Tuesday, June 30, 2015

You Have My Word

As he slipped the engagement ring on her finger, he said, “I want you to know that I will love you forever and then some. But if things don’t work out, I expect you to give me back my ring. Is that perfectly clear?”
People change. Situations change. Times change. But God will not change.
If there is anything that we can know beyond the shadow of a doubt it is this: God’s promises and His covenant will never change. We have His Word and His Word is truth.
Because God is truth, we can believe and be secure in all of His promises. His truth is like the anchor of a ship. Winds may blow, waves may crash and the ship may move from the left to the right – even in a circle, but it is secure and safe as long as the anchor holds.
In God’s eternal truth we find hope. When we feel as though we are being swept along by circumstances that are beyond our control and have nothing secure to grasp, we need to reach for Him. He will lift us up and plant our feet securely on the firm foundation that is His never changing Word.
Though we may not understand what is going on in our world, we know Who is in control. We must always hope, knowing His best is coming soon.
Prayer: Give us, Father, a hope that will not fade, a trust that will not waiver, and hope that holds firm. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Hebrews 6:18-19 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Priority One

Dwight Eisenhower once said, “I do many things that are urgent but few things that are important.”
What a most revealing statement from one who successfully served his country as a general and president. It would be good to make it a question for each of us to ask ourselves everyday: How do I separate the urgent from the important?
Or should we begin with the question: What is the difference between something that is urgent and something that is important?
Something urgent suggests I must give my immediate attention to an event that is happening now! Important, on the other hand, means that something of significance, value or consequence to me is occurring. I quickly answer a ringing phone because it is annoying and gets my immediate attention. I answered it with urgency, but the call may not be important.
Our Scripture for today talks about the difference between urgent and important. The Rich Fool was overly concerned about wealth and was in a hurry to expand his financial worth. But Jesus said, “Guard against greed and focus on your relationship with God.”
We must always make certain that our number one priority as Christians is our relationship with God. We must constantly focus on Him and closely follow Him every day by communicating with Him daily, reading His Word and investing time in prayer.
Prayer: I ask, Father, that in Your power and through Your strength, You will always be first in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 12:14-21 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

Sunday, June 28, 2015

What Do They See?

An instructor was trying to encourage his class to be creative. He carefully cut a piece of white paper into a perfect square and held it up before the class. All eyes were focused on the sheet of paper when he asked the question, “What do you see?”
No one said a sheet of white paper, a square, something to write a letter or assignment on or a blank page for a book. The entire class said, “A black spot.” In the left corner of the square was a tiny, black speck. Their focus was on the flaw – not the square.
Most of us seem to look for things that are wrong or improper, incorrect or out of place. It comes with our nature. For whatever reason, we try to discover anything about anybody that is not perfect. Or, might it be that we are trying to justify what is not “right” about ourselves by seeing what is “wrong” in others?
There is an important message here for every Christian. Peter wrote, “Make every effort to live a pure and blameless life.” What great advice. How would we live or act if we were always conscious of the fact that we, as Christians, are always being evaluated by what we do or say by those who are not Christians. The world looks at us differently because of who we claim to be. And like it or not, they have every reason to do so. We will never be perfect in this world, but we can be careful.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to be on guard for that “little spot” that destroys our witness and damages our calling. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;

Saturday, June 27, 2015

What Are You Looking For?

Bill Bowerman was the track coach for the University of Oregon. Every time he watched his athletes run he would ask himself one question: “What can I do to help him run faster?”
Often he would think of their shoes and wondered if a different design would enable them to increase their speed. One morning while thinking about this concern his wife served him a waffle for breakfast. As he looked at the waffle he thought of a slab of rubber with the imprint of a waffle pressed deep inside of it.
From that concern came the beginning of the now famous waffle-pattern running sole that became the birth of the Nike shoe line.
“If any of you is deficient in wisdom” is the way one translator begins James 1:5. James was a Christian teacher with a Jewish background and saw wisdom as something that was entirely practical – something that was concerned with the business of living.
We must always remember that our God is a giving God and gives us the wisdom we need to make right choices, solve difficult problems and find directions for right living. However, as willing as God is to give, the responsibility for asking lies with the Christian. When we ask for anything in faith believing, God will grant the request as long as it is in His and our best interest.
Prayer: We pray, Father, that we will rely on You for the wisdom we need to meet and solve our problems. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Friday, June 26, 2015

What A Surprise!

Two men had not seen each other for quite some time and were renewing their friendship.
“How’s your wife, Fred?” asked Al.
“Haven’t you heard? She’s in heaven,” said Fred.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” replied Al. Catching himself, he apologized and said, “I mean, I’m glad.”
But it still did not come out right, so he said, “What I really mean is that I’m surprised.”
Seeing the confusion on Fred’s face, Al tried once again. “What I’m trying to say is that I’m sure you are relieved.”
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, our words just do not come out right. We get them twisted or turned in the wrong direction. What we want to say is not what we actually say. Our words become quite discouraging or devastating to the person we are talking to.
The wise writer of Proverbs said, “We gather our thoughts, but the Lord gives us the right answer.” When others come to us for help or counsel, we must always be thoughtful and ask the Lord to guide us as we talk. When we speak without thinking or give advice without carefully considering all of the possibilities or alternatives, we may do more harm than good. We must watch our words.
Prayer: Help us Father, to be careful in all that we say. May our words encourage and enlighten. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Proverbs 16:1 The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Time To Ask

It was one of those days that every mother tries to avoid. First, the washing machine stopped in the middle of the spin cycle. Then she discovered that the toaster was not working. When she opened the door to the refrigerator, she discovered that it had been on defrost all night. The last straw was a raging migraine headache.
She reached down, picked up her small son, placed him on her lap, held him tightly and began to weep softly as the tears ran down her cheeks.
Without saying a word, Ronnie took the pacifier out of his mouth and placed it in hers.
Some days just seem to unravel. We awaken to a shining sun only to have dark clouds appear from nowhere and it disappears. What we thought would be a day of joy suddenly turned into a night of despair. Bad days come into each of our lives and we end up feeling alone and abandoned, overwhelmed and oppressed. Problems pile up like flakes of snow in a blizzard.
When days do not develop as we want them to, we can be grateful for the grace of God. In the midst of the most draining and demanding experiences that life has to offer, He is with us. He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Even though God seems far away, He is always close at hand offering His help. “Ask anything in My name,” He offered, “and I will do it!” It’s His promise to each of us!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, how thankful we ought to be that Your power exceeds our problems. Always! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 14:13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Source Of Our Troubles

Charlie Brown was sitting on a rock with his head in his hands and his elbows on his knees. Linus seeing such a sight said, “Charlie Brown, do you want to know what the trouble is with you?”

“No,” he answered.

Continuing, Linus said, “The trouble with you is that you don’t want to know what the trouble is with you!”

That’s the trouble with many of us. We really do not want to see ourselves as we are or as God sees us. He has established spiritual goals for us to achieve, and unless we are willing to see ourselves as we are and how He would have us to be and live, we will not see our “troubles.”

Moses warned Israel that God required them “to fear the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and to keep His commandments.”
How fortunate we are that God lets us know the expectations He has for us. He has clearly and carefully described the standards and conditions for His children to follow.

There are no surprises, no hidden agendas and no games. He is a loving God and wants us to know how He wants us to live. But, we must want to know. And, if we do want to know, we can find His ways in His Word.

Prayer: Thank You Father, for Your Word. May we demonstrate our love for You by the way we live. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Deuteronomy 10:12-16 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Ring Bear

It was the first time he had been asked to be in a wedding. As he came down the aisle, he would take a step, turn his hands into claw-like instruments, grasp at the air and growl like a bear, lips curled and forehead furrowed.

The people were laughing at such an unusual sight. When he got to the row where the bride’s mother was sitting, she pulled him to the side and asked, “What are you doing?”

“Grrrrr,” he growled. “I’m being a ring bear.” Unfortunately, no one taught him how a “ring bear” behaved.

Parents and teachers have an obligation and responsibility to educate and encourage children to learn and behave appropriately. Often we place expectations on the young when they have no experience or have had no one to explain how they are to behave. When they make mistakes or when things go wrong, we put the blame on them even if they have had no opportunity to learn differently.

That is the reason Solomon gave such wise guidance, “Listen to your father’s experience…” True wisdom comes from God and parents must invest time with Him and in His Word if they are to prepare their children for the demands of life. Often we expect our children to know how to behave and what to do when we have neither taught them nor provided an example for them. That’s why we have “Ring Bears.”

Prayer: Help us, Father, to accept our responsibility to faithfully teach our children in “the way they should go.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 4:1-13 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, And the years of your life will be many.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Most Of the Moment

A soldier who served in Vietnam was assigned the duty to meet a senator at the airport near his command. It was his responsibility to see that he was taken safely to the office of the commanding general.
As they walked to the car, the soldier stopped to help an elderly woman who was having difficulty carrying her luggage. After a few more steps, he picked up some items that had fallen from the arms of a mother who was having difficulty carrying her child. Then he picked up a child that had tripped and fallen down.
Impressed, the senator asked, “Who taught you to be so kind and gentle and helpful?”
Quickly, and without hesitation, the soldier replied, “During my tour of duty in Vietnam, Sir, it was my duty to clear the fields of mines. I never knew if my next step would be my last. So, I learned then and there to get everything I could out of every moment I had.”
Twice the Apostle Paul said in his writings, “Make the most of every opportunity.” He challenged the early Christians to be alert and aware of the people God brought into their lives. He wanted to impress them with the fact that the time we have to present His plan of salvation to others is limited and that opportunities once gone will never return.
We too are obligated to accept this challenge.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to realize the shortness of life and the length of eternity and be faithful witnesses. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 5:16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Secret Things

A magician and his parrot were having a great time performing for the audiences on a large cruise ship.
Whenever he would make a card disappear, the parrot would say, “It’s up his sleeve.” If he would make a dove appear, he would shout, “It came from his pocket.”
One day during the middle of a performance the ship hit an iceberg and sank. Sitting together with the magician in a life raft, the parrot asked, “OK, what did you do with the ship?”
There are many things in the Bible that are easily understood. They are clear, well described and are obvious to the occasional reader. There are some passages that take research or an explanation from someone who has spent a lifetime searching and studying the Word of God. Then there are those passages that even the most learned scholars have difficulty explaining or interpreting. What then?
Moses wrote, “There are secret things that belong to the Lord our God; but the revealed things belong to us.” Even though we can search, study and understand most of the Bible, our minds are finite. We will never be able to understand the infinite things of God. That is when and where faith begins.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for giving us minds to know, hearts to believe and faith to accept Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saved To Serve

A six-year-old child was trapped in a bedroom on the second floor of a home that was engulfed in flames. He was frightened and did not know what to do.
He ran to a window and used all of his strength to open it. But he failed. Then he climbed on a dresser, broke the window and shouted for help. Though he could not be heard, his father saw him. There was no way he could get back into the house, climb the steps and rescue him. The flames continued to burn intensely.
When a neighbor saw the dangerous situation, he ran to the home, leaned against the side of it and encouraged an onlooker to climb on his shoulders. Then another climbed on top of his shoulders until there were enough, one standing on the shoulders of another, until they reached the window. They were finally able to force open the window and rescue the child. When he reached manhood, he identified himself as a “brand plucked out of a fire.” John Wesley grew to become one of the most famous preachers of all time and the founder of Methodism.
God spared Wesley’s life and then called him into a life of ministry. Few of us will ever go through an experience as he did. Yet, all of us are called to serve the Lord. Each day that our Creator gives us is to worship, honor and serve Him in all that we do. We are not called to be famous but faithful.
Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to realize that each day is a God-given day to love, honor and serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Zechariah 3:2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ready Or Not

A truck came speeding down a steep hill. It was necessary to make a quick turn at the bottom of the hill to avoid going into a lake. Unfortunately, the driver failed to make the turn and ended up in the lake. Fortunately, the driver escaped, unharmed.
As he climbed from the cab of the truck and waded from the lake to the crowd that had assembled, he was shaking his head from side to side. Finally someone asked, “What happened?”
“Well,” he said, “I guess I should have gotten brake fluid before I needed it.”
Procrastination, at times, seems to invade everyone’s life. Occasionally, we “all plan to do tomorrow what we could have done today.” And there are many excuses that encourage us to do so. One might be fear. Another might be thinking the task is unimportant or even too difficult. Again, we may not want to be bothered by a request or even have a desire to inconvenience the one who is depending on us. Time is one of God’s greatest gifts. Once gone, it can never be reclaimed or returned. So, we must learn to see time from God’s perspective and place a high value on it. God gives us time, first of all, to accept His salvation. Then, whatever days He allows us to live, are to be lived in service to Him and others who need to know Him as Savior and Lord.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to make the most of our time so that we may accomplish the purpose You have for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Zechariah 1:4 “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.”’ But they did not hear nor heed Me,” says the Lord.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Multiplying Love

A mother had only one son. She loved him more than anything in the world. One day she introduced him to a friend and said, “This is my only son, and I love him dearly!”
He greeted him kindly and said, “I have eight sons and I love all of them dearly, too.”
“Eight sons?” she exclaimed in disbelief. “I can’t imagine that. I love him so much that I can’t imagine dividing my love by eight.”
“Ma’am,” he replied. “I don’t divide my love, I multiply it.”
What a wonderful description of how God loves us! He never divides His love, He multiplies it and has enough for everyone and anyone who has ever lived or ever will live.
The central theme in God’s Word is that He loves us. And not only does He love us but there is no one who loves us as much as He does. Furthermore, He loves each of us equally. He has no favorites.
God’s love is so great that He freely, willingly and gladly gave His One and only Son for our salvation. It cost Him dearly and is far beyond our ability to understand. Yet, we do not need to understand it to accept it. It is ours if we accept it through faith in Christ. The offer comes from Him personally and it is our choice to receive it.
Prayer: Lord, we are amazed at such love – a love we cannot understand, but need and accept through Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Loving Some Ain't Easy

17
A little girl was saying her evening prayers. There was a slight pause, and then she continued, “God, it must be difficult for You to love everybody. There are only four people in my family and it’s hard for me to love all of them.”

Loving others does not always come easy. In fact, some people are almost impossible to love. As someone once said, “I love that person just enough to get into heaven.”

But loving others is not an option, it is an obligation. Jesus said, “Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.” This was not a new commandment. It can be traced all the way back to Leviticus. But the disciples of Jesus saw a totally new way to love others. He taught them in His life and death to love others in a sacrificial way, the way of the cross.

To love sacrificially demands that we go beyond the ordinary ways of helping people. It means that we are willing to be inconvenienced to help anyone who has a need we can meet. It means that we are willing to share the best of what we have not only the surplus “junk” we no longer need. It means we may have to sacrifice something we value. But so was the way of the cross. And this kind of love will draw others to Jesus because the world rarely sees it.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me to show others how much I love You by the way I love others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Monday, June 15, 2015

Keeping Score

In the great game of baseball, victory is not determined by hits – only by runs. It is not decided by double plays or even a no-hit performance by a pitcher – only by runs.

A player may hit the ball, slide safely into third base but get no further and not score. He will be remembered as being “left stranded.” He will not be recognized for “three-quarters of a run.”

This is true of everything in life. Few people are ever recognized for how well they start. Normally they are remembered for how well they finish. We may run hard, overcome obstacles, work our way through difficult situations, but unless we accomplish our goals and “score,” we are normally forgotten unless we finish well.

There is a sad verse in Paul’s letter to Timothy. He speaks of Demas, and writes that he “has deserted me because he loves the things of life…” A former co-worker of Paul’s, he exchanged his calling from God to worldly pleasures and values. Perhaps Demas never counted the cost of serving Christ. Maybe he became weary in well doing and lost his enthusiasm. We do not know the reason, but we see the results. And here is the lesson for each of us: Rather than condemn or criticize him, let’s look for the “Demas” that may be in each of us.

Prayer: Lord, never let us lose our love for You or the life You have called us to live. May we be ever faithful. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 2 Timothy 4:10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica

Sunday, June 14, 2015

It's Not All About Looks

The pastor of a church in a rural community had been complaining about not feeling well for several months. His wife finally persuaded him to see the local doctor. Concerned that he would not explain all of the details of his illness, she decided to accompany him.

After his examination, the doctor asked her to accompany him into an adjacent room. After a moment he said, “I really don’t like the way your husband looks.”

After a few moments she said, “I don’t either.” Then she continued in a hushed voice, “But he’s a wonderful pastor, a great husband and an excellent example for the children to follow.”

What gracious compliments! There are not many who measure up to his standards. However, we as Christians are challenged to live lives that are examples. Paul said that we “must be an example to them by doing good deeds of every kind” and “to let everything we do reflect the integrity and seriousness of our teaching.”

When we live according to God’s standards, we will be examples for others to follow. If we live according to His instructions, we have the right to be heard when we speak, teach or talk. Additionally, we can provide counsel and comfort with certainty to those who are discouraged and in need if we are faithful to His Word.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to live as an example of Your love, grace and mercy by doing good deeds every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Titus 2:7-8 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Humility Matters

It was his first day as a general. For years his one goal was to pin a star on his shoulder. Sitting behind his desk for the first time, his personal flag behind him, he felt as though he had finally arrived. He was anxious to impress his staff with his accomplishment.

There was a knock on his door, and he shouted, “Enter.” He reached for his phone, and wanting to impress the men who were quietly walking into his office, said, “Thank you, Mr. President, for calling. It was good to speak with you. Yes, sir. Good bye.” He then hung up the phone.

Turning to the men before him, he asked, “And now, men, what can I do for you?”

“Yes, sir, thank you, sir. I’m your aide and these men have come to connect your phone.”

There is nothing wrong with wanting to succeed. But there is something wrong with wanting to succeed for selfish, self-seeking, self-centered reasons. Pride brings with it the idea that we deserve whatever we can get. It creates a greedy appetite within us and leads us to believe that we should have whatever we can get or should have whatever we want in life. It makes us want far more than we need and leaves us unsatisfied with what we have. Sometimes God has to humiliate us to teach us humility.

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to trust You for our needs, be satisfied with what we have and be thankful for Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: James 4:6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hidden By Masks

Early in the history of Greek drama the theaters had no scenery and the actors wore no costumes. When they performed the actors would carry a mask on stage and when it was time for their part they would hold the mask in front of their faces and speak.

The word “hypocrisy” came from Greek drama and refers to one who is expressing feelings, beliefs and values that belong to someone else. In Scripture the hypocrite is a pretender: one who is acting a part or who is false tells lies or is godless. They are with us today – speaking, acting and expressing words they do not believe and behaving differently from who they really are. Times have changed but hypocrites have not.

Jesus despised hypocrites with a passion. He spoke of the hypocrites who loved to pray publicly so others could see them and think that they were living a religious life. On another occasion He told the hypocrites to get the log out of their own eyes and stop criticizing others for having a speck in theirs. He also spoke of the Pharisees and advised people to beware of their self-righteous, hypocritical and spiritless behavior.

John wrote, “If someone says ‘I belong to God’ but does not obey His commands he is a liar.” If what we do or say is not consistent with what God requires of us, we must ask God for forgiveness, repent and change. There is no room for hypocrites in the Kingdom of God.

Prayer: Forgive us, Father, when we have disobeyed Your commands and professed what we did not possess. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 John 2:4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

God's Out To Get You!

In one of their cartoons Hobbes and Calvin were having a serious discussion. Said Hobbes, “Is there a God?”

“Well,” answered Calvin, “I’m not sure. But someone’s out there trying to get me!”

He was absolutely right. God is out there and He is trying to get everyone!

Jesus said, “I came to seek and to save the lost!” He initially made this statement in His meeting with Zacchaeus. And if you recall, as a tax collector, he was in one of the most unpopular professions of his day. But it didn’t matter to Jesus: He was always seeking to save the lost. This was His message and His mission. Zacchaeus was just as valuable to God as anyone and everyone else. In fact, Jesus was out to “get him.”

No matter who we are or what we have done or are doing, Jesus wants us for His own. It is not what we know or who we know that will save us. Remember – Zacchaeus was a son of Abraham, the religious elite. But that could not save him. It was his faith in the Savior. Only our personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can save us from our sin.

We must never forget that God is “out to get” everyone to know, love and accept His Son as their Savior. And, how can He do this? By abiding in us, being with us and working through us.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for our salvation and the opportunity to work with You to reach others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Luke 19:10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

God-Love

Perhaps there is no one word that is more confusing, more misunderstood, more diminished in significance or abused than the word “love.” Although it contains feelings, it is much more than feelings. Although it includes emotions, many times emotions must be controlled. While it includes sentiments, it is more than sentimental desires that fluctuate from day to day.

Feelings, emotions and sentiments change from moment to moment and day to day because life is dynamic. True love, God-love, must be seen, observed and expressed in the behavior of a Christian.

What I do with and to and for someone is what matters most in demonstrating and describing love. If we have any questions about this type of love, we simply need to look at the life of Jesus and meditate on His words: “God so loved this world that He gave His one and only begotten Son!” This is not a sentimental love, nor an emotional or feeling type of love. It is a love that was initiated by God, demonstrated in the life of Jesus and to be seen today in and through the life of Christians today.

This love is the foundation of all relationships: first for our relationship with God and then our relationships with others. “God-love” will keep a relationship strong and healthy and bring individuals together in a common bond. In fact, this love will unite people in spite of flaws and faults. As Christians, we are obligated to “behave God-love.”

Prayer:  Father, fill our hearts with God-love, a love that has no limits, never gives up and always demonstrates compassion and concern. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Frozen Assets

Years ago a fire destroyed a large warehouse that contained many tons of ice. Although the firemen had tens of thousands of gallons of water available to extinguish the fire, they could not be used. The ice was in “cold storage” and beyond reach. The building burned to the ground even though it was full of “frozen water.”

God has given each one of us unique gifts and talents, skills and abilities to do His work. We all are as different as our fingerprints and designed to do things that honor Him. Too often we imagine that what He wants us to do is beyond our capabilities.

We tend to see problems and issues that would require massive amounts of money or large numbers of people to bring change. We look beyond the immediate to the distant and find excuses not to do what God places before us.

If you recall the beginning of the earthly ministry of Jesus He invited ordinary men to join Him in His work. They had no special training but they did have a special commitment. We read that “they spent time with Jesus.” These “ordinary men” put aside their personal interests and began to see life through His eyes. He taught them to see the spiritual needs of others and how to meet those needs.

If we are willing to “spend time with Jesus,” follow Him closely, listen to Him carefully and pray to Him sincerely, we will be able to do the same.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to always be alert for opportunities to tell others of Your love, salvation and hope. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Matthew 4:19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Monday, June 8, 2015

From Trials To Triumph

What do you do when you have a difficult time pleasing someone?

George Crum was the chef at a famous country club in Saratoga Springs, New York. One evening there was a guest who ordered fried potatoes to go with his meal. When his order of fries was served, he asked the waiter to return it to the kitchen saying they were too thick. This happened several times. Crum became frustrated. But he did not give up.

Challenged, he took his sharpest knife, sliced some potatoes wafer thin, deep fried them in boiling oil, sprinkled salt on them and had the waiter take them to the guest. The guest sampled them, smiled and decided to pass them around the table to his friends. Everyone enjoyed them and ordered more. The “potato chip” was born that evening and has become one of our favorite snacks.

There are times in all of our lives when people irritate us or bother us. It seems like nothing we do will ever please them or meet the standards they have set for us. No matter what we do or how hard we try, it is not going to be good enough. So, the temptation is there to give up or quit. Paul said, “God causes all things to work together for our good.” This includes the most painful problems and difficult demands of life. In all things we must trust Him, do our best and leave the results to Him. He knows what is best for our lives.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for giving us problems to solve and challenges to meet, so we can grow strong. 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.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Don't Blame Us!

Over much opposition from members of the community a man opened a large night club. One of the local churches came to the logical conclusion that the most important responsibility they had in the matter was to ask God to intervene and close the club. They called an all-night prayer meeting and asked God to honor their request.

During the prayer meeting, lightning struck the club and it burned to the ground. The club owner, learning of the church’s prayer meeting, became angry and sued the church. In the response to the law suit, the church denied all responsibility.

After hearing the case, the judge said, “Wherever the guilt may lie, the night club owner believes in prayer but the church, obviously, does not.”

What at first may appear to be humorous may be an indictment on our faith and trust in the power of God. In His teaching on prayer, Jesus said, to ask Him for “anything” and “everything” – two all-inclusive words that when taken literally and seriously, give us the right and responsibility to ask for “whatever” is within the will of God.

Could it be that we do not believe that God can and will answer our prayers? Do we really believe that God is listening and is willing and is able to respond if we truly believe?

Prayer: Dear Jesus, You clearly and convincingly said that “everything is possible with God” if only we believe! In Your name, please remove any and all of our doubts. Amen.

Scripture for Today: Mark 10:27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Do You Really Believe?

“Wire-walkers” are known for their death-defying performances. These well-prepared and highly skillful entertainers are known for walking on thin wires that are suspended high in the air over dangerous sites. Normally they use a long pole for balance.

There was one “high-wire walker” who decided to use a wheelbarrow filled with 200 pounds of bricks for his balance as he crossed Niagara Falls. After he accomplished his feat a crowd of reporters gathered around him and began to ask questions. After he answered the last question he pointed to one of them and asked, “Do you believe that I can take this wheelbarrow that is now filled with bricks back to the other side?”

“Certainly,” came the reply.

“Good!” The wire-walker then dumped the bricks on the ground and said to the reporter, “Get in and I’ll take you to the other side.”

Mark tells the story of a father who brought his demon possessed boy to the disciples for healing. They failed. Then, he took his son to Jesus, and said, “Do something if you can.” And Jesus said, “If I can? Anything is possible if you believe.”

And the father replied, “Lord, help my unbelief!”

Our faith only grows when we pray, release our fears and trust.

Prayer:  Father, remove our doubts and fears and fill our minds and hearts with a faith that completely relies on You for all things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Mark 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Friday, June 5, 2015

Dismount!

Stories of the Knights of the Round Table are fascinating – even intriguing. There are many hidden messages in the way they did things.

For example, when they were fully dressed, they would ride a large, strong horse to bear the weight of their armor. When they went hunting, they would ride a small, swift horse that could run fast to catch up with the prey. When in a parade, they would ride a tall, high horse. This made them appear bigger than the poor peasant who had no horse at all and was forced to look up to them.

In fact, the expression “Get off your high horse” originated from their exploits. It meant to the onlookers, “Stop acting as if you are above us!”

Wise Solomon had some advice for those who act as if they are above others. He said, “Haughty eyes, a proud heart and evil actions are all sin.”

God wants us to develop carefully and use wisely the skills, talents and gifts that He has given us. We are to be thankful for all that we can do in His name to bring Him glory and honor. We must never have an inflated opinion of our value or importance. We have what we have because of His grace. And we must realize at all times that we are who we are and are obligated to serve Him faithfully each day.

Prayer: Father, may we be ever thankful for all of the gifts You have given us and use them to honor You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Beginning At The End

One day a grief-stricken man prayed, “Dear Lord, I’m at the end of all my resources. I have nothing left.”

“My child,” answered the Lord, “when you come to the end of your resources, you are just at the beginning of mine.”

One of God’s great gifts is allowing us to come to the place of hopelessness and helplessness. When we realize that we have nothing left to cling to and no one else to depend on, we will realize how much we need the Lord. There are many times in our lives when we are convinced that we are brave or strong, energetic or invincible only to have the “rug pulled out from under us.” We are left feeling alone or abandoned, deserted or defeated.

It has been said that it is easier for someone to stand adversity with God than prosperity without Him. We learn in times of trouble and trials that “my grace is sufficient” or “Lo, I am with you always.” In times of plenty we may be forced to realize that “life does not consist in the abundance of things.”

Eventually, we as Christians may come to the place where we realize that all things are possible with and through Christ. But rarely do we realize this until we get to the other side of whatever may have brought us to the “end of our resources.” Thank God for “ends.”

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for those times in life when we grow in Your grace and stand in Your strength. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Mark 10:27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Be All You Can Be


Years ago, after being introduced to the students in a small college in South Carolina, the guest speaker stood quietly for a moment.

She then began her remarks by saying, “I was born to a mother who was deaf and could not speak. I do not know who my father is or where he may be. The first job I ever had was in a cotton field.”

Smiling, she continued and said, “I stand before you today as the Treasurer of the United States. My name is Azie Taylor Moore. Nothing has to remain the way it is, if that’s not the way you want it to be.”

Paul said that “I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength that I need.” Does that mean we can become the Treasurer of the United States? The chief executive officer of a large corporation? The driver of an eighteen wheeler? The crossing guard for an elementary school? Perhaps.

The power that is ours through Christ is available to meet every challenge in life as long as we are doing His will. His strength will prevail in us, for us and through us whenever we do what He has called us to do. But we must be willing and committed to fulfill the purpose He has for our lives. It is inappropriate for us to expect God to empower us to be or do anything that is not in keeping with His will.

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to be faithful to You in everything we do, and to always seek Your will for our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Asking, Seeking and Knocking

A little girl was climbing into bed and her mother asked, “Ann, did you remember to say your prayers?”

“Well,” she replied, “I got on my knees and started to say them as I do every night. And then all of a sudden I thought, ‘I’ll bet that God gets tired of hearing me pray about the same old things every night.’ So, I decided that I would just lay here in bed and tell Him the story of ‘The Three Bears.’”

Persistence in prayer and pursuing God’s plan and purpose is most important. It’s equally important to understand how He answers our prayers and when He will answer our prayers. We must never allow ourselves to believe that God will not accept our prayers or that He will even mock our prayers. Prayers and praying are a serious and significant part in the life of the Christian. We must always remember, though, that He will answer our prayers in a way that is in our best interests.

We need to remember that He responds to our requests with His wisdom and never ending and always compassionate love. When the answer does not come when we expect it, we must hold fast to the fact that “His grace is sufficient.” The answer will come when we need it most and fulfills His schedule for our well-being. When we give up and quit praying, God knows we are not sincere.

Prayer: Lord, give us a faith that does not falter, a trust that will not tire and a persistence that will prevail. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Anger

While completing the last phase of his painting of The Lord’s Supper, Leonardo da Vinci became annoyed with a certain man. Finally his annoyance boiled over and he lost his temper and lashed out at the man with bitter words in an angry rage.

After the man left his presence he returned to his canvas where he had been painting the face of Christ. Try as he might, he was unable to make any progress.

Finally, he put down his brushes, left his studio and hurried to the man and asked his forgiveness. Graciously the man accepted his apology. Leonardo then returned to his studio and was able to finish painting the face of our Lord.

Anger and rage are extremely destructive emotions. They take away our joy and peace and destroy our faith and trust in God. Whenever we lose control of our emotions, it is a sign that we are excluding God from His rightful place on the throne of our lives. We attempt to do His work when we try to do what He has reserved for Himself. When this happens, we make matters worse and lose touch with God and the one with whom we are angry.

Whenever we are threatened or treated unfairly we must turn to God immediately and ask for Him to take control. After all, that is His responsibility – not ours.

Prayer: Lord, it is difficult to remain calm and peaceful when I am tested. May I look for Your help in those times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 37:1-9 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm.