Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Too Dark To Pray!

Hearing noises in the bathroom, a boy opened the door and asked, “What are you doing, Daddy?”

“Shaving. I’m going to prayer meeting today,” he replied.

Peeking out the window, the boy said, “Daddy, it’s too dark to pray.”

But the father knew the darker the day, the more important prayer becomes.

Peter knew that. When he took his eyes off Jesus and began to drown, he cried, “Lord save me.” Instantly, Jesus reached out His hand and rescued him.

In Scripture, light always represents good. Darkness represents evil.

John wrote about “living in the light as God is in the light.” Here he wants us to understand that God can deliver us from the darkness of evil and sin. When God’s light penetrates the darkness, we are able to separate truth from lies.

If we want to live a life that pleases God, we must walk in the light. To walk in the light, we must read His Word and ask for His guidance. When faced with pressures that would tempt and destroy us, we must look for the light of God’s truth to guide us.

Prayer: Jesus, Your Word is simple to understand but not easy to live. It is easy to give up. Help us not to surrender to Satan. Give us a desire for Your light that we may walk in Your ways: in Your name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 John 1:1-10

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Honk If You Love Jesus!

While stopped for a red light a man noticed that the car ahead of him had a bumper sticker that read, “Honk if you love Jesus!” He loved Jesus, so he honked his horn.

Angrily, the driver in front shouted, “What’s wrong with you, fool? Can’t you see that the light is red?”

There are many of us who say one thing with our banners and another with our behaviors; one thing with our lips but another with our lives.

John lays it down clearly when he says Christians are to live their lives as Jesus lived His. The only way we Christians can show our love for God is to live in obedience to Him. The only way we can show the world that we are living in Christ is to imitate His life.

God has given us the greatest gift imaginable: eternal life with Him through Jesus Christ. But this great gift brings great obligation. It’s not where we live, but how we live. It’s not only what we believe, but how we behave. The Christian life is living life with Christ, in Christ and through Christ.

Prayer: Father, living the Christian life is serious business. If we profess one thing and practice another, we deceive not only the world but ourselves. Give us the conviction and courage to live as Your children: in Christ’s name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 John 2:1-6

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Coasting Or Climbing?

The drill sergeant was putting the recruits through some demanding exercises.

He shouted, “On your backs. Legs in the air. Now move them in a circle as though you were riding a bicycle.”

Walking among his troops, he discovered one man holding his legs in the air – motionless. “What are you doing?” he demanded.

“I’m coasting down hill, Sir,” he replied.

Every now and then the Christian is tempted to coast. We become lazy and lax as we face life’s temptations. When we become complacent toward our Savior and sin, it is a sure sign that we are beginning to coast. And no one has ever coasted uphill.

When we are weak, we cry out for God’s strength. When we are afraid, we cry out for His presence. When we are suffering, we cry out for His healing. When we are in a valley with shadows, we cry out for Him to light our pathway.

Hosea spoke against the danger of coasting. “I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land. But when you had eaten and were satisfied, you became proud and forgot me.”

Prayer: Lord, You have not called us to a life of ease and pleasure, but one of surrender and service. When we are tempted to live a life of comfort, confront us with crises that call us back to You: in Your name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Hosea 13:5-6

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Call For Help

A small third grader was fighting the school bully. Calling on strength that was far beyond his size, he was winning the battle. Suddenly, he began to call for help.

“Why?” shouted a friend.

“I can feel him getting up and I don’t want to lose the battle,” he said.

So it is with our fight against temptation and sin. We constantly need to call for God’s help if we are to overcome evil and the evil one.

We must never lose sight of the fact that the temptation to sin is Satan’s main activity in our lives. In Genesis we read, “The tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious.” Eve was tempted by something that was attractive – but against God’s teachings. Satan appeals to what we find attractive, but destructive.

In the fight against sin, we constantly need God’s help. Memorizing Scripture and quoting it when we are tempted is a sure way to overcome Satan. We can expect to be tempted, but we do not need to expect to sin. The God who saves us is the same God who can deliver us. The choice is ours.

Prayer: Father, we know that we will be tempted. But Your Word reminds us that no temptation is more than we can stand. Help us to be victorious in recognizing and resisting the temptations of Satan: in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 10:13

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Christian Scientist

One Sunday morning, a man went to visit one of Scotland’s most famous scientists. When a maid opened the door, he asked, “Where can I find Lord Kelvin?”

“In church,” said the maid.

Lord Kelvin invented the first ship’s compass that was free from the influence of magnetic iron. He knew the importance of finding the right direction, and each day he read the Bible.

Lord Kelvin was also responsible for laying the first transatlantic cable. He knew the importance of good communication, and prayed each day.

He set a good example for us.

The Psalmist said, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” Keeping God’s Word in our hearts is a deterrent to sin. We need God’s Word in a place where we can retrieve it quickly. It will help us to “set our hearts on things above” as we face temptations daily.

Paul said, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.” There is nothing too large for our Father to handle or nothing too small that does not concern Him. Everything that matters to us mattered to God first.

Prayer: Help us heavenly Father, to heed Your Word and to hide Your Word in our hearts. Put a longing in our hearts to walk with You and talk with You with each step that we take: in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Mark 1:35

Friday, July 23, 2010

Family Trees

A man bragged to a stranger, “My family’s ancestry dates back to King Henry the VIII! How old is your family?”

“I can’t say,” came the reply. “Our family records were lost in the flood.”

Interesting reply. Important point.

There are 250 references to trees in the Bible. Most importantly is their significance to the story of salvation. In Genesis we read of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In Revelation we find the tree of life once again. We read that its branches are for the healing of the nations and that there will no longer be any curse. In Genesis the tree is associated with the fall of man and entrance of death. In Revelation the tree is associated with healing and everlasting life.

But sandwiched between Genesis and Revelation is the tree – the cross of salvation. It is Christ’s death upon that tree that made it possible for us to become part of His family.

Some place great importance on their past and their present. For those of us who are Christians, our tree assures us that our past sins are forgiven, that our present life is empowered by Christ and our future guaranteed.

Prayer: Jesus, it does not matter where we come from, only where we are going. We know that through Your mercy we have become part of Your family. May we always live as Your children. Amen.

Scripture for Today: John 3:3

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Beginning The Day With God

How we start each day shapes the day. If we begin with God, we can be assured of His presence. If we begin without God, we will struggle as we seek to find our way. John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, said, “He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.”

David began his day with God. He said, “In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice.” David never told us how much time he spent with God, only that he began the day with God. It may be a moment of prayer and Bible reading. lt may be a lengthy time for Bible study and prayer, meditation and sharing. Time is not the major factor. Being with God is. In our home we had a simple rule: No Bible, No breakfast.

We could go to school or to play without food, but not without prayer. We must never allow anyone or anything to steal this time from God.

It is not only important to begin the day talking with God, but to allow enough time for God to respond with His direction for the day.

Prayer: Lord, there are days when we hurry off to the day’s activities. May we recognize our need for You in our lives, and our need to meet with You every morning in prayer: in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 5:3

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

No Additions Or Corrections

An attorney was chosen to serve as moderator of his church. He was uncomfortable with his new responsibility.

At his first church council meeting, a deacon read a portion of Scripture and then paused. The moderator stood and said, “If there are no corrections, the Bible will stand as read.”

He was right. The Bible must stand as read.

The Bible is not a random collection of myths, stories, fables or ideas about God. It did not originate with man, but with God. Although the Bible was written by people, what they wrote is what God wanted them to write. Scripture came to us from God Himself, and because it originated with God, it is completely trustworthy, and we can believe in it for our salvation.

Paul wrote in a letter to Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”

Because the Bible is God’s Word, we can read it, believe it, and live it every day!

Prayer: Father, we thank You for Your Word. May we read it daily, and look to it for guidance, salvation, discipline and direction. May Your Word come to life in our lives and give us nourishment and strength each day: in Your name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Call For Help

A small third grader was fighting the school bully. Calling on strength that was far beyond his size, he was winning the battle. Suddenly, he began to call for help.

“Why?” shouted a friend.

“I can feel him getting up and I don’t want to lose the battle,” he said.

So it is with our fight against temptation and sin. We constantly need to call for God’s help if we are to overcome evil and the evil one.

We must never lose sight of the fact that the temptation to sin is Satan’s main activity in our lives. In Genesis we read, “The tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious.” Eve was tempted by something that was attractive – but against God’s teachings. Satan appeals to what we find attractive, but destructive.

In the fight against sin, we constantly need God’s help. Memorizing Scripture and quoting it when we are tempted is a sure way to overcome Satan. We can expect to be tempted, but we do not need to expect to sin. The God who saves us is the same God who can deliver us. The choice is ours.

Prayer: Father, we know that we will be tempted. But Your Word reminds us that no temptation is more than we can stand. Help us to be victorious in recognizing and resisting the temptations of Satan: in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 10:13

Monday, July 19, 2010

God Wants You!

A little girl went to church for the first time. She was full of questions.

When a baby was presented for baptism she became more interested than ever. Noticing her attentiveness, her father said, “The parents are giving her to God.”

After the baptism, the minister gave the baby back to the parents.

Not understanding, she whispered to her father, “I guess God didn’t want that one.”

Not so! God wants every one of us.

On one occasion He said, “Come to Me, all of you…” On another occasion He said, “if you come to Me I will not reject you.”

We have all experienced the pain of rejection. We know what it is like to feel alone. Family members leave us. Friends turn their backs on us. But not Jesus.

Someone said, “With Jesus, the welcome mat is out and the door is always open.” Paul said, “…nothing…will ever separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There is nothing that we have done or ever will do that can separate us from Him, His love or His salvation.

Prayer: Father, we are so grateful for Your love that reaches out to all of us. We are thankful that Your arms are always open to each of us. We rejoice in Your salvation that can save and keep us: in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Romans 8:38-39

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Talents

After graduating from college, a son said, “Dad, now that I have completed my education, I must find a field where I can use my talents to their best advantage.”

“Great,” he said. “You can have that cornfield right over there.”

All of us have talents, God-given talents. But they only have value when we put them to work.

God has placed within each of us a deep desire to do great and wonderful things. Some of us are created to do one thing, and some another. But each of us is created to do something. Some will become leaders, others of us will follow. Everyone is called. And when God calls us, He equips us and enables us to do what He has for us to do.

When we realize that we were made in the image of God, it is only natural that we would want to fulfill the plan He has for us. As we refine our talents and expand our abilities we will be giving back to Him what He first gave us. Life will then be fulfilling and satisfying because we will do what He has called us to do.

Prayer: Father, we are grateful for the talents that You have given us. May we depend upon You for guidance as we honor You by using the skills and talents You gave us: in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Romans 12: 6-11

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Using Failure As A Step To Success

It is not unusual for a jockey to lose his first race. But it is unusual for a jockey to continue to lose and not give up. Few people remember how many races Eddie Arcaro lost. He is remembered as the most famous jockey of his day.

There was a baseball player who struck out one thousand, three hundred and thirty times. But he kept swinging and also refused to give up. Today, when we mention home run hitters, the name Babe Ruth comes to mind and he is remembered for the number of home runs that he hit.

One individual failed ninety-nine times on one experiment. Eventually it worked. We do not remember Thomas Edison for what he did not accomplish, but for what he did accomplish. Today he is recognized as one of the greatest inventors the world has ever known.

Failure does not have to be fatal. It can always be used as a step to success. We must keep praying and pushing, trusting and trying. “Put God first,” says the Bible, and “He will crown your efforts with success.”

Prayer: Father, we are always tempted to take the easy way out and accept defeat. Your Word assures us that You will reward us if we look to You, honor You and use the talents You have given to us to bring glory to You: in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 3:1-6

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

To Look Like Christ

A sculptor was working on a large block of marble.

A visitor asked, “What are you creating?”

“A horse,” came the reply.

“How do you do that?” wondered the visitor.

“By removing everything that does not look like a horse,” he answered.

That is the plan that God has for each of us. He wants to remove everything in our lives that is not Christlike.

There may be times in our lives when we are at the end of our rope – but not the end of our hope. There will be occasions when we are at our wit’s end – but never at faith’s end. We may feel overcome by pressures from every source – but we will never be forced into a corner where there is no way out.

Wherever we are, God is! Whatever we face, Jesus has also faced and has overcome. The Holy Spirit will always be our escape route to bring us His grace that is always sufficient for the challenges of life and His strength that is always available to enable us to overcome the obstacles before us.

Prayer: Father, we all want to be what You would have us to be. We desire to be made into the likeness of Christ, our Lord. Open our eyes and hearts to Your presence and the plans that You have for us: in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 4:1-10

Monday, July 12, 2010

Take It With You?

A funeral procession was passing an intersection and there was a break in the line of cars. The driver of an armored truck saw an opportunity to resume his journey and got in line behind the other vehicles.

“What do you know?” exclaimed an onlooker, seeing the armored truck. “Maybe you can take it with you!”

We all know that you can’t take it with you. But according to Jesus, we know that you can send it ahead. He said, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven!” But how do we do that?

Intriguing question. Interesting answer. By investing in heaven. “How do we do that?” We invest in heaven by finding and fulfilling God’s purpose in all that we do – by being obedient to His Word.

When we “Love the Lord our God with all of our minds and all of our hearts and all of our souls,” we will do as He asks. Eyes that are dimmed and minds that are numbed by earthly possessions will be awakened to serving Him because we willingly surrender to what He asks. Our Lord will be first and our treasures will find their way to heaven.

Prayer: Lord, guide us as we invest the treasures and talents that You have given us to Your glory. May we put heaven first, and honor You in all that we do and say: in Christ’s name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Matthew 6:19-24

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More Than Conquerors

During the Revolutionary War, “Molly Pitcher” joined her husband in the conflict. While he was fighting in the battle, she carried water to the soldiers.

One day, as the war raged, her husband was shot and killed. Immediately she dropped her pitcher, took his place at the cannon and helped win a victory.

Death and sorrow are two of the great common denominators in everyone’s life. No one is immune from loss and grief that comes with feeling alone. Throughout all of life, everyone encounters feelings of emptiness when we lose a loved one. God’s Word reminds us that we all experience these times of tragedy.

As Christians we have a source of strength that we can call upon when needed. Paul declares, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.” We all know of the sorrows and setbacks that he had. But he rose above his adversities by the grace and strength of God and turned his troubles into triumphs.

At the end of every day Paul was able to say, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”

Prayer: Grant us, Father, the assurance of Your peace and presence, comfort and confidence, when we are going through difficult times. May we trust in Your promise that You will never leave us nor forsake us: in Your name. Amen.


Scripture for Today: Romans 8:32-39

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Anybody Want Anything?

A little boy was preparing to go to bed. As he knelt quietly, he called to his family, “I’m getting ready to pray. Does anybody want anything from God tonight?”

What a great faith that boy had. When he got ready to pray, he was also ready to get answers to his prayers from God. Prayer is not only asking, it is also expecting and receiving. When many of us pray, we do not expect anything. Often we pray because it is a ritual or we are asked. Other times we pray because we don’t know what else to do. We may pray to please someone, calm our conscience or quiet our concerns. It is easy to do the right thing for the wrong reason. But prayer, rightly offered, is always richly answered.

James in his letter to a church in Jerusalem said, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results!” Perhaps our prayers go unanswered and we see no results because we lack righteousness in our lives.

Prayer: Father, we pray that through Your grace that You cleanse us of our sins and restore us to a right relationship with You. We ask that You convict us of our shortcomings so that we may approach You with clean hearts and sincere confidence believing that You will hear and answer our prayers: in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: James 5:16

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Pan Problem

It was a great day for fishing. The fish were biting as fast as the bait went into the water. A group of boys was watching the fishermen with great delight. But there was one who seemed a bit peculiar to them.

Every time he caught a big fish, he would measure it, and if it was more than ten inches in length, he would throw it back.

Finally, out of curiosity, one of the boys approached the man, and asked, “Why?”

“Because,” said the man, “all I have is a ten-inch frying pan to cook them in.”

Sometimes we limit our prayers because we have a “ten-inch frying pan” faith. We limit what God can do to us, through us and for us because our “pan” is too small.

The Bible promises that “Anything is possible if you have faith.” Faith can increase our ability and stability as we face the problems of life.

When we lack faith, God’s Word reminds us that “Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of Christ.” The more we listen to and believe in the Word of God, the stronger our faith becomes.

Prayer: Father, increase my faith to match the problems and temptations of life that I face every day. Help me to accept and believe Your promises and to live my life according to Your teachings: in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Mark 9:23

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Only One Way

“How do you like your new boss, Lil?” asked her friend.

“Well, he’s okay, only he’s kind of bigoted,” came the reply.

“Bigoted? What do you mean?” asked Jane.

“Well, he’s convinced that words can only be spelled one way,” answered Lil.

He was bigoted, but he was right. Being bigoted means that one is intolerant of another’s opinion or the way others believe or do things. There are times in life when it is appropriate to be bigoted.

Take Peter for example. Speaking before a group of rulers he said, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” He was bigoted, but he was right!

Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by Me.”

Jesus declared, simply and sufficiently, that there is only one way to be saved and to be sure of going to heaven – trusting in Him for salvation. There is no other way or no other name.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we come to You realizing and recognizing that if we want eternal life and salvation from our sins, we must come to You. We thank You for Your Word and trust in You, and only You, as our Savior and Lord: in Your name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: John 14:1-6