Monday, March 31, 2014

Look Up and Be Lifted Up!

Wherever we look, we find people who are filled with despair and discouragement. Their hearts have been broken and their optimism beaten down. Issues and problems have overcome them. Everywhere they went and everywhere they looked they heard the same message: “Give up! There’s nothing here for you.”
No doubt most of us have felt that way.

When the lights go out at the end of the day and we are surrounded by darkness and fear; when there is no place to hide and no arms to embrace us; when we think that we have tried everything and there’s nothing left for us to hope for; does anyone anywhere have a word of advice or comfort for us?

Indeed there is: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Notice the words: “lift up!”

All too often it is all too easy to “give up” and not “look up.” But the Psalmist reminds us that our God transcends the uncertainties and difficulties, the pain and suffering, the loss and grief of this world. We are on the earth but must look up to heaven. We need help far beyond our own limited resources and the resources of others. We need wisdom that exceeds human wisdom. Unfortunately, we are all infected with a false sense of self-sufficiency.

But when we lift our eyes to heaven, we lift them up to the one Who created the universe. What love He has to bestow upon us and what strength is ours for the asking.

Prayer: Lord, may we turn our eyes and ears, minds and hearts heavenward and find Your joy and peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 121:1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Do You Know Where You Are?

Jerry and Joan took their daughter Jill to church to enjoy a night of music. The crowd was larger that usual and Jill became separated from her parents. Frightened, they went to the pastor and told him their predicament. He went to the pulpit and announced, “Jill Williams has been separated from her parents and is lost. If you hear me, Jill, will you please come to the front where your parents are waiting?”

Nothing happened. In great fear the parents went to the police and reported their daughter missing. Then after a time of prayer, the musical concert began. At the end of the concert, and as he was about to pronounce the benediction, the pastor noticed Jill sitting on the front row. Bursting with excitement, he shouted, “We’ve found Jill! Let’s thank the Lord.” He then went to Jill and said, “Why didn’t you come to the front and let your parents know you were here?”

Looking surprised she said, “Did you mean me? You said Jill Williams was lost. I’m Jill Williams but I’m not lost. I’m right here. I knew where I was all the time so I thought it was some other Jill Williams you were looking for!”

Jill did not consider herself lost. She felt safe and secure where she was. Unfortunately, there are many others like her thinking they are safe and secure even though they are traveling through without the Lord. The Psalmist wrote, “I have strayed like a lost sheep.” He was aware of his condition and recognized that he was lost. Knowing this, he wanted to get back to his “Shepherd.”

Prayer: Lord, we often think we are where You want us to be. May we take time to make sure we are with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pray - But How and For What?

Mary Jane was snuggling down in bed when her mother entered her room.
“Did you pray before getting in bed?”

“Well, kind of,” was her reply.

“Kind of?” asked her Mom. “What does that mean?”

“Well, I started to pray and my list was the same as it was yesterday and the day before that. So I decided to tell Jesus the story about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. And you know what, Mom? I think He enjoyed it!”

The attitude of the Psalmist was very different from Mary Jane’s: “May my cry come before You, Lord; give me understanding according to Your Word.” Not only was he intense and sincere, he was passionate and purposeful!

He did not speak to God in a still, soft voice. On this occasion he literally “cried” to God requesting a “direct audience.” He wanted his prayer to go directly to Him!

Obviously, he must have known that there were certain conditions that he would have to meet. He must have been aware of this. What would hinder his prayers?

1. Disobedience: We get what we ask for if we are obedient. John wrote we “receive what we ask for because we keep His commandments.” (1 John 3:22)

2. Doubt: When we ask for food, we need to have a container available to carry it home. “Whatever you ask for, if you believe you will receive.” (Mark 11:24)

3. Disagreement: We must ask for things that are consistent with His nature. “Ask in my name.” (John 16:32)

God hears our cries if we meet His criteria!

Prayer: Help us, Father, to align our requests with Your requirements and live within Your will for our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:169 May my cry come before you, Lord; give me understanding according to your word.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Promise of Peace

Ask someone what the word “peace” means to them and they will respond with very different answers. Some will include the “absence of war,” or “an agreement to end hostilities” or “freedom from quarrels or disagreements” or “a nation at peace.” Each of them has a certain sense of calmness among or between people in them. But peace in God’s Word has a much different meaning to it.

In God’s Word it means something quite different. It often refers to a person’s “completeness” or “well-being” or “soundness.” So, even though the world may be engulfed in war, an individual may have a sense of security or well-being that the world cannot understand or enjoy.

The world has been in utter chaos through man’s sin. Ever since Adam and Eve chose to disobey God there has been constant conflict - either personal, between people or nations - because of sin. And the world will be in conflict until Christ rules and reigns in the hearts of man.

“Great peace,” wrote the Psalmist, “have those who love Your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” For sinful man there must first be peace with God that only comes from the removal of sin through the death of Christ. This peace will permeate the life of the Christian because God will guard and guide the believer every moment of every day. First, we must let go of the “things” of this world and let God have His way in us. Then, follow the path He has designed for us. “Great peace” and no fear of “stumbling” will then be ours. 

When we have a lack of peace in our hearts, it is God alerting us to sin in our lives.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the peace that is ours when our hearts are correctly aligned with Your truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Here's To Happiness!

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most people are about as happy as they want to be!” Although it is a very simple statement, it is a very brilliant statement and leads us to the fact that each of us is responsible for our happiness. Happiness, then, becomes an “inside” job.
Everyone seems to want to be happy. People often think it can be “discovered” in parties or riches or wealth or recognition or “things.” Yet, many who search for it never find it even though they may spend an entire life looking for it.

True happiness cannot be found in material things or worldly pleasures. World history proves that fact. We see far too many examples of people who tried to find “it” in “things” and “pleasures.” Finally, when it was too late, they realized that their journey to find true happiness led them to all the wrong places. When they took their final inventory, they discovered that they had “everything” but happiness.

The Psalmist wrote, “I rejoice - I am happy - in Your promise, like one who has great spoil.” The “picture” the Psalmist “paints” for us here is one of a warrior who has returned from battle and is looking at his “booty.” He opens God’s Word – God’s booty - and “finds great spoils.”

For many, life is a battle against the forces of evil - the promise that happiness is in the “things” of this world. But in the final analysis, when the smoke clears from the battlefield of life, it becomes obvious that happiness is only found in God’s Word: the “gifts” we find in His Word.

Prayer: Lord, we are reminded again, that whatever we need can always be found in Your Word if we seek it there. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:162 I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil.

Monday, March 24, 2014

How Close Is Near?

Lord Moynihan of Leeds, England, was very highly respected for his brilliance and skills as a surgeon. He became so famous that other surgeons would travel great distances to observe him perform an operation. One day, after a long and difficult procedure, he was asked if he objected to the large group that had been watching him.

After thinking for a moment he said, “Well, it’s like this: when I operate there are just three people in the room - the patient and myself.”

“But that’s only two. You said three. Who is the third person?” he was asked.

“The Lord,” Lord Moynihan said.

The Psalmist once said, “Yet, You are near, Lord.”

What might he have meant? Two things for certain.

We know that God is near us to guide us. Many ask the question, “Where am I going?” Perhaps it would be much better to ask, “Who am I following?” Our God has infallible wisdom, knows what is best for us and will meet our every need as long as we look to and depend on Him.

Secondly, we know that our God is near us to guard us. He walks before us and His angels surround us. No one and no thing can touch us without His permission. We have His Word “that in all things God is working for the good of those who love Him.”

Surrendering all that we are and all that we have to Him is the first step for us to take if we want Him to be our Leader. After we do this, we will have His assurance that everything will work to our good and His glory.

Prayer: Lord, open our eyes that we may see You, our ears that we may hear You and our wills to obey You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:151 Yet you are near, Lord, and all your commands are true.

Friday, March 21, 2014

First, Cry For Help

As Christians, we are a people with many privileges. Perhaps many more than we are aware of. But no doubt the highest privilege is the privilege of prayer. No doubt, the greatest tragedy of our lives will be to neglect to pray.

Someone once compared prayer to a fireman going to put out a fire with no water for his hose, or a person who is poverty-stricken not knowing what to do with a blank check or a piece of gold.

Jesus prayed. He felt the need to pray and spent much time in prayer. Prayer was so very important to Him that He made it a great part of His life. Imagine – the Creator of the universe praying! Prayer to Him was like breathing: He did it constantly and continually. He knew that He would not survive unless He was in constant contact with His Father.

Unfortunately, prayer for many of us is something we do after “things” are set in motion, start to go wrong or “explode.” The day begins and before we know it “things” are going astray. So, we stop and ask God to “get here quickly before things are beyond my control.”

Wisely the Psalmist wrote, “I rise before dawn and cry for help, I have put my hope in Your Word.” Before he did anything he began his day in prayer and placed his hope in God and not man. What a powerful thought. What a great idea. What a way to live. What great advice!

“Lord, the sun is waiting to rise and I have all these things to do today. I know it’s a long list and many things can go wrong. So, I look to You first for hope and help.”

Prayer: May we realize, Father, how different our lives would be if we began each day with You seeking Your help! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

No Big Thing!

A famous watchmaker finished what he considered to be his masterpiece. Carefully, he placed it between two clocks that were much older, yet accurate, time keepers.
The one on the left turned to it and said, “I’m sorry for you,” it sighed. “You’re ticking bravely now. But you’ll be exhausted when you get through thirty-three million ticks this year.”

“Thirty-three million ticks?” gasped the frightened clock. “I can’t do that!” And it shook violently and stopped.

“Don’t listen to such trash,” said the clock on the right. “You’ve only got to take one tick at a time. There, now, isn’t that better? Now, take another tick. And one more. Easy now. Again. Isn’t that better?”
“Is that all?” asked the new clock. “That’s easy. OK. Here I go!” And it started bravely once again - one tick at time. At the end of the year it had made thirty-three million ticks with not one problem.

We do not need to worry about the next hour or day or week. Our Lord simply asks that we trust Him moment by moment - like the clock: one tick at a time.

The Psalmist talks about giving “understanding to the simple.” Often we complicate our lives and become overwhelmed and depressed by looking at “thirty-three million ticks” rather than “one tick.” We awaken in the morning and before we realize it have scheduled a month’s worth of activities into those few morning hours.

Dwight Eisenhower once said, “We need to do things that are important, not urgent. Life can be simple.”

Prayer: Help us, Father, to carefully separate the “need to dos” from the “want to dos” and live God-guided lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:130b it gives understanding to the simple.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

More Than Light

\In 1787 the HMS Bounty was sent to the Pacific Ocean on a botanical mission. After some time at sea, a seaman, Christian Fletcher, led a mutiny against Captain William Bligh. He and eighteen of his men were forced off of the Bounty on a small vessel.

Most of the mutineers who remained on the Bounty were able to escape to Pitcairn Island. Among them were sixteen men and twelve native women who decided to form a colony. It was not long before the men learned how to make liquor. Soon the island became a place where drunkenness and disorderliness were a way of life. In a few years fifteen of the sixteen men were dead. The only one who survived was John Adams.


One day he was searching through an old chest that the men had taken from the Bounty. In it he found an old, tattered Bible. He opened it and shortly after he began to read it, the Holy Spirit spoke to his heart and he became a Christian. Immediately, he began to study the Bible and was so moved by its message of hope that he began to teach others the Word of God.


About twenty years later an American ship visited the island. Much to their surprise, they found a culture that was founded and governed by Christian principles. There was no crime, no racial strife, no alcohol abuse and no social problems. When Adams was asked how this came to be, he simply responded by saying, “The Bible.”


“The unfolding of Your words gives light,” wrote the Psalmist. God’s Word will bring right living if followed.

Prayer: Lord, how wonderful our lives will be when we follow Your ways. Give us courage and willingness to obey. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:130a The unfolding of your words gives light;

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What's Better Than Gold?

The Island of Corregidor stands at the entrance to Manila Bay. To capture the island from the Japanese in World War II resulted in the death of many of our soldiers. It left countless others with scarred bodies and mangled limbs that made living difficult.

Once during heavy bombing, a chapel was hit and everything in it destroyed except a pulpit Bible. A soldier who had been hiding nearby discovered it and took it with him to his tent. Every night before he went to sleep, he would read it, then place his head upon it and meditate on his readings. Before falling asleep he would ask God how he could put into practice what he read.

When the soldiers were finally captured, they were transferred to a prison and were allowed to take one item with them. Many of them took a blanket. However, he chose to take his Bible.

The following months almost defy description. The conditions were merciless whether they were on ships or in prisons, in boxcars or on daylong marches with little food or water. Many dropped dead but he survived and carried his pulpit Bible with him. Nothing else mattered to him.

Finally, they were settled in a horrible camp and allowed to organize a church. One of the soldiers asked, “What are we to do without a Bible?” Hearing this he took his Bible and presented it to his commander. It gave them hope and help and thousands found the Lord as Savior.

The Psalmist wrote, “I love Your commands more than gold, more than pure gold.” God, not gold, gives life.

Prayer: May we realize, Father, that only Your Word offers eternal life and a hope that brings peace and joy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:127 Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold,

Monday, March 17, 2014

Silent or Silenced?

“It is time for You to act, Lord, Your law is being broken.” That sounds like something we would hear while walking out of church or part of a conversation we were having with a friend about the “signs of the times.”
“It is time for You to act, Lord.” Not me, Lord! YOU!

This is really amusing. Here we find this Psalmist who has been writing to us about the Lord’s faithfulness, the Lord’s grace, the Lord’s mercy, the Lord’s goodness, the Lord’s protection, the Lord’s righteousness, the Lord’s justice...and the list goes on and on.

Suddenly, he becomes aware of things that are going on around him that are wrong. Suddenly, he is awakened to things that are not in agreement with God’s laws and he is bothered. Suddenly, he wants God to do something to make things right.

Why God and not him? Does he want to sit in a big, comfortable easy chair and cheer the Lord on? “Go get ‘em, God! Make them pay for the wrongs they’ve done! I’m all for You straightening this mess out. In fact, why did You let things get like this in the first place? I’d like to help You, Lord, but don’t count on me. It’s Your world, Lord, clean it up. I’m over here thanking You for all of my many blessings! Go, God. Go!”

Unfortunately, the words of the Psalmist sound like words that come from the mouths of many Christians. We expect God to do the work that He has entrusted us to do. “Go,” Jesus said to His disciples, “and make disciples.” We are to do what He told us to do! We are the ones to act. 

Prayer: Forgive us, Lord, for refusing to do our part in doing what You have called us to do. May we begin now! In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:126 It is time for you to act, Lord; your law is being broken.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Our Source For Safety

What our family and friends call us usually depends on how they see us or our personality or some particular trait or habit. A good example of this was the name given to Thomas Jonathan Jackson, a Confederate general. He was responsible for commanding his brigade in the first Battle of Bull Run.

Soon after the battle began his men realized that they faced an overwhelming force of men with what they understood was an unlimited supply of ammunition. But General Jackson and his men stood their ground and fought fiercely.

“There stands Jackson like a stone wall!” exclaimed an officer. That name fit his personality so well that he was always called “Stonewall” Jackson after that.

One day he was painfully wounded in battle. One of his captains asked, “General, how is it that you could keep your senses and appear so utterly insensitive to the danger in the storm of shells and bullets that rained about you?”

“Captain,” explained “Stonewall” Jackson, “my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as I feel in bed.”

The Psalmist had that same sense of God’s presence and security when he wrote, “You are my refuge and my shield: I have put my hope in Your Word.”

The Lord’s protective “shield” is always around us and no matter where we are He is our “refuge.” Those who trust in Him and follow His “commands” will always be protected.

Prayer: How great is Your faithfulness, Lord, and how blest we are to have Your protection, night and day, in peace and in conflict. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:114 You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Direction or Destruction

Fact filled decisions bring stability to one’s life. All too often, however, decisions are made for the moment. They are based on convenience or what is most acceptable with my friends or what will cause the least conflict.

Never mind whether or not it is the truth, decent, law-agreeing or God-honoring. As long as there will be no ripples or difficulties for anyone, no feathers rumpled or people threatened, “if it feels good – go with it. But, don’t let it cause any trouble to anyone.”

Living a life that has no principles rarely has any purpose. To try to be all things to all people and have no direction or goal does no good. It’s like a ship with no rudder or compass. Where the ship ends up may or may not be where it was charted to go. But, it got “there.”

The Psalmist had some strong words for people with no purpose. He made no apology for those who were unwilling to take a stand: “I hate double-minded people, but I love Your law!”

Double-minded persons are those who are more concerned with popularity than with truth. The Apostle James said that the “double-minded person is unstable in all his ways.” But a person who loves God’s laws and is obedient to it is a person who is straight forward, trustworthy and absolute. The Word of God will lead us to a place in life where we will acknowledge that God is our refuge and shield and in His Word we find eternal life.

It is God’s Word that enables us to be bold and to be a people who are single-minded. God’s Word brings truth.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to accept the wisdom of Your Word and to become a people who speak with integrity. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:113 I hate double-minded people, but I love your law.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Godly Heritage

Nearly everyone has been exposed to the damage an ungodly heritage can be on someone’s life. Often we hear horror stories of fathers who beat their children because they were beaten by their fathers. Many times women whose mothers were beaten by abusive men often marry men who abuse them. Children who learn their values in families where alcohol and other drugs are a regular part of daily activities grow up to think that abusing drugs is a way of life for most people. Each of us has been given the “gift” called “heritage” by our parents. For most of us, it has dramatically influenced how we think and act.

Some of us have been given the blessings of growing up in a Christian home. Some have not had this privilege and have struggled to break the cycle of sin and suffering. Our past, however, does not control our future.

Our Psalmist wrote, “Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.”

We often focus on our past experiences and compare what has happened to us by what has happened to others. Sometimes we find things in our heritage that we are happy about and thankful for. Other times we become angry or jealous because others have received more than we have. Then, we feel deprived, jealous and resentful.

But our Psalmist did neither. He focused on himself and the heritage God wanted him to have: a heart filled with joy! And the wonderful fact about His heritage is that we can pass it on to our children, our friends, anyone and everyone we meet. God’s heritage is unlimited.

Prayer: We are grateful, Father, that our past does not determine our future. In You, all things can become new. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:111 Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

More Than Just Words

Quite often we are limited in our understanding of words that come from different cultures and times. The meanings of most words change from one generation to another and the way they are used can be quite confusing.

For example, we all have some idea of what the word “tall” means. But, if someone were to ask us how many inches it took to be considered a tall person we might all have a different answer in mind.

Consider the words in Psalm 119:105, “Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” It would be easy to come to the conclusion that the writer is simply talking about a difficult time in life and that he had faith that God would take care of him. That’s a beginning.

The word “lamp” in this passage is a symbol for life, joy and prosperity as well as guidance. So, the author wants us to know that if we follow the teachings of God’s Word we will live a life that will be filled with a quality of enduring contentment and happiness. Where we are or the circumstances that surround us do not matter. But, of course, it all depends on our being obedient to God’s rules. All of God’s promises contain the principal of “If/Then.” If we do what He asks, then we can expect His rewards.

“Light” is another interesting word. It refers to God’s blessings that include joy, happiness, security and peace. John wrote: “In Him was life and that life was the light of all mankind. That light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” God, then, is our Light!

How great our God is: In Him we “can have it all!”

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the assurance of Your joy, happiness, security and peace that we have in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What Does It Really Matter?

We often hear that “the Bible is the best-selling book in the world.” But having said that has little significance if it has no influence in and on the lives of its owners. It is one thing to own a Bible, it is quite another thing to live by its teachings, accept its plan of salvation and live a life that honors God.

There was a time in the history of the world when it was the most influential book ever written. It was the most honored book that was ever published and was more highly respected than any other book in the world. It was held in high esteem by everyone - whether they knew its Author on not.

With little doubt the Bible has been relegated to an inferior role in the world. It has been replaced by scholars who worship scientific knowledge. In their eyes, if a fact cannot be proven, it cannot be believed. Often the factual foundation for what many believe may be badly flawed. They say with certainty, however, that what they believe will be proven some day - just wait. Science never fails.

It is interesting that many ridicule the Bible for scientific reasons. But consider this: The Bible was never written to teach science, but it is scientifically correct. It was not written to teach history, but its contents are historically accurate. It was not written to teach psychology, but its contents are psychologically sound.

The Bible was written to give us an understanding of God and His truth. “I have more understanding than all my teachers,” said the Psalmist. “You have taught me.”

Prayer: Help us, Father, to put our trust in You and Your truth for in it we find salvation and life everlasting. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:99a I have more insight than all my teachers, & Psalm 119:102b for you yourself have taught me.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Lasting Legacy Of The Lord

Voltaire, a famous French philosopher, was also a brilliant atheist. He wrote a number of articles deriding the Bible. On one occasion he declared, “One hundred years from today the Bible will be a forgotten book!”

Most people have never heard that quote, yet most people have heard of the Bible. After Voltaire died, for nearly 100 years, his home was used as the depository for the French Bible Society. How ironic that Bibles were sold from what once was the place where he lived and wrote his materials proclaiming that God’s Word would not last. Yet, it is he who is nearly forgotten while the Bible has become a “bestseller” year after year. That home, by the way, is now a museum.

Others have also attempted to destroy the meaning and the message of the Bible. No one has been successful. It has survived every assault and weathered every storm. It has been banned from continents and burned in pubic bonfires. It has been ridiculed and rejected but it is still honored and held in esteem by those who seek the way, the truth and the life. It has been despised and disputed, debated and denied having relevance in today’s world, yet sought for when eternal questions need truthful answers.

The Bible is still the most read, the most published and the most translated book ever written. It continues to change lives and provide directions for those who seek a lamp for their feet and a light for their paths.

“Your Word, Lord, is eternal, it stands firm in the heavens,” wrote the Psalmist. His truth will last forever!

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the promises that Your love, mercy, grace and salvation will last forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:89 Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

Come SOW with us: Please forward this message to ten of your best friends, on behalf of Sower Ministries. And if these Seeds have ministered to you, email us and let us know, please.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Question With No Answer

A radio talk show host in California once asked his listeners a troubling question. “What,” he asked, “would you do with the rest of today if you knew it was the last day you had to live?”

Immediately they responded. “I would go to an organ donor bank as soon as possible and donate all of my organs to help others who were dying,” said the first caller.

The second one said, “I’d cram as many daring and exciting things as possible in my remaining few hours. I would take every risk since it wouldn’t matter if I lived or died. I’d have fun.”

“I’d call my wife and children and tell them that I loved them very much and ask them if they needed anything from me before I died,” said the third caller.

The fourth caller said, “I’d begin reading my Bible and make sure my heart was right with God before I meet Him. I want everything to be O.K. before we meet.”

Each of us has a date with death. We do not know the day or the hour of that final day when our heart will stop beating. The Psalmist reminded us of this fact when he wrote, “How long must your servant wait?” However, no date or hour was revealed. He received no answer.

Whether we have one day or many days is known only to God. He alone has that number in His Book of Life and He is responsible for the number of days we will live.

But each of us is responsible for making certain that our hearts are right with God before that date arrives. In between “now and then” we are to live each day for Him.

Prayer:  Help us, Father, to recognize the uncertainties of life and the certainty of death and make all things right. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:84a How long must your servant wait?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Contaminated Christians

My Dad’s faith was always a problem for me. He was hardworking and honest, thoughtful and compassionate, would do anything for his family. But church? That was an entirely different matter. He refused to go to church or have anything to do with anyone who did. That puzzled me.

Our home was always open to those who served the Lord. Missionaries and evangelists and musicians were frequent guests at our evening meal. And although “Pa” would not talk with them as we ate together, he did not interfere with our guests. He did not oppose them nor treat them unkindly. He was simply indifferent to them.

Once, during a revival, my heart was burdened for his salvation. I wanted to know if he was born again. I came home and found him sitting in his favorite chair listening to the news. Fearful of angering him I asked as politely as I could, “Pa, why don’t you come to church with me and Ma?”

Turning the radio off he looked at me and said, “I work with those people you go to church with. They do things I would never do. They lie, they cheat, and they steal. No one trusts them. Why would I want to be with them if I do not have to be with them?” He would have nothing to do with “contaminated Christians” unless work dictated it.

The Psalmist wrote, “May I wholeheartedly follow Your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.” We face that same problem today. Christians do not “walk their talk” and as a result shame themselves and their Savior.

Prayer:  What a tragedy, God, that many who represent You do not do so “wholeheartedly.” Please, revive us now! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:80 May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Unfailing Love

In today’s world “unfailing” and “love” are two words that, for most individuals, are left to one’s imagination or personal interpretation. “Unfailing” for some would be interpreted as meaning “until I get bored,” or “find something more interesting,” or “I’ve taken my turn now it’s up to someone else,” or “let’s try something more exciting!”

And the meaning of “love” for many is interpreted by the personal attractiveness of another and only lasts until someone more glamorous or interesting or challenging comes along. More often than not there is no personal cost involved in loving another or a willingness to be bothered or inconvenienced by another’s needs. It does not have an enduring or eternal quality attached to it. It’s for “this moment only” and “not to be counted on for the long haul.”

With God it’s different. The Psalmist wrote, “May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant.” The little prefix “un” means “never giving out” or “inexhaustible” and makes a very powerful statement about the nature of His love.

We have no difficulty in believing that God loves us when everything in our world is “perfect” - every problem solved, every bill paid, everyone in the family is smiling at one another. Life’s good!

But then, tragedy strikes. Is life still good and is His love still unfailing and will He now provide His comfort? The answer is locked-up in the word, “promise.” We can search every verse until our eyes grow dim and hearts stop beating: if God said it, He did it and we can believe it.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the promise of Your unfailing love. Though others may fail us, You will not! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:76 May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.

Monday, March 3, 2014

When What Is - Is Not Enough

Many doubt that our God is the creator of all that is and in control of what we see as well as what we cannot see. The Psalmist is not one who has any doubt about this fact. Yet, he goes far beyond the majestic statement that we hold dear: “In the beginning God created...” In simple words he acknowledged that “Your hands,” (God) “have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding that I may learn Your commands.” In other words, he realized that he was more than a creature that began in the mud. He was the most important part of God’s creation and needed God to give him His understanding of things.
“God,” he declared, “You not only took time to make me, but You actually fashioned me for a specific purpose in this, Your universe. I need You, God, to tell me what that purpose is!”

The word “fashioned” is a term that refers to the work of a potter making an object out of clay. Although the same clay may be used for different vessels or objects, each one has been “fashioned” for a specific purpose. The size, shape and purpose of each vessel the potter makes are always determined in the mind of the potter before he begins to form it on his wheel.

So it is with God. His Word tells us that “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I knew you...I set you apart...I appointed you...” Although God has a plan for us, the Psalmist says we must look to Him and His Word to understand it. He has made us in His image but we must allow Him to fashion us for the purpose He has for us.

Prayer: Father, give us an understanding of Your will and a willingness to follow it all the days of our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.