Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How To Recognize Our Value

At the end of each season in each major sport, someone is recognized as being the most valuable player. In 1942, the Most Valuable Player of the Year Award in the American League was given to a player who made the most errors, hit into more double plays than anyone else and also struck out more than any other player. His name was Joe Gordon. He was also named into the baseball players Hall of Fame.

We can learn much from Joe Gordon. Even though he failed in some categories more than other players he did not allow his failures to be final. He did not give up nor refuse to do his best. He persisted through his problems and kept struggling to be successful. And he was! Rather than giving up he stood up, faced his problems and focused on his goal: to be his best and do his best.

Paul said, “Work with enthusiasm (and) remember that God will reward each one of us for the good we do…” This word of encouragement is a point well worth pondering.

There are times, for the Christian, that we work hard and do our best to be faithful in the tasks that God brings our way. We serve without notice and with little recognition. It seems as though no one cares because no one comments. But God does indeed care and one day He will make a comment: Well done, good and faithful servant.

Prayer: Lord, for all who are weary in well doing and continue to serve You faithfully, we ask that someone somewhere will recognize the good they have done. In Your Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Courage!

Anne Lindbergh was a highly respected author as well as an aviator. Once, while visiting with a Japanese friend she remarked, “I understand that the Japanese honor the bamboo for prosperity and the pine for long life. But why is the plum honored for courage?”

“Because,” replied her friend, “the plum puts forth blossoms while the snow is on the ground. That takes courage.”

Courage is not the absence of fear – it is the willingness to face fear. It is not avoiding danger and hardship because we do not want what may come from them – but the determination to face danger and hardship with confidence and resolution. Courage is our willingness to accept new surroundings and situations knowing that God is with us, will protect us and provide for our safety and security if we go forward in His strength.

Think of Joshua. He was responsible to lead two million people into a strange new land and conquer it. The words strange and new are enough of a warning to frighten most of us and cause us to withdraw from a situation in fear. But that was not an option for him. Many tasks God calls us to do are challenging, frightening and appear overwhelming. But God will not put us in any situation without giving us the strength and skills to succeed. When God calls us to battle He equips us to win.

Prayer: Give us the faith and trust, Heavenly Father, to know that You love us too much to abandon us or will neglect to prepare us for every challenge we face. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Joshua 1:6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Hand Of God

Someone estimated that humans breathe eighteen times a minute, approximately 1,080 times an hour and about 25,000 times a day. That amounts to 912,500,000 breaths a year - a staggering number!

Our lungs are critical to our well-being. They provide our blood with oxygen that nourishes our brain that allows us to think. They are the exhaust system that removes carbon dioxide and water. If we stop breathing we die.

Yet, we are rarely aware of a single breath that we take or the importance of breathing until we have a serious cough or illness.

So often we take this simple yet critical gift from God for granted. We inhale and then exhale. Occasionally we breathe in more deeply than at other times and we can feel our lungs expand and contract. We even hear the noise that comes from exhaling.

What a wonderful gift from God. A gift that provides life! The Bible says that “For the life of every living thing is in His hand, and the breath of all humanity.”

How very easy it is for each of us to go through life unaware and ungrateful for the simple gifts that God gives us. Rarely do we pause and think, then give thanks to Him for His simple yet significant gifts that make life possible and purposeful.

Let’s breathe a prayer of thanksgiving now!

Prayer: Father, we rejoice in the goodness of Your gifts that we rarely recognize. Give us grateful hearts for all of Your blessings, especially the breath of life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Job 12:10 In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?

Friday, February 24, 2012

What Does It Take?

The founder of a successful company was being interviewed by a reporter from a large daily newspaper. His first question was, “What does it take to succeed?”

After a moment’s thought he replied, “The same thing is took to get started. A sense of urgency and excitement.”

That answer is certainly true if one wants to be successful in developing and managing a business. And it is also true if one wants to succeed in the Christian life.

No one has ever expressed this truth any more powerfully than the Apostle Paul. Hear him, “...I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: I am straining to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling me.”

God has one goal for everyone - that we will become like Christ! And if we choose to achieve that goal it will take all of our energies just as it took all of Paul’s energies.

Paul said that he focused on “this one thing” - this one goal. He had the mind and heart and focus of an athlete in training. And when athletes are in training, they set aside everything that is harmful or hurtful and anything that might distract them or destroy their commitment to their goal of victory.

The Christian formula for success must include urgency and excitement and also dedication and focus.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to make those adjustments in our lives that are necessary if we want to be successful Christians. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Philippians 3:12-14 forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Read more...)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mind Your Thoughts!

It was a beautiful day in the mountains. The crisp, clean air and the morning sun combined to create a sense of magic. Gary decided that he would take a long, leisurely drive to the many vistas in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Shortly after he started his trip a tire went flat. Easing to the side of the road he parked his car and got out. When he opened up his trunk and looked inside, he discovered that his jack was missing. He went to the middle of the road and looked for any signs of life. Off in the distance he saw a cabin. His heart began to beat with hope thinking there would be someone there to help him.

As he walked along the road he began to think, “What if the person living there does not have a jack?” Then he thought, “What if he has a jack and won’t lend it to me? And why should he lend it to me since he doesn’t even know me? I doubt if he will even open the door.”

He was so agitated that by the time he got to the cabin he was shaking all over. Climbing the steps, he paused and knocked on the door. When the resident opened it, he blurted out, “Keep your jack. I didn’t want to use it anyhow,” and hit him in the jaw.

Our thoughts shape our attitudes and our attitudes shape our behavior and our behavior tells others who we really are.

Prayer: Father, may we, as Your Word advises us, “Fix our hearts on what is good and true and right” and show grace and gratitude to everyone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:8 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.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

No One Can Replace Him!

Thomas Jefferson was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was also the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. One of his other roles was as a minister of the United States to France.

When he went to France to serve America, he presented his credentials to the French premier. As he looked at them, the premier said, “I see you’ve come to replace Benjamin Franklin.”

“No sir,” came his response. “I’ve come to succeed him. No one can replace him!”

And that is true of each of us: No one can replace us or is equipped to do the work that God has planned for us to do. What a sobering thought.

Even as our fingerprints are unique and will never be given to another person, so are the tasks and responsibilities that God has set before us. We are an “original” with our own set of credentials.

Our worth is not dependent on what we do but on who we are in Christ. Our worth does not come from what we have been able to achieve or accomplish but from God’s mercy and grace. Our worth is revealed in the price God paid for our redemption through the death of Christ on the cross.

God has something unique for each of us to do as “His minister” to His World. No one can replace us!

Prayer: May we accept our responsibility, Lord, to do what You would have us to do, knowing that You have chosen us and prepared us for something special. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Revelation 2:19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What's In Your Mouth?

Legend has it that in old Tibet whenever people met they would face each other, bend low and open both of their hands. This was done to let the other person know that they held no weapons.

Then they would straighten up, take a step back and open their mouths wide to let the other person know that their mouths contained no wicked words.

What would happen if we had a custom like that today? How would our world and our lives be different? Imagine what it would be like if we even entertained the idea that people could search our mouths for “wicked words.”

David wrote in a Psalm, “Take control of what I say, O Lord, and keep my lips sealed.” James wrote that “the tongue is a small thing but what enormous damage it can do.”

Someone said that the average person opens his mouth an average of 700 times a day to speak. That does not include the number of words, either. With the use of the cell phone today the number has no doubt increased!
We rarely consider the significance of the words that come out of our mouths until we see their results. Too often we speak first and then think. We need to turn the process around: think first and then speak.

Words, once spoken, can never be retrieved. They become part of eternity. We must use them to honor God.

Prayer: Lord, we ask that You fill our minds with Your thoughts, our hearts with Your love and our mouths with words that speak of Your grace, mercy and hope. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Which Hand?

“Grandma,” said little Josie, “did you know that God created the world with His left hand?”

“My goodness, Honey, wherever did you get that idea? What do you mean He used His left hand?” asked Grandma.

“The way I figure it,” she explained, “God had to use His left hand because Jesus was sitting on His right hand.”

Josie heard the story in Sunday school and in her childlike faith accepted its truth. How precious is a faith that believes. And although we may not know all of the details, God reveals Himself and His plan for His creation and His children, us, in His Word. But there is another thought we must remember when we think about where Jesus is. His final words to His disciples were, “Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

What does it mean when He said, “I am with you?” Simply this: Jesus was with His disciples physically as He went about His work while on earth and after His resurrection until He ascended into heaven. Now, He is with us through the work of the Holy Spirit. He knew there would be difficult days and trying times for His disciples then and now. So He gave His Word, “I am with you until the end.” To those who accept Him as Savior there is no fear that they need face life alone.

Prayer: How blest we are, Father, to know that You are with us every moment of our lives. Give us a peace that comes from Your presence as we faithfully serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Attitudes Make The Difference

His lifelong ambition was to become the CEO of the successful business his father founded. He dreamed about the day he would have a corner office overlooking the skyline of New York with a secretary to bring him coffee each morning.

Then reality set in. The day before he was to begin his career his father said, “Son, you'll start at the bottom just as I did. Your first job will to be to water the hundreds of plants in our building.”

His hopes dashed and his dreams shattered, he refused to become discouraged. The next morning he came to work with his new business card that read: “Plant Manager.”

We cannot always control our circumstances but we can control our attitude. Whatever happens in our lives happens because God has something special for us to do in that particular situation. This does not mean that what happens to us is good. Rather, it means that God is able to turn every circumstance of our lives into something that will eventually be good for us. We must remember that God is not working to make us happy. He is working in us to complete the work that began in our lives when we received Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. His goal is to fashion and form us into the likeness of His Son so that we will be enabled and equipped to fulfill the purpose He has for us.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to refuse to be disturbed or destroyed by the disappointments of life. May we accept and believe that all things work together for our good. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Daddy, Did God Die?

Climbing up in her father’s lap, little Nancy asked, “Daddy, did God die?”

Stunned, he responded quickly, “No, of course not! Why on earth would you ask?”

“Well,” she replied timidly, “you never seem to talk to Him anymore and I was just wondering.”

We find in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke two passages of Scripture that are called “The Lord’s Prayer.” Both of them contain a phrase stating that we are to go to God each day for our “daily bread” – our nourishment.

Praying for our bread each day means that we are acknowledging Him not only as the Creator, but as our Sustainer and Provider. It is important for us who acknowledge Him as our Lord to also recognize that He alone is the One who meets our every need.

When we allow “gaps” in our prayer life we begin to think that we are self-sufficient and can go through life without Him. But it is a misconception to think that we can provide for any of our needs on our own. We must always remember that every heartbeat, every breath, every movement, every sensation is a gift from God. Without His grace and goodness we would be without everything that we have.

When we pause, ask for and give thanks for our daily bread, let’s also remember that He gives so much more than the bread we eat. Everything is from “above.”

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for being so generous in meeting all of our needs. May we always be aware of Your grace, mercy, love and presence in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How Can I Know For Certain?

A television producer in Great Britain was in the process of developing a series on Heaven and Hell. He wanted to make certain that his facts were right so he decided to call the office of the Archbishop.

“How can I be certain that the position of the Roman Catholic Church on Heaven and Hell is correct and that what you are teaching is true?”

Back came the answer, “Die.”

Perhaps the best, shortest, simplest and most complete summary of the Good News comes from Paul and Silas while in prison. When the jailer asked them what he needed to do to be saved they answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” There is nothing more and certainly nothing less for anyone to do to be born again and be assured of life everlasting.

But they did not stop with a message that was for the jailer only. They wanted him to know that his family was also included in the invitation. So they said, “Along with your entire family!” - which also included the jailer’s servants.

We must always remember that it was not the jailer’s faith that brought salvation to his household. Each of them had to come to Jesus in faith believing that He alone was the One who brought them eternal life.

It is indeed a wonderful example of what God can do within a family when the father honors Christ.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray that every father everywhere will come to know You as their Savior and by the way they live bring their family to Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saving Faith - Serving Love

Following a terrible earthquake in Japan, an American reporter decided to do a series of articles on the survivors for his newspaper. As he was traveling from one location to another, he discovered an elderly lady who was selling flashlights and batteries for less than she paid for them. Intrigued, he decided to interview her.

After asking a few introductory questions he asked, “Why are you willing to sell the flashlights and batteries for much less than you paid for them?”

Smiling at him, she replied, “I don’t want to profit from their suffering.”

What a Christlike attitude!

Suffering is something we all experience. It is part of everyone’s life. Sooner or later, today or tomorrow - sickness or sorrow, trial or tragedy will find us and threaten us when we least expect it. No one is immune from the problems or perils of life.

Nor is the Christian immune from responding to those in need. Jesus, in speaking of the final judgment said, “When you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” There are acts of kindness that we can do to help others every day. Jesus expects His followers to give water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, food to the hungry, hospitality to the homeless and visit those in prison. We will have no excuse to offer Him if we do not do as He did.

Prayer: Father, the least and the lost of this world are of great concern to You. May we take Your words to heart, and share whatever You give us with them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Matthew 25:35-45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ (Read more...)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Not Something, Someone!

A visitor recently said to me, “There’s something different about you. You have something I don’t have. I lack something in my life that you have in your life. It’s very obvious to me. What is it?”

“Oh,” I replied, “it’s not something. It’s Someone. It’s the Lord!”

John, the Apostle, put it this way: “Life itself was in Him, and this life gives light to everyone. This light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”

There is in this magnificent truth the Light we need in and for our lives: The darkness of sin can never extinguish the Light that comes from God through Jesus Christ. In this Light we can see ourselves as we really are: sinners in need of a Savior and the salvation that only He can provide. When we come to Jesus, the true Light, and follow Him, we can walk confidently in His strength and power, seeing things as they really are. We will be able to avoid falling into temptation and sin since His Light will shine on our paths. We will then walk in ways that are pleasing to Him. When we follow this Light we can be assured of knowing that our lives are pleasing to Him and we can count on His presence and power.

With God’s Son, Jesus, as our Savior, we will become “someone” who is different. Our lives will reveal His wonder and glory and we will shine as His “lights.”

Prayer: Lord, You truly are the Light of the world and will, if we allow You, give us “the” light that will guide us and guard us and bring us safely into Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: John 1 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (Read more…)

Friday, February 10, 2012

On Your Knees

George’s lifelong dream was to climb the Alps. It took him years to realize his goal but he was finally making his first climb. As he made his way to the top, he was accompanied by two strong guides - one in front of him and one behind him.

As they reached the top, the guide in front of him stepped aside so he would be the first one to see the majestic view. Just as the young climber stood up a strong gale threatened to dash him to destruction. The guide on his left pulled him down and shouted, “On your knees, now, sir. You are not safe here unless you are on your knees.”

Wherever we are and whatever we are doing we are never safe unless we are on our knees acknowledging our need for God’s protection. Even when we think that we are about to see the beauty and wonders of God’s handiwork in our lives, we can be overwhelmed with the storms of life. When such moments arise we must be quick to get “on our knees now!” God is the only one who can stop the winds of destruction and the forces of life that would sweep us away in a downward spiral. He can take every problem and turn it into a prize of His grace. He can take the worst tragedy that life has to offer us and turn it into the very best blessing we could ever imagine.

We must always remember that we are not safe anywhere unless we are on our knees, now and always.

Prayer: Father, we recognize that You are the Lord over all of life and we are only safe when we are on our knees trusting in You to sustain and save us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Why A Rope, Son?"

After saying his nightly prayer, little Johnny said to his Dad, “I’ll be right back.”

“Where are you going?” asked his Dad.

“To get a rope,” he quickly replied.

“Why a rope, Son?” he wondered.

“Well, Dad, you promised me that Jesus would answer my prayers. I asked him for a pony tonight and the rope’s to tie the pony to my bed when it comes.”

Now that’s faith. Asking God for a pony and then running to get a rope. But that is what happens when we take God at His Word. Jesus said, “You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it.”

Contained in the word “anything” is the word “everything.” And when Jesus made that statement He would have us to understand that our prayers are to be motivated by asking for things that have God’s best interest at heart. Certainly when we pray we are to ask for the desires of our hearts, but we must always place His will above our wants, His good above our greed and ask for His wisdom so that we can recognize the needs of His Kingdom first and foremost.

Is it wrong to ask God for a pony? Of course not. He created the little ponies and He wants us to enjoy all of His creation. But if spending time enjoying the pony causes us to stop reading the Bible, praying, worshiping, serving and obeying Him, we have the wrong priorities.

Prayer: Give us the boldness, Father, to pray sincerely, confidently, expectantly and with determination for those things that will honor You and enrich our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Mark 11:17-27 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. (Read more…)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What Is Christian Commitment?

A young man stopped by my office to inform me that he had been called of God to become a minister of the Gospel. It thrilled me! After praying together he said, “I'm going to the Chapel and I'm going to pray all day - maybe through the night as well - and worship God.”

“Great,” I replied. “If you need help, come get me.”

“Oh no,” he replied, “I want to be alone with God and speak only with Him. You see, I have this tablet with me and I'm going to write down on every page the things I'm going to do for God. Then I'm going to sign it.”

“It would be better,” I said, “if you signed each page at the bottom and then asked God to fill in the pages with the things He wants you to do for Him.”

God has a perfect plan for each of us. It is a plan that He has designed and will be revealed to us plainly as we surrender our lives to Him. As we willingly become available to Him, He will transform us to become individuals with transformed minds - minds that are sensitive and open to the direction of His Spirit and lives that live to honor and obey Him.

God only wants what is best for us but we cannot know His best until we are willing to sacrifice ourselves to Him. We know that we are “willing sacrifices” when we sign the page and allow Him to fill in the details. Then we will know what “His good, pleasing and perfect will” is for us.

Prayer: Oh Lord, it is so difficult to realize how easy it is to do what we want to do and consider it as Your will for our lives. May we learn to give You “blank pages.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Romans 12:2 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, February 7, 2012

Higher! Faster!

A drill sergeant, wanting to get his recruits in shape, was pushing them harder and harder. Yelling at them loudly he said, “Fall on your backs. Now get your legs in the air. Now, make them go in circles like you’re riding a bicycle. Higher! Faster!” he shouted. But one recruit was lying quietly with his legs in a “V” position.

Walking over to where he was lying, he glared at him and demanded, “What are you doing? You are supposed to be riding a bicycle!”

“I am, Sir,” said the recruit. “But right now I’m coasting downhill!”

Paul once said, “I am focusing my energies on one thing…and…I am straining to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” He was totally consumed with becoming who God wanted him to be so he could do what God called him to do. This took all of his energies. With the single-mindedness of an athlete in training he set aside everything that would distract him or destroy him from being an effective witness for Christ. There was no place in his training program for “coasting downhill” even if the wind was at his back.

As “saints in training” we, like Paul, must stay focused, be diligent, work earnestly, live obediently and strive constantly to receive the “prize” God has for us.

Prayer: Father, we call upon You to make us alert and aware of temptations that would limit our effectiveness. May we live disciplined, determined lives always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Good For Something

Pat Kelly was an infielder who played for several major league baseball teams in the 90s. Once, while having a conversation with his manager he said, “Aren't you glad that I walk with the Lord?”

“I certainly am,” came the reply. “But I'd much rather you walked with the bases loaded.”

Sometimes Christians think that the most important thing that they can do is to “be good.” But that is not enough. Christians must do good. It is not enough that we strive to be holy, we must also be helpful. More important than simply wanting to be grateful, we must also be generous.
We read in Acts that “God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

Jesus not only lived a perfect life but lived the life of a servant. His sermons were powerful and transformed the lives of individuals everywhere He went. But He also fed the hungry, comforted the grieving, consoled the brokenhearted, gave water to the thirsty and food to the hungry. He did simple things for simple people having simple needs. But He did not stop there.

When He saw a need He met the need. And after He met their physical needs He always reached out and met their spiritual needs. What a great example for us!

Prayer: Lord, trouble our hearts with the things that troubled Your heart. May we never be so comfortable with what we have that we fail to see the needs of others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Acts 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Not True!

An upscale jewelry store in New York had an exhibit of crosses in their display window. They were anxious to attract shoppers to a sale that was going on. Prominently displayed in the middle of the crosses was a sign that read: “EASY TERMS!”

However, there are no easy terms associated with the cross of Christ. Certainly not for Him. And neither for us if we take our calling to be His disciples seriously.

Jesus said that “A student is not greater than the teacher...and a slave shares the master’s fate.”

Our commitment to Christ carries with it a cost. A sure sign of those who follow Him is the conflict and disagreement that surround them for doing His will and following His teachings. Christian commitment may even separate us from our family, friends and loved ones. How? As we take up our cross and follow Him our eternal values will certainly generate differences of opinions and lifestyles. Our goals will be different. Our vision of right and wrong will bring about separation of what to do with our time, treasures and talents. When we take up His cross and follow Him, He becomes our priority and passion and purpose for living.

Jesus does not call us to a life of peace, pleasure and prosperity. He calls us to live a life like He lived, doing as He did even though we may loose everything we have when we share in the reality of His cross.

Prayer: Give us courage, Lord, to take up our crosses each day knowing that it costs nothing to become a Christian but costs everything to be a Christian. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Mark 10:24-40 Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: 33 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; 34 and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” (Read more...)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Knowing And Doing

When Albert Einstein was a child, he enjoyed playing with a compass. When the Wright Brothers were children, they spent hours with a toy rubber-band-driven helicopter trying to make it fly. Their curiosity in objects gave them a desire to learn that lasted a lifetime and benefitted the world.

Those who have studied the childhood of famous figures in history have come to an interesting conclusion: Many young children who become interested in some particular object make it a part of their life’s interest and accomplishments.

What is true about the development of children is also true about the growth of Christians. Said Paul to young Timothy, “You have been taught the Holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.”

As parents we give our children many gifts. But rarely do we pause to think of the gift that these gifts will give them. God planted in all children the gift of curiosity. So when we give our children anything, we must always remember that gifts have consequences. They add “something” to a child’s life.

Paul commended the parents of Timothy for giving him the gift of God’s Word when he was a child. It made a difference in his life: “wisdom to receive salvation!”

Prayer: We pray, Heavenly Father, for insight to give our children those gifts that will lead them to Your grace, mercy and salvation that come from trusting You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 2 Timothy 3:15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Stopped From Growing

Over four hundred years ago a Japanese gardener planted a small pine sapling in one inch of soil in a small bowl. As the tree aged, he would remove it from the soil, trim its roots and branches and then replant it.

When he died, his eldest son continued the work that he started and a tradition was born. This tradition has been continued through thirteen generations. That tree still stands in the original dish. After four hundred years, that tree is only twenty inches tall.

In Peter’s letter to the early church he provided some extremely important advice: “Grow in the special favor and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Peter was well aware that his time on earth was ending. So in this letter he magnifies the message that God placed on his heart as he faced the end of his journey. Through the ages his words echo in our hearts: “His divine power gives us everything we need to live a godly life.”

That “divine power” leads to growth, that growth comes from knowledge and that knowledge comes from His Word that nourishes our faith and trust. If we want to become who God wants us to become and do what He would have us to do, we must allow the “roots” of our relationship with Christ to go deep in to His Word so that our “branches” will bear the fruits of the Spirit.

Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to recognize the importance of growing in our knowledge of You so that we will enjoy Your favor as we live for and serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.