Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Giving And Receiving

An elderly couple walked slowly to the desk in a hotel, they were exhausted from their travels and wanted to retire as quickly as possible. When they asked for a room, the clerk politely said, “I’m sorry, but we have no vacancies.” However, when he saw the look of despair on their faces, he said, “But I can’t send you away in such horrible conditions. You may have my room.”

Hesitatingly, they accepted his offer and settled in for the night. As they were leaving the next morning, the gentleman said to the clerk, “You are the kind of manager who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United States.”

Two years later that clerk, George Boldt, received a letter from the gentleman. It contained a round trip ticket to New York. Leading Mr. Boldt into a new hotel named the Waldorf-Astoria, the gentleman said, “I built this hotel for you to manage. My name is William Waldorf Astor.”

Solomon wrote, “Give generously, for your gifts will return to you later.” Giving involves both risk and opportunity, trust and adventure. But God demands it.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to reach out to those in need, knowing that You will honor our efforts and reward our deeds. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Ecclesiastes 11:1 Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Doubt Or Determination?

A group of mountain climbers was preparing to climb Mount Everest. As they stood at the foot of the mountain, a psychologist met with the group to interview them.

As the interview came to a conclusion, he asked one final question: “Will you make it to the top?”

Almost in unison, they responded, “I hope so.”

But Jim Whitaker said in a strong voice, “I will!” He was the only one from the group to make it to the top and the first American to reach the summit.

Doubt defeats, but courage conquers.

Jesus summed up this idea in just a few words. On one occasion He seemed to be chiding the disciples when He said, “What do you mean, ‘If I can?’ Anything is possible if a person believes!”

These words of Jesus do not mean that we can have anything we want if we just apply positive thinking. He wants us to understand that anything is possible if we believe, because everything is possible for God to accomplish through His disciples when we pray in a faith that believes. Prayer is not wishing for our wants. It is faith, trust, patience, and persistence at work wanting His will.

Prayer: We look to You, Lord, to answer our prayers as we pray in Your name, believing in Your Word to accomplish Your will. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Mark 9:23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Friday, August 26, 2011

Why Not The Best?

A doctor listened quietly as his patient carefully described his many symptoms. After reflecting on all of his complaints, the doctor said, “The best thing for you to do is to give up alcohol and all of the rich foods that you eat.” “Oh, me,” said the patient. “What’s the next best thing?”

Why is it that we are willing to accept what is second best when God wants to give us His very best?

Paul said, “As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more.” The key here is, “as the Spirit works within us.” Much like the patient, we must be willing to change. How? By allowing the Spirit to work within us if we want the very best that God has for us.

God has always wanted us to have His very best. We must never forget that we were made “in the image of God.” As we read, remember, and reflect on the teachings of God’s Word, our knowledge of Who He is and what He is really like deepens. Then the Holy Spirit can help us to change into the likeness of Christ, if and when we are willing to allow Him to make us our best!

Prayer: Help us, Father, to never settle for what is second best when Your desire for us is to be our very best. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Didn't Do It

Jimmy came home from school with a scowl on his face and anger in his voice. As he opened the back door, he began yelling, “It’s not fair. I’ve been punished for something I didn’t do!”

Wanting to comfort him, his mother said, “That’s terrible. What didn’t you do?”

“My spelling,” he replied.

Jimmy had probably done all of this other homework assignments. But somehow, he neglected to do his spelling.

On one occasion when Jesus was addressing the teachers of religious law and some Pharisees, He said to them, “You are careful to tithe the tiniest part of your income, but you ignore the important things of the law – justice, mercy and faith…You should not leave undone the important things!”

Could it be that we are like Jimmy? We pick and choose to do certain things required of Christians, but omit doing the things we do not enjoy doing – like spelling lessons? We can be obedient and disobedient at the same time! We may gladly give 10% of our income in tithe but refuse to extend a hand or a heart to someone who is sick or suffering, hurting or in need.

Prayer: Lord, may we realize that our obligations to You include loving the unloved and helping the helpless. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Matthew 23:23-24 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: (Read more…)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Easy Terms"

In the window of one of the more exclusive jewelry stores in New York was an exquisite display of crosses. Some were gold, some platinum, some had diamonds, and others cut jewels. All had expensive price tags. In front of the display was an embossed card stating the words: EASY TERMS.

No doubt the one who prepared the card was unfamiliar with the words of Jesus when he prayed, “If it is possible…let this hour pass.” And again, “Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

Jesus was very familiar with the role of the cross in the punishment of criminals. He certainly would have seen crucifixions as he traveled from one area to another. They were not hidden from sight of those passing by. They were public displays of extreme pain, humiliation, suffering, disgrace and dishonor. He knew what awaited Him and knew there was no other option, even though he asked His Father for a way out.

For Jesus, there were no EASY TERMS. He lived in the shadow of the cross and knowing the price that had to be paid for our salvation. What painful terms.

Prayer: Father, we can never understand the cost of our salvation. Give us grateful hearts as we think of Your cross. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Mark 8:31-38 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Read more…)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Hoist The Sails!"

Hudson Taylor, missionary to China, is well recognized for his faith and faithfulness to God. He is the founder of the China Inland Mission, and at his death had recruited over 800 missionaries who worked in the innermost sections of China.

Once, on a trip from England to China, he was on a sailing ship that was stranded for lack of wind. It drifted into a current that was taking it toward an island of cannibals. Alarmed, the captain of the ship went to Taylor and said, “We’re drifting into that cannibal island. Pray for wind.”

“I will,” said Taylor, “if you hoist the sails.” The captain hoisted the sails and Taylor began to pray. In just a few moments, the captain shouted, “Mr. Taylor, stop praying! We have more wind than we know what to do with.”

Taylor had things in their proper perspective. We often pray with little expectation of needing to “hoist the sails.” We pray and ask God for wind. But, faith and trust say, “hoist the sails” and then pray in faith, believing. You will get more wind than the sails can hold. Jesus said, “You can pray for anything and everything and if you believe, you have it. It’s yours!”

Prayer: Lord, we do believe, but ask that You will help us to increase our faith until it works as it should. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Mark 11:22-27 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. (Read more…)

Monday, August 22, 2011

I Did It All By Myself

Four-year-old Will came running to his Dad, shouting, “Look, Daddy, I pulled up this corn stalk all by myself!”

“Wow,” said his Dad, “you’re pretty strong.”

“Yep,” grinned the little guy, “and don’t forget that the whole world was pulling against me.”

Many are like little Will. They believe that they can take on the entire world, seen and unseen, by themselves – and win. But eternal life is something we cannot see. It is something, by faith, we must believe in.

Thomas, the Doubter, spoke for many of us. He once said to Jesus, “We haven’t any idea where You are going, so how can we know the way?”

One of the most basic passages in Scripture tells us that only through Christ can we know and find the way to God. If we trust in Jesus, we have His Word that we will become His child and that He will take us to His Father.

The world will do everything that it can to keep us earth bound. Jesus said, “I am the way” – He is our path; “I am the truth” – He is the only answer for eternal life; “and the life” – through His death, burial, and resurrection – we become one with Him for all eternity!

Prayer: We thank You, Father, for the clarity of Your Word, the simplicity of Your message, and the invitation to eternal life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: John 14:1-6 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. (Read more…)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Getting A Second Opinion

A farmer had been suffering from a rash on his leg and finally decided to visit a dermatologist to determine the cause. After a number of tests, the doctor was able to determine the cause. He called the farmer into his office and said, “Sir, after all of the tests and examinations, the results show that you are allergic to your dog. You will have to get rid of him.”

“No, sir,” replied the farmer emphatically. “It’s easier to get another doctor than another good bird dog. I’d rather get some other opinions and wait until I find someone who says I can keep my dog.”

There are many people who will not accept the fact that “There is salvation in no one else,” as Peter declared. This is not something that came from Peter or the other disciples; it came from Jesus Himself.

It was God’s decision to designate Jesus to be the Savior of the world. He has no equal and no one or no thing can take His place. It is important to be open-minded on many things, seeking information from many sources before making a decision. But God’s Word says: “There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call upon to save them.”

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for that name which is above every name, the name of Jesus, who can save us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Be Thankful!

It was the rush hour in New York. People were leaving work, anxious to get home – pushing, shoving, and glaring angrily at those not walking fast enough. The crowd seemed intent on getting where they were going with no one being concerned for the safety of others.

In the midst of it all was one man singing as loudly as he could. Sitting in a wheelchair, he was pushing himself along with his arms, being careful to avoid bumping or running into anyone.

A man, who had been walking alongside him, touched him gently on the arm. “Tell me, sir, you have been making your way through the crowd for quite some time. You have been singing loudly and smiling graciously. You have no legs, you have to push yourself in an old wheelchair, and yet you appear happy and joyful. How do you do it?”

Looking the stranger in the eye, the wheelchair-bound man said, “When I stopped looking at what I had lost, and began looking at what I had left, I realized that I could sing again.”

As Christians, we must realize that God will, if we allow Him, bring us His joy even in times of pain.

Prayer: Lord, even in sickness and suffering, may we sense Your peace and presence and give You thanks. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Forgotten By Everyone

Hattie Hollowell, at eighty-three, became known as, “The Forgotten Woman.” She spent three years and four months in a New York City jail, overlooked by the system and without being brought to trial. Her lawyer ignored her. Her family abandoned her. Her friends forgot her. However, when this tragedy was discovered, the legal machinery moved rapidly and she was released.

Perhaps there are days when we feel alone, deserted, unimportant, and ignored. It seems as though we make no difference to anyone. We are convinced that we are doomed to be forsaken by everyone forever.

God’s Word tells of the time when the Israelites felt forsaken by God. It was then that Isaiah reminded them that God could no more forget them than a loving mother could forget her little child. What a wonderful thought and marvelous truth: God Himself promises us that He will not forget us.

Whenever we feel that God has forgotten or forsaken us, we need to stop and correct our thinking. He knows the number of hairs on our head, the hurts of our hearts, and each little bird that falls from a tree. Perhaps, we have forsaken or forgotten Him.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to take You at Your Word when You promise never to leave us or forsake us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 49:14-15 Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? (Read more…)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What To Believe

Two burglars very proficiently disabled the alarm system and carefully picked the lock of a well-secured home. Just as they were quietly opening the door, a large guard dog suddenly appeared.

“Go in,” said one, confidently pushing the thief that was standing before him. “He’s OK, he is barking but wagging his tail.”

“True,” said the other. “But I don’t know which to believe.”

There are times when some of us struggle with the goodness of God’s grace and our salvation. We have questions about what we should really believe.

Someone might say, “You are too bad to be saved; the sins you have committed are beyond God’s forgiveness.” But the Lord says, “I came to call sinners, not the righteous to repentance.”

Another might say, “You are too young to be saved. You don’t understand what it means to be born again.” But God’s Word says, “Now is the accepted time.”

Others say, “I can’t hold out.” But His Word assures us, “He is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless!”

Prayer: Father, in times of doubt and defeat, may we keep our eyes on You and our faith in You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (Read more...)

Monday, August 15, 2011

When Doubt Destroys

Admiral Samuel DuPont, recognized by many as having played a significant role in the United States Navy, was victorious in many battles at sea. He is also credited with improving the curriculum at the Naval Academy and for his forward thinking in making navy ships more effective.

However, on one of his missions he suffered a humiliating defeat. He went to his commanding officer and presented his reasons for being defeated. After listening carefully, his superior said to him, “There’s one more reason. You did not believe you could do it.”

Our doubts defeat and destroy us. When we pray and doubt, doubt cancels our prayers and makes them ineffective. Faith and doubt cannot exist together in the same prayer.

On one occasion, Jesus said to His disciples, “Have faith in God…All that’s required is that you really believe and do not doubt in your heart…You can pray for anything and have it.” That’s a great beginning.

God only answers the prayers of believers, we must forgive others and have no grudges, we must pray unselfishly for things that benefit God’s Kingdom.

Prayer: Lord, we know the rules of prayer are quite simple - but not easy to fulfill. Help us to live right, do right, and pray right. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Mark 11:24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Overcoming Obstacles

When he was fifteen years old, he tried to catch a ride on a heavily loaded truck. He was unable to pull himself onto the moving truck and fell beneath the wheels. His left leg was badly crushed and the surgeon decided to cut it off, but he begged them not to remove it.

They eventually agreed with him and were very successful in the surgery and treatment that followed. However, they said to him, “Harold, Your leg has been too badly damaged. You will never play football again..”

“Yes I will!” he protested. After his release from the hospital, he faithfully exercised every day. Not only did he return to play high school football, he set records in high school as the nation’s highest scorer. He then went on to set many college and professional football records. To this day Harold “Red” Grange, the “Galloping Ghost,” is recognized as one of the nation’s greatest athletes. Some sports writers have said that he is the definition of football and no one will ever again do what he did with a football.

Imagine with me, what you or I could do for Christ if we had his dedication and determination.

Prayer: Father, help us to be willing to make every and any sacrifice necessary to serve You faithfully with all of our hearts and souls. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Good Morning, God!

Once, when Senator Talmadge was running for reelection, he decided to make a special effort to visit farmers. It was reported that when he asked the first farmer he met to vote for him, he was surprised at the response.

Said the farmer politely, “Can’t do that. I promised the other fellow that I would vote for him.”

“But,” said the politician, “I’ve done a lot for you in the past.”

“Yep, that’s right, Senator. But you ain’t done nothin’ for me lately,” came the reply.

Often, the past benefits and blessings of God are forgotten, not so with Jeremiah. Looking back, he wrote, “The unfailing love of the Lord never ends: great is His faithfulness.” Looking ahead, he said, “His mercies begin afresh each day. I say to myself, the Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will trust in Him.”

God willingly responds to our requests for help whenever we ask. Each morning when we awaken, we have the knowledge and assurance that He is with us. We can be confident that His great promises of the past assure us of His presence in the future. His love, grace, and mercy are always available.

Prayer: Lord, as we begin this day, we thank You for Your gifts in the past and what You will do for us today! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Lamentations 3:22-24 22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sitting Or Standing?

Young Timothy was running through the house as fast as his little legs could carry him. As he was going around a corner he slipped, fell, and broke his mother’s most expensive vase. Pointing at a chair, his mother raised her voice and said, “Sit!”

“I won’t!” he said defiantly.

Taking him by the shoulders she backed him into a chair, forcing him to sit down. As she was about to begin a lecture, he said boldly, “I may be sitting on the outside, but I’m still standing on the inside!”

Many Christians have the same attitude toward God. With hearts that are hard and minds that are determined, they stand before His presence with an attitude of defiance. Often, when we do not get what we want from God, we seem to raise our fists and say, “If You won’t give me what I want, I’ll get it on my own. I don’t need Your strength or power, I’ll use my own.”

A hardened heart is like a lump of hardened clay. There is nothing that can be done to restore it to its original condition so it can be molded once again. If we become stubborn and set in our ways, not wanting to be submissive to God’s will and ways, He may set us aside like a piece of hard, worthless clay.

Prayer: Father, may we realize that You do for us and give to us what it best for us. Give us open minds and willing hearts. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 95:6-11 Today, if you will hear His voice: “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, When your fathers tested Me; (Read more.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Who Is The Winner?

It was the end of the season and the teams were playing for the championship of the league. Hope and excitement were building as they came to the final inning of the game. The teams were scoreless.

There were two outs, a runner was on third and it was the pitcher’s turn to bat. Although he was a good pitcher, he was a poor hitter. Realizing the importance of the moment, the coach decided to bring in a pinch hitter. The count was full and the crowd was on their feet. On the next pitch, the batter singled into left field, a run scored, and they won the game.

How did the pitcher respond? Was he angry because he did not get the hit and drive in the run? No. He was the first one out of the dugout, running to the pinch hitter to congratulate him. He was delighted. Although he did not get the hit, he was credited with the win.

The writings of Paul reflect an amazingly selfless attitude. He realized that not all preachers had pure motives - some wanted recognition. But he said, “I rejoice because they are preaching about Christ.” There may be some Christians who do the right things for the wrong reasons, but thank God for their message.

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to do what we can, where we can, when we can to get Your message to the lost and dying. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Philippians 1:15-18 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: (Read more.)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Curiosity

Luther Burbank, the famous horticulturist, enjoyed entertaining and getting to know his guests. He always insisted that they sign his guest book before leaving. One column in the book asked the guests to describe their interests.

When Thomas Edison visited, Burbank asked him to be certain to sign his guest book. In the column where the guests were to describe their interests, Edison wrote the word, “Everything!”

His life reflected his interests. Among his many inventions were the phonograph, the telegraph, the incandescent light, the motion picture camera, light sockets, the dictating machine, iron ore products and wax paper.

The Bible tells the story of a short, determined, tax collector. He was desperately interested in seeing Jesus, but he could not see Him because he was so short and the crowds so large. He solved his problem by climbing a tree. Not only did he see Jesus, but Jesus also saw him and went to his home. As a result, Zacchaeus got saved. When our primary interest in life is to see Jesus, we can be assured that He will make Himself visible.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we look above the crowds and the things of life to seek, find, and know You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Luke 19:1-10 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Click to read more.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Importance Of Imagination

Clarence Saunders was the clerk in a small grocery store. He was often troubled when people said that there were not enough items available for them to make a good choice.

One day while he was standing in line in a cafeteria, he suddenly realized how attractive the food was and the wide selection of choices that were available. His imagination went to work and in his mind he saw grocery shelves stocked with many different brands. He then applied the self-help principal of a cafeteria to a grocery store, and the Piggly Wiggly grocery chain was born.

Imagination is a wonderful gift. It can be used to explore new ideas and creative ventures. On the other hand, it can destroy us if we use it to think thoughts that are damaging or destructive.

Whatever we put into our minds determines what will come out in words, actions, thoughts - and yes - our imaginations. Paul wisely advised us to “fix our minds on what is true, honorable, right, lovely, admirable and worthy of praise.” In other words, we are to program our minds with good things. If we do so, we will eliminate evil, dirty, and damaging thoughts that will result in behaviors that will destroy us and dishonor God. Think worthy thoughts; do worthy things!

Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to meditate on Your Word and Your truths so that we will think Godly thoughts. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Click for more.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Headwork And Hard Work

He was new at his job of painting yellow lines to divide the city streets. The first day he painted three miles. The second day he painted two miles. On the third day he painted one mile.

Noticing that his work was taking longer and the lines getting shorter, his supervisor went to him and asked, “What’s happening? You did three times as much work the first day as you did today and two times the work yesterday than you did today. What’s going on?”

“Well, sir,” came the reply, “I am getting further and further from the locker where we store the paint and it takes me longer to walk back and forth to get it.”

This is a great example of hard work instead of headwork. To be successful in life it takes both, especially, for the Christian.

The quality and quantity of our work is very important because it reflects our relationship with God.

Paul said, “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive His approval.” It is important for us to remember that God examines our work. There are times when what we do becomes boring or seems to be insignificant; but we must always remember that whatever we do, we are to do it for the glory of God.

Prayer: Lord, may we constantly remind ourselves that whatever we do represents You to those around us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Our Source Of Strength

The word strength comes from a word that means twisted together. We see it in the strands of hemp that are twisted together to make rope, or the many single pieces of thread that are twisted together to make twine. A strand of hemp or a single thread has little strength, but when many of them are twisted together they are much stronger.

Isaiah presents a remarkable role that God plays in the life of the Christian. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

What a powerful promise! God, the Creator, is willing to take away our fears, to bring order and peace when we are confused, and give us His strength to keep us from falling. He will replace our weaknesses with His strength, give us His wisdom to teach us, and His grace to sustain us when we are overwhelmed.

There is no reason for us to be kept in the grip of fear because God is with us. There is no reason for us to feel abandoned or neglected because we can have a relationship with Him for He is our God. There is no reason for us to feel weak because His strength is available to help us and hold us when we could fall.

Paul said, “All things through Christ!”

Prayer: Help us, Father, to depend upon You for all that we need – spiritually, emotionally and physically. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. (Read more…)