Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Really Matters!

Andrew Bradford was an early American printer in colonial Philadelphia. In fact, he printed the first newspaper in Pennsylvania in 1729. He also had the contract for all of the public printing in the state.

One day the governor delivered an important speech and Bradford printed it in his newspaper. It contained several mistakes. A young printer saw the poor work and decided to reprint it with care and precision and make it an excellent presentation of his workmanship. He then mailed a copy of it to the governor and his co-workers.

The next year when it was time to issue a new contract for state printing, it was awarded to that young printer: Ben Franklin. He received the contract for all of the public printing for the state of Pennsylvania because he understood what really mattered: excellence.

Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, said this: “For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives.” He wanted them to know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, what was important and what was unimportant, separating the vital from the trivial. He wanted them to have a desire for moral integrity and spiritual discernment. He wanted them to understand the importance of living their Christian values because what they did and how they behaved reflected the importance and meaning of salvation. Their lives were a reflection of what being a Christian was all about.

Paul also prayed that they would keep growing in knowledge and understanding which is the foundation for discernment. It is discernment to make the right choices.

Prayer: Lord, we pause and pray that we will be pure and blameless in all that we do so that our lives will be an excellent representation of You to those around us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Philippians 1:9-10 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,

Monday, November 28, 2011

Boomerang Buddies

Two friends in Australia enjoyed throwing boomerangs together. Over the years they devised various contests to see who was the best. One day, in an act of kindness, one of them gave the other a new boomerang.

When they got back together a short time later, the friend showed up with his old boomerang.

“What happened with the new boomerang I gave you?” he asked. “How does it perform?”

“I don’t know,” came the answer. “I’m still trying to throw this old one away but it keeps coming back!”

The Apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from every wrong.”

True confession not only involves repentance for our sins but a commitment to Christ not to continue in sin. If we are genuinely sincere when we confess our sins, we will also become conscious of how we live and what we can do to avoid repeating the sins we have committed in the past. The desire to sin can be very much like a boomerang – the temptation to go back to our sins of the past comes back again and again.

It may be that when we confess our sins, we lack a certain sense of sincerity or genuineness. Perhaps there is such an attractiveness or appeal to some sins that our desire to truly repent and give them up is only half-hearted and insincere.

God knows our minds and the desires of our hearts. If we truly want victory over sin and are anxious to flee every temptation that lead to sin, we must commit ourselves completely to Christ and pray for His strength to guide, guard, protect and empower us.

Prayer: Give us Your strength, Lord, to live close to You and draw upon Your power to defeat temptation the next time, and every time, we face it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give Thanks In All Things

When four-year-old Sammy awoke after surgery, the nurse explained that it would be necessary for him to be fed intravenously for the next few days.

After assuring him that everything would be fine, she began the process to administer the glucose. Always in the habit of giving thanks before each meal, Sammy asked in a brave and cheerful voice, “Aren’t you going to give thanks?”

It is not easy to give thanks in painful situations. Nor is it natural to see God’s goodness in all of life’s trials and troubles. But the Apostle Paul reminds us to “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

When we give thanks, we acknowledge our confidence in the Lord, knowing that He cares for us. When we give thanks, we express our closeness to God, realizing that He is with us in every situation. When we give thanks, we declare that we are willing to accept the counsel of God knowing that His will is being done.

Prayer: Dear Lord, may I learn the grace of giving thanks to You in all of life’s situations. Help me to realize that You are always with me, watching, protecting, providing and guiding me in every area of life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (Read more…)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Where Are You Going?

A lady backed out of her parking place in a large mall during a blizzard and was having a difficult time seeing. A few feet from her car were the blinking lights of a snow plow. She decided to follow it, thinking it would take her safely to the exit.

After a few twists and turns the operator of the snow plow stopped, got out of his warm cab and went to the window of her car and asked, “Where are you going?”

“To the exit,” she answered.

“Well then,” he said, “don’t follow me. I’m only here to plow the parking lot.”

Everyone needs a leader to follow. As Christians, we are blessed to have a Leader who can lead us safely through life – One who knows what is best for us and believes in us and is a faithful encourager. The Christian’s Leader is one who knows our strength and weaknesses and will never call us to do what He knows is beyond our skills, abilities and potential to grow.

Jeremiah said, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” The Prophet here is assuring us that God has an individual plan for each of our lives and that it is a good plan and because of that, we can have faith in Him and be filled with hope for our future. Because God has planned our future, He knows what we will need to do what He will call us to do.

This does not mean that we will not have difficult days or trying times, that we will be spared hardships or heartaches. But it does mean that God will see us through pain and sorrow and lead us to victory. We have His promise that He will lead us through the valleys and shadows into His glorious presence.

Prayer: How thankful we are, Lord, that You have a plan that has been designed especially for each of us. May we be faithful to trust and follow You all the days of our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Have A Good Time

Charles Darwin was known to be a chronic complainer. He seemed to enjoy life more when he could find things to gripe about.

One evening he and his wife attended a banquet. He found the food distasteful and the speech dull, the guests boring and the chairs uncomfortable. He could find nothing to enjoy and no one could meet his expectations.

As he and Mrs. Darwin were leaving the gathering, the hostess said apologetically, “I noticed that your husband was upset. We really wanted him to have a good time.”

“Oh my,” said Mrs. Darwin, “he had a wonderful time. He was able to find fault with everything.”

In his letter to the Philippians Paul wrote, “In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing.” Good advice!

Complaining and arguing are the behaviors of individuals who are self-centered and self-consumed. It is the exact opposite of how Christians are to live.

It is the responsibility of Christians to advance the Kingdom of God, not their personal goals and desires. Those who know and love Christ are always filled with a sense of their own inadequacy and willingly recognize their need for His mercy and grace.

The fact that we are in Christ should keep us humble and thankful as we recognize all that He has done for us. The more we recognize His greatness and our unworthiness, the less we will find to complain about in others and in things around us. We must be careful, at all times, to guard against being self-centered and self-consumed. It will not only destroy others but us as well.

Prayer: We pray, Lord, for eyes that can see the needs of others, minds that recognize ways we might help others and hearts that are filled with compassion to reach out to help them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Philippians 2:14 Do all things without complaining and disputing,

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's Part Of The Gift

A new convert to Christianity wanted to show his love for his new found Lord. To do so, he brought a beautiful sea shell to the missionary, John Patton, who led him to Jesus.

“Where did you find such a beautiful prize?” he asked the native.

“I walked many miles,” he answered, “and I crossed a mountain to the bay on the other side of the island.”

“I’m so very sorry,” said the missionary, “that you had to walk so far to get it.”

“The long walk,” said the native, “is part of the gift.”

In Mark’s Gospel we read the heart-gripping story of the poor widow who put all that she had – two pennies – in the collection box in the Temple. Jesus had been watching the people as they presented their gifts. He saw the rich as they gave their large gifts as well as the widow. But it was the gift of the widow that touched the heart of Jesus.

So, He called His disciples together and said, “This poor widow has given more than all of the others. For they gave a tiny portion of their surplus, but she, as poor as she is, has given everything she has.” Her gift was the smallest, but in His eyes it was the largest of all.

The value of the gifts we give to the Lord does not depend on the amount; it depends on the spirit in which it is given. If we give grudgingly or to be recognized, it cancels the real value of our giving. God is always pleased when we give from a heart that is filled with gratitude for the many gifts He has given us. Much more than the size of our gift is the depth of appreciation that we have for His mercy and grace that He so willingly gives us.

Prayer: Lord, may we willingly give to You as You so graciously and mercifully give to us, all that we have or ever will have, because of Your unending love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Mark 12:41-44 “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” (Read more...)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Is There Any Difference?

The citizens of Italy have a unique way of entering into a new year. Beginning with an extravagant display of fireworks, followed by noise making and dancing in the streets, they end up the celebration by getting rid of the old and embracing the new.

To get rid of the old “stuff” in their lives, they gather all of their worn out clothing, furniture, china, silverware and utensils and throw them out of their windows. It’s dangerous to be outside when the celebration begins!

Paul said that the Christian is to “throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life which is rotten through and through…(and replace it with)…a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.”

Our behavior is an outward expression of the thoughts and attitudes that we allow to control our minds. And if people see no difference in our behavior after we say that we have become followers of Christ, there is a problem. When we are born again, we receive a new nature that enables us to become new people in Christ. We now live in and through the power of the Holy Spirit. And if we invest time in studying His Word, in meditating on His truth and talking with Him in prayer, we will be constantly changing and becoming more of who God wants to us be. Our lives will reflect the promise that in Him we can become a new creation.

God begins a process of change in our lives that flows from our heads to our hearts and from our hearts to our lives. But unless we plant new thoughts and ideas in our minds that come from His Word, we cannot expect others to see any difference in our lives. Our old way of life becomes a thing of the past.

Prayer: Convict us, Heavenly Father, of those areas in our lives that fail to reflect our new nature. And may Your Spirit work in us to be who You have called us to be in Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 4:20-24 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Read more…)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Threat Of Talking Too Much

Arthur Rubenstein began playing the piano at the age of three. Before he was five years old, he performed his first concert before a large audience. He went on to become one of the world’s most famous and celebrated pianists.

Once, during his career, he developed a difficult and persistent case of hoarseness, almost losing his voice. The press began to release reports that he had developed cancer. As a result of all that was being said, he decided to consult with a throat specialist.

After a thirty-minute consultation, the doctor shaking his head said, “Come back tomorrow, Mr. Rubenstein.” That frightened the pianist and he spent a sleepless night, tossing and turning.

The next day, after a much longer and more thorough examination, the pianist with a frightened look on his face, asked the doctor, “What’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing,” said the doctor, “except that you talk too much.”

Solomon wisely warned us saying, “Don’t talk too much, for it fosters sin. Be sensible and turn off the flow.”

Talking is natural and normal, but rarely neutral. We all have opinions about nearly everything and almost everyone we know. Even though most of our opinions and observations are accurate, there are times when they may be incorrect. And even though we think that we may be “speaking the truth in love,” our words may be harmful and hateful, bringing damage or destruction to the lives of others. Better not to speak at all than to speak words that can never be erased and bring pain and suffering to others.

Prayer: Lord, “May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts, always be acceptable to You” and therefore helpful to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Indispensible?

Walter Damrosch became a world famous conductor before he was thirty years old. But with his fame came pride. And with his pride, arrogance.

As he rose to a place of prominence in the world of music, he became convinced that no one could take his place. One day while getting ready for a rehearsal, he could not find his baton. Walking to the podium in front of the orchestra, he asked, “Does anyone here have an extra baton?”

Immediately, three men in the orchestra reached into their instrument cases and produced a baton for his use. It was a sobering moment in his life and from that moment on, he never regarded himself as indispensable. He realized he needed help from others.

The Psalmist cried, “He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters.”

David wrote this psalm when he was helpless and weak, tired and tried. He was well aware of the fact that only God could rescue him from the enemies that were about to overcome him. He was defenseless and vulnerable. But not without hope or God’s help.

There are those times in life when we feel that we are in deep waters that are swirling swiftly around us. We stretch out our arms and cry for help but no one seems to be available to take us by the hand and rescue us.

When this happens, we must believe that God can either deliver us in an instant or, perhaps, teach us to depend on Him to support or strengthen us during difficult times in our life. Either way we must learn to trust Him completely believing His way is best.

Prayer: Father, help us to understand that You only want what is best for us and that You will always protect us, hold us close to Your side, and never leave us alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 18:16 He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Available And Helpful

General George Washington came upon a company of soldiers who were building a wall with logs. As they were lifting one of the larger logs, the platoon leader was trying to show his importance to the men and a few bystanders by standing to one side and shouting orders.

“Up with it!” he shouted. “Now push, push, push again,” he commanded. But the log was too heavy and it rolled from its perch.

“What’s wrong with you?” he growled. “Try again, and this time I want to see the log make it to the top!” he screamed.

Just as it was about to fall again, Washington leaped forward and helped them. And with his assistance, they succeeded.

“Why didn’t you help them?” asked Washington.

“I’m a corporal, their leader,” he replied.

“Oh, well I’m only the Commander in Chief,” said the General. “The next time you have a log too heavy for your men, call me.”

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians and advised them to “be kind to each other...tenderhearted” as was Christ. We see in Him the ultimate picture of what kindness is and what being tenderhearted is all about.

Whenever He saw the sick, He healed them. Whenever He was with the hungry, He fed them. Whenever there was grief, He consoled them. Whenever there was confusion, He pointed the way. Whenever there was doubt, He presented the truth. We see in Jesus the ultimate “help-giver”. Wherever He was, whatever the need, whoever was lacking, He made up the difference.

Prayer: Please, Lord, give us eyes to see, ears to hear and strength to use in meeting the needs of those who cry out for Your grace and mercy in times of distress and difficulty. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Needed: Assistants Not Advisors

In a famous Peanuts cartoon, Lucy is shouting from the outfield to Charlie Brown who was pitching, “Let’s win this one for a change, Charlie Brown!”

When he threw the next pitch, the batter hit the ball toward Lucy. Standing there, she watched the ball bounce and made no attempt to catch it.

In desperation Charlie Brown shouted, “If you are interested in winning, Lucy, why didn’t you try to catch the ball?”

“My role is strictly advisory,” she replied.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul spoke sternly about roles. “My job was to plant the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but God gave the increase.”

Paul filled many roles in the early church. He was an evangelist, missionary, church-founder, author, educator and mentor to many of the leaders following Pentecost. What he did, he did well. But he knew that he could not do it all. He recognized the need for others to come alongside him and bring to completion the work that he started. It was the responsibility of Apollos to water the seed that Paul planted and to help the believers to grow stronger in their new found faith – to build on the foundation that Paul established.

We recognize the fact that God brings about the growth in Christians, but it involves many different individuals with a variety of gifts and talents to complete the process. Many Christians want to suggest to others what they should do. Few want to serve and share in expanding His Kingdom.

When we face our Lord we will not be asked, “Who have you directed?” but “What have you done?”

Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to turn our saving faith into serving love by accepting our responsibilities to do what we are called to do whether planting, watering or weeding. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. (Read more…)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Seeing What Is Not Seen

When Michelangelo was a young boy and determined to become an artisan, he went to visit a sculptor. Knowing of his interest in bringing objects to life, the artist gave him a young man half chiseled out of marble. For years he kept the object by his side and looked forward to the day when he would be able to free figures from stone.

Jesus possessed the ability to see what men and women could become. In John’s Gospel the story of Andrew bringing Simon to Jesus reflects this ability. “When Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus, looking intently at Simon, Jesus said ‘You are Simon, the son of John – but you will be called Cephas, which means Peter.’”

In this intriguing story, Jesus looked at Simon and saw his potential – who he could and who he would become. That is precisely why He gave him a new name which meant Peter – which in Greek meant “Rock.”

Throughout the Gospels, Peter is not portrayed as being one who is “rock-solid” – an immovable object that would make a foundation safe and secure. But over time, as he grew in His faith and did the work of his Lord, he did become a solid rock for the faith that was established in the early church. By giving him such a significant name, Jesus introduced him to the person he would become by the grace of God.

What Peter became through the grace of God is what each of us can become. Peter tried and failed but he did not give up. He denied Jesus and turned his back on Him but he did not leave Him. Though he faltered and failed, he was one who never failed to follow Jesus and eventually become who God wanted him to be.

Prayer: Lord, we admit that we often fail in being and doing what You have planned for us. But give us a heart-desire to never leave You nor forsake You as we struggle to please You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: John 1:40-42 Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone). (Read more...)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Life Long Decision

One Sunday morning, Stuart Henry, Director of Graduate Studies in Religion at Duke University, met one of his students who was walking on the sidewalk toward him.

Professor,” asked the student, “did you decide to go to church this morning?”

“No,” he answered, “I didn’t make the decision to go to church this morning. I made it fifty years ago when I first became a Christian. It is never a decision of whether or not I’ll go to church, but where I’ll go to church wherever I am.”

Paul, writing to the Christians in Rome said, “let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do!”

What a challenge to Christians! God wants to transform us into new persons by changing the way we think. He begins this process of renewal when we surrender our will completely to Him to do what He would have us to do. Certainly, if God has a plan for the universe, He must have a unique plan for each of us – for we are His children through the work of His Son on the cross.

If there is no change in our lives and if our behavior is no different from the worldly behavior of the unsaved, we have not allowed the Holy Spirit to renew our minds. We know that our minds have been renewed when Godly thoughts seep down into our hearts and we refuse to conform to the world’s values and standards. We become different by the choices we make and the choices we make reflect the goodness and grace of God. We are willing to lay aside our desires and follow Him. We gladly put all of our energy and gifts at His disposal and became willing to sacrifice our lives to His will and our ways to His way. This act of surrender arises from the gratitude we have for His salvation.

Prayer: We pray, Heavenly Father, that we will allow Your Holy Spirit to renew our minds and redirect our lives to reflect the transformation that You brought to our hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Light At The End

Not far from my home was a lengthy covered bridge. My first visit was a frightening experience. Before we drove through the bridge my uncle stopped just inside of the entrance. Looking behind me I saw the large opening and the glowing sunlight. But when I looked before me, I said, “Look out, Uncle Ed. You can drive in but you won’t be able to get out because the hole at the other end is too small for the car.”

I soon discovered that I was wrong. When we drove out of the bridge, the “hole” at the end of the bridge was bigger than I thought it was and the problem was solved.

Sometimes life is like that. The “little hole” we look through may seem small and insufficient for our passage. The darkness surrounds us and the light is not bright enough for us to see our way clear. Doubts and fears overwhelm us.

Yet as we face the fears and doubts, with the Lord’s help, we can get through them. As we read in Proverbs, “The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.”

In the Bible, light stands for wisdom and righteousness. When we are surrounded by darkness and there is little light to give us a sense of where God is leading us, we must stand fast and trust in His wisdom and know that because of His righteousness we are safe. As we learn to trust in His Word, we will gain confidence in Him and the journey He has prepared for us. We will learn that where He is leading us and what He is doing with us and through us is in keeping with His will for us. Although it may be difficult for us to believe that the “full light of day” is coming, we have the promises in His Word that it will.

Prayer: Give us the faith, Father, to believe that we are safe and secure as long as we trust in You and follow the directions You have given us in Your Word to follow in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Look For The Weak Spot

A stonecutter said to his apprentice, “Watch as I break this large stone.” He then began to tap it gently in different places.

The apprentice said impatiently, “Give me the hammer and chisel. I can hit it harder.”

“Oh, I can, too,” came the reply, “but I’m looking for a weak spot.”

Suddenly the teacher found it. Hitting it with force, he broke the stone with one stroke.

That’s the way the devil works: he looks for our weak spot and then attacks us. We rarely realize that we are under constant and viscous attacks by the forces of evil to get us to give in to temptation and sin.

If we are to be successful and withstand his attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor.

Paul said that we are to “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the devil.”

Paul reminds us that we are not fighting against “flesh and blood” but against demons over whom Satan has control. And these demons are not something that exist in our fantasies, but they are very real. As Christians we must realize that the goal of the demons is to defeat us and destroy the church. We must be ever vigilant and realize that they will do anything and everything to find our “weak spot” and lead us back to sin. We are assured that victory can be ours but we will be in this struggle until Christ returns.

To be victors in this battle, we need the supernatural power of Christ to defeat Satan. This power is available to us through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us and will protect us.

Prayer: We pray, Savior, that when we are tempted and tried that we will call upon You for Your strength knowing that “all the powers of hell will not conquer Your church.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:10-18 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Read more…)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Defeating Denial

It was a hard-fought football game and a tough loss for the home team. Following the game a father asked his son, “Why did your team lose?”

“Well, Dad,” he answered, “the other team found a hole in our line and took advantage of it.”

“Why didn’t you close the hole?” asked the father.

“I tried, Dad,” he explained, “but I just couldn’t do it. I wasn’t strong enough.”

It is much easier to blame others for our failures than to admit that we may be the cause of a problem. That is called denial. But denial only keeps the problem going and the solution beyond our reach. Once we can admit “what is,” with God’s help we can deal with everything that He brings into our lives.

If we are able to admit that we have failed at anything or something large or small, whether it occurred yesterday or today, we can begin to learn from our experiences. And from our experiences comes insight; from insight comes wisdom; from wisdom comes learning; and from learning comes the lessons that we can apply to all of the opportunities that God brings into our lives.

Paul said that “I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” Whatever God brings into our lives is His will. And the strength we need to face and be victorious over anything and everything that He brings to us, will come from Him and our commitment to doing it. We cannot expect His strength to subdue things that do not concern Him or are not in His will for our lives. But if we are doing what He would have us to do, the victory will come from Him.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to look to You for the strength we need to do what You would have us to do and to be willing to give You the credit for our success. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Men Of God - Where Are You?

The president of a large corporation was so challenged and inspired after he read the book, Men Of God, that he called the local book store to order 375 copies for his key leaders. After explaining his request for the books, the sales associate said, “I’m sorry, but we don’t have 375 Men Of God in Chicago, why don’t you try Detroit.”

How do we recognize these so called Men Of God? Who are they and where can we find them? Paul wrote to Timothy that God gave us His inspired Word that “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.” Because the whole Bible contains God’s specific directions to lead and guide those who would become “men of God,” it is to be read, studied and applied to one’s life everyday. It is the standard for our conduct and will provide us with the guidance and direction we need to show the world God’s love, salvation and hope. It is the only source of instruction for what God wants us to do.

In the Bible we will discover what is true, what is right, what is just and what is required of both men and women of God. In it we will find the strength to do what He wants us to do and the truth that will give us the courage and confidence we need to be His disciples and witness His love, grace, mercy and salvation to others. Through its teaching we will find light for our paths and guidance for decisions, insight for our problems and hope when we cannot see beyond our moments of despair.

If we choose to commit ourselves to become “men and women of God,” we will find everything we need to know about the journey in His Word. And when we begin, He will be with us!

Prayer: Lord, may we strive to become men and women of God through a life of surrender and service to You and those for whom You died. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Give To Receive

GIVE TO RECEIVE

It was Jayne’s turn to return thanks before the evening meal. With all heads bowed, eyes closed and hands joined for prayer, the inquisitive five-year old said, “Thank you Lord, for the potatoes!”

“Potatoes?” exclaimed her father. “We’re not having potatoes, we’re having pizza!”

“I know, Dad,” came the response. “I was just wondering if God was listening to me.”

Peter reminds us to “Give all our worries and cares to God, for He cares what happens to us.” We often, without thinking, become overwhelmed with the issues and problems of life, forgetting that God is always available whenever we call upon Him. When we labor under the stress and strain of life, neglecting to call upon the Lord, we are admitting that we do not trust God or perhaps even convince ourselves that God is not interested in our well-being. Or could it be that we are so proud that we think we can handle life by ourselves?

Going to God with the cares, small and large, begins with humility and is followed by honesty. To admit that we need God’s help in the everyday issues reveals our need for His guidance and our desire for Him to be a vital part of everything in our lives. Humility expresses our need for Him and honesty demonstrates that we choose not to try to hide anything from Him. Humility bows before Him and honesty opens our heart to Him and allows us to admit our faults and failures and our need for His grace.

Prayer: We know, Father, that what concerns us concerns You because we are Your children. May we open our hearts in love and with trust, knowing You are there to help us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Weather Master

A meteorologist and minister enjoyed playing golf each Saturday morning. One morning, just as they were about to begin their game, a fierce thunderstorm greeted them. They ran to the clubhouse through the cold rain and driving wind. As they sat looking at the dark clouds and soggy grass, they wondered if the sun would ever shine again.

With no relief in sight the preacher said to the weatherman, “You’d think that between the two of us we could do something. But we may as well give up. It’s here to stay.”

Once when Jesus was crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat with His disciples, a fierce storm developed and threatened to destroy them. In fear, these experienced and expert fishermen awakened Jesus shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

Calmly Jesus rebuked the wind and raging waves and calmed the sea. Then putting them to the test He asked, “Where is your faith?” Filled with awe they wanted to know, “Who this man was who could control the seas.”

Often when we are caught in the storms of life and overwhelmed by clouds of despair, we can easily fear that God has lost control of things and that we are at the mercy of fate. Not so! God is sovereign and we must remind ourselves of the question He asked His disciples: “Where is your faith?”

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to realize that Your strength and power, peace and healing is available to rescue and save us when we turn to You in faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Luke 8:22-25 Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” (Read more…)