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