesus…”

Goals keep us focused. They determine how we live our lives. They can keep us moving in the right direction and enable us to accomplish God’s purpose for our lives. But when we take our eyes off of Jesus, we lose sight of the important things in life. When God’s goals for His world set the agenda for lives, we can do anything through Him Who loved us and gave Himself for us.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to keep my eyes upon You at all times. There are so many things going on around me that I become distracted from what is best for me. Keep me in the center of Your will. In Your Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Philippians 3:13-14

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cause And Effect

Following a lengthy and dangerous surgery, the doctor took aside the patient’s fretting and talkative wife to instruct her as to his care. “Your husband must have peace and quiet,” he told her as he handed her a bottle of pills. “Here are some sleeping tablets.”

“What time am I to give them to him?” she asked.

“Oh,” said the doctor, “they’re not for him, they’re for
you.”

When I am anxious, I cannot bring peace to others. When I am afraid, I cannot bring comfort to others. When I am filled with hate, I cannot bring love to others. When I am worried, I cannot bring joy to others. When I am discouraged, I cannot bring hope to others. When I am in doubt, I cannot bring faith to others.

Jesus said, “Come to Me and learn of Me.”

If we want to bring peace and comfort, love and joy, hope and faith to others, we must first learn them from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the Teacher from whom we learn the important gifts of life to give others.

Prayer: Lord, You are the teacher and I am the student. As I open my heart and mind to Your eternal truths, may I be filled with Your life-giving Spirit so that I may share Your salvation and grace with others. In Your Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Matthew 11:28

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monkeys, Melons And Money

The ring-tailed monkey of Africa is one of the most difficult animals to catch. Few have mastered the art of capturing them. But the Zulus have no problem.

They know that the monkeys enjoy the seeds of melons. So, when they want to trap a monkey, they cut a hole in a melon just large enough for the monkey’s hand.

When the monkey sees the hole, he will put his hand in it and grab as many seeds as his hand will hold. However, his fist becomes too large and he can’t withdraw it from the hole. He will fight and screech and pull the melon after him, but he will not give up the seeds. Then, the Zulus capture him.

Many people love money like that. This is why Paul warns us that the “love of money is a root for all kinds of evil.”

Money can be a good servant, but in the end, make us its slave. We can use it to exalt our selves or glorify God. We cannot serve God and money, but we can serve God with our money.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, may I realize the trap that money may set in my life. May I understand that whatever I love becomes the end of my life. Help me to recognize the traps that the devil sets for me and to avoid being ensnared by him. In Your Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Timothy 6:10

Thursday, May 20, 2010

One Thing And One Thing Only

A farmer had been hunting all day. When he returned home that night, his dog was so tired that he could barely crawl up the steps and onto the porch.

“What’s wrong?” asked his wife.

“We only covered ten miles as the crow flies,” replied the farmer. “But every time a butterfly appeared, he chased it. Every time a dog barked, he ran after it. He probably ran fifty miles to the ten I walked. It wasn’t the trip that got him. It was his chasing after things he could never catch that wore him out.”

Paul reminds us to have a single focus in life. He said, “This one thing I do…forgetting what is behind, I reach for the things which are in front of me.”

God has a special purpose for each of us even as He did for Paul. Paul reminds us to view life as a race and strive for the finish line. We are to live a purposeful life as he did by committing our lives to the Lord to do His work in His world every day.

Prayer: Father, so often I find myself living a life without purpose or direction. It is so easy to wander aimlessly and drift carelessly unless I seek Your will in Your Word. Help me to reach for the prize You have for me in Christ Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Philippians 3:7-11

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Whistler And His Wife

A new preacher came to town. Each day as he passed one particular home on his walk to the post office he heard a man whistling happily and loudly.

Day after day he heard the whistler. He became so fascinated with the sounds that he decided to discover where they came from. One morning the preacher opened the gate quietly and looked inside. Hearing the gate creak, “the whistler” approached the preacher asking him to come inside.

“Why do you whistle so loudly when you work?” asked the preacher.

“My wife’s a cripple,” he answered, “and she is also blind. I want her to know as she sits alone on the porch that I’m always close by and thinking about her. When she hears me whistling she knows I’m not only nearby but available.”

Our Lord is just like “the whistler” – always nearby and available. Although we may not hear Him or see Him, He is always present in our world. However, we must trust “Him with all our worries and cares, for He is always thinking about us and watching everything that concerns us.”

Prayer: Thank You, heavenly Father for always being nearby, for always watching over us and protecting us, and meeting our every need. May we always sense Your presence in our lives and Your love that surrounds us. In Your Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Peter 5:7

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Share My Troubles

A young man was really excited. His young lady was bubbling over with enthusiasm. They had just announced their engagement.

“Just think, sweetheart,” he said joyfully, “I’ll always be there at your side to share all your troubles!”

“But,” she replied quickly, “I don’t have many troubles.”

“You will,” he promised. “Wait ‘till after we’re married.”

We will never be without worries in this world. Rarely will a day go by without some trouble coming our way. It seems that there is always something just around the corner that we did not expect. I’ve even seen a “T” shirt saying, “Here Comes Trouble.” Wherever I am, there trouble is!

We will never be without trouble in this world. But we need not face trouble alone. Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you!”

With Him, no mountain is too high to climb. No obstacle is too awesome to overcome. No problem is too difficult to solve. No habit is too strong to break. The Bible assures us that “God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in trouble.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your presence in our lives. May we have a deep and abiding faith in You, knowing that Your power within us is greater than the problems around us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 48:1

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dalmation Theology

Some individuals teach and preach a “Dalmatian Theology.” They believe that the Word of God is only inspired in certain “spots.”

How dangerous. If we pick and choose what we like and pick and choose what we do not like, it is not God’s Word that we believe, but what we want to believe about God’s Word.

Paul wrote that “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.”

To pick and choose what we think is right or wrong in the Bible would leave gaps in the Gospel and steps in salvation. I would be living on my terms and not God’s terms. While this may be comfortable and convenient, it is not God honoring or Christ exalting. It would not lead me into
God’s likeness, but into my selfishness. It would be doing what I want to do, not what God expects me to do.

Prayer: Father, living on my terms comes naturally. I would much rather conform to my selfish standards than the demands of Scripture. Help me to surrender my life completely to You and Your Word, that I may glorify You in all that I do. In Your Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 2 Timothy 3:16,17

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Empty Boxes - Empty Lives

A clever thief broke into a shoe store, took the shoes out of the boxes and placed the boxes back on the shelf – empty. The next morning, each time a sales person opened a shoe box for a customer, it was empty. Everyone was confused!

For so many individuals, life is like that. It seems like there should be some valuable contents on the inside, but there is an emptiness. There is space that can be filled with the good things that come from God.

A young man once cried, “I have every thing to live with, but I have nothing to live for. My life is empty though I have plenty!” What initially seemed to be fulfilling became frustrating. He no longer had a purpose or passion for life.

If we want to have a life that is fulfilling and overflowing, then it must begin and end with the Lord. In Him alone will we find His generous gifts of His grace to fill the empty “boxes” in our heart and fulfillment in our lives.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are thankful that in You and through You we can fill the empty spaces in our hearts. We are grateful for the love that You have shown us through Your Son, our Savior. May we allow Him to give life in all its fullness. Amen.

Scripture for Today: John 10:10

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Finding The Best

A doctor was reviewing his list of patients, and he said to his nurse, “I can’t understand it. We had more patients last year than we have had this year. I wonder where they are going?”

“Rather than worry,” said his nurse, “let’s hope for their best.”

Instead of hoping for the best, we can have the best – the gift of God’s salvation.

David, writing in Psalm 23 said, “You (God) prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies”. No matter how difficult our days or how dark our nights, God will provide for our every need.

And Jesus said “…if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” When our life on earth ends and we have completed the work that He has for us to do, we have His Word that He will take us to be with Him forever.

What we can know is that God will take care of us in this life and the life to come. We simply need to ask as did the thief on the cross: “Lord, remember me.”

Prayer: We know, heavenly Father, that You love us and have promised us that whatever we ask in Your name You will give to us. We ask for Your salvation now and the assurance of life with You in heaven. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Luke 23:39-43

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What's In A Word?

Once, President Lincoln jokingly asked a friend, “How many legs would a donkey have if you called his tail a leg?”

“Five,” came the confident answer.

“No,” said Lincoln with a grin. “Only four. Calling a tail a leg won’t make it one!”

The same is true of many who call themselves Christians. Simply calling oneself a Christian changes nothing. Unless we have surrendered our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ and asked Him to save us from our sins, we have not been born again. Salvation comes only through faith in
Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “As many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the children of God.”

There are many things that we might have done, some things we look forward to doing, a few things we may get around to doing, but there is only one thing we must do – we must receive the Lord if we want to become a Christian.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, in the quiet of this moment I reach out to You in faith believing that You will save me from my sins. I understand that it is not what I call myself, or what others may call me, that matters. Right now, I want You to be my Savior and become a Christian. In Your Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: John 1:12

Monday, May 10, 2010

Looking In The Wrong Place

Late one dark night a policeman on his beat saw something strange down the street and decided to investigate. As he came closer, he saw it was a man, obviously intoxicated, crawling around on his hands and knees looking for something in the dim glow of a street light.

“What are you doing?” asked the police officer.

“Looking for my wallet,” said the man.

“How did you happen to lose it here?” was the next question.

“Oh, I didn’t. I lost it someplace else, I think, but there is no light there”, came the reply.

Searching is important. But unless we search for the right things in the right places, it is useless. When we search for life, we must look to the Lord.

Life comes to us only through a Person – Jesus Christ, Who is Savior and Lord.

Hear and heed Him as He says, “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly!” When we have Him we have the life we have been seeking and the search is over.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we look to You to save us from our sins and satisfy our every need. We know that in You is the life that everyone seeks. May we find in You the light that will light our paths and guide us into Your presence. Amen.

Scripture for Today: John 10:10

Today's video seed: "In Or Out"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It All Depends

An employer was conducting an interview with a new applicant. He asked, “Do you have any dependents?”

“Nope,” came the reply.

“But on your application it states that you are married.”
“I am,” she responded, “but no one can depend on my husband.”

Someone has said that the best ability is dependability. All of us have experienced feelings of abandonment when others have neglected to keep their word. We know the pain of being forsaken when someone we counted upon let us down. We have all been left “to go it alone” when the hand we expected was not there to give us a lift.

To know what to do is wisdom. To know how to do something is a skill. When we use the skills that God has given us to help others in times of need, it is God honoring. Ability is of little value without availability and dependability. We must always be ready to honor God by honoring our word. Others are counting on us.

Prayer: Help me, heavenly Father, to do what I say that I will do. May my word be as reliable as Your Word and my promises as certain as Your promises. May I not promise more than I can deliver or say something that I do not intend to do. In Your Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Ecclesiastes 9:10

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Road Blocks Or Right Of Ways?

A hitchhiker, named Reginald Campbell of Las Vegas, Nevada was on his way to visit the Death Valley National Monument. Unfortunately, he could get no one to give him a ride. Becoming angry in his misery, he decided to build a road block when the traffic became sparse. Using sticks and stones, he managed to stop traffic on one side of the road, creating a dangerous situation for himself and others.

How like many of us. Because we may not succeed in what we are doing we erect barriers of blame, to prove ourselves right and others wrong. How unfortunate. Unwilling to see ourselves as we are, and as God sees us, we try to make others responsible for our faults and failures.

God’s Word reminds us to “stop …turning critical eyes on one another. If we must be critical, let us be critical of our own conduct and see that we do nothing to make a brother stumble or fall”.

PRAYER: Father, open our eyes that we might see ourselves as You see us. May we measure ourselves against the standards of Your Word. Help us to rely on Your strength to correct our weaknesses and Your power to overcome our problems. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Romans 14:13

Today's video devotional: "Me And God"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Giving Others A Choice

A mother gave her son two beautiful apples, one larger and shiner than the other. Placing them in his hands, she instructed him to “Give your little sister her choice.”

A short time later, she noticed that he kept the bigger one for himself. So, she asked, “Why didn’t you give your sister her choice?”

“I did”, came the reply. “I gave her the choice of the little one on none at all. And she took the little one.”

There is a lot of selfishness in even the smallest of us. Size has little to do with whether or not we are self-centered of God-centered. It is easy to save rather than to share, to get rather than to give, to hoard rather than to help, to protect rather promote.

Paul reminds us that “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

PRAYER: Help me, Heavenly Father, to realize that the needs of others are an opportunity for me to give to them as You have given to me. May I be sensitive to others who are without the necessities of life, and share with them of the abundance You have given me – especially Your salvation. In Your Name, Amen.

SCRIPTURE: Philippians 2:1–8

Today's video devotional: "Wrong Places"