Saturday, October 31, 2015

How Could This Happen?

A man was found dead next to a dumpster. As they looked in his pockets for his identification, they discovered several checks. They were worth more than a thousand dollars. But they did him no good. He never cashed them to receive their value.
As we read God’s Word, we find promise after promise – all having value to the believer. But as the checks of the dead man, they must be “turned into cash” to have any value. We must go to God and claim His promises to meet our needs.
James said that God “does not resent your asking. But when you ask Him, be sure you really expect Him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea?”
There are times when it is easier to believe in God than it is to believe in the fact that he deeply cares for each of us and our every need. Surely, if He is bound by His Word, we can go to Him “in faith believing.” We must always remember that nothing is so small that it escapes His concern or that any problem is so large that He cannot solve it.
We limit God by the limitations we place on Him. The problems we have with our faith are our problems – not God’s. “Whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you,” said Jesus.
Prayer: Give us a faith, Father, that is larger than our problems and a trust that matches Your power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 1:1-8 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

Friday, October 30, 2015

"You Be Jesus"

It was a Saturday morning and many activities were scheduled for the day. To make it special, the mother of Albert and George was preparing pancakes for them. Suddenly, they began to argue over which of them would get the first one.
Dismayed over their arguing, the mother said, “If Jesus were sitting here, He’d say ‘Let my brother have the first pancake.’”
“Great idea, Mom! George, you be Jesus and I’ll take the first pancake,” said Albert.
Paul, writing about how to “live love,” said that “love does not demand its own way.” In other words, the love that we as Christians are to demonstrate in our lives is not a self-centered love. It is a love that focuses on the needs of others - the way God loves us.
God loves us relentlessly, completely, with no limitations or conditions. In spite of our shortcomings or failures, He is there for us, with us - loving us.
And what does He ask of us? First, that we love Him in return for His love. Then, He asks us to love others as He loves us. When we love others as He loves us, we show others what Christian love is all about.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to love as You loved, to give as You gave, to care as You cared, and to do as You did. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 13:5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Working With God

George Washington Carver was a botanist, educator, inventor and scientist. As the son of a slave, he was aware of the difficulty facing farmers, knowing that they needed more than cotton for their fields. He became interested in peanuts. Soon he realized that there was no market for them. Needing help, he turned to God, in prayer.

One day he prayed, “Mr. Creator, why did You make the peanut?”

Later in life he was to say, “God gave me a handful of peanuts, and went with me to the laboratory and together we got down to work.” Before he died, his research and influence produced over 300 products from peanuts including cosmetics, dyes, plastics, gasoline, and nitroglycerine. He published many books, including one with over 100 recipes using peanuts.

James has an interesting bit of advice. He said, “If you need wisdom - if you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him and He will gladly tell you.” True wisdom begins with respect for God, leads to right living in the sight of God and enables us to align our goals with the goals God has for us. When we do this, we honor God, and in time, He will honor us.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to look to You for Your wisdom in all that we do, knowing it is always available. 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.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Winning And Trying

It was his first attempt to win a trophy for swimming. He was successful and won first place.  After receiving his prized possession, his mother said, “I’m so happy for you. I never won a trophy.”

“Mom,” he asked, “did you ever try?”

God created each of us to succeed. But we can never succeed at anything until we try something. And whenever we want to accomplish anything, we need a good place to begin. We find that “place” in the first words of the Bible: “In the beginning - GOD?.”

Beginning with God means that before we try to do anything we seek His will. God promised Joshua great success. He told him that no one would be able to stand their ground against him, promising, “I will not fail you or abandon you” as long as you live. But with His promise He gave him a warning: “study the Book of the Law continually? obey it?and only then will you succeed.”

The promise that God gave to Joshua works for us, too. However, God places the same limits on our success: “Study My Word continually, obey it, and only then you will succeed.” If we begin with God’s Word, we will end with God’s blessings. Surely, that is success!

Prayer: Lord, help us to realize and remember that success is all about You and never about us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Joshua 1:1-9 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why Worry?

A reporter once asked Henry Ford the question, “Do you ever worry?”
“No. I believe that God is managing my affairs. With God in charge, I believe that everything will work out for our best. So, what’s there to worry about?”
Worry is like going back and forth in a rocking chair: a lot of motion and no forward movement. It can disturb our thinking, disorganize our work, destroy our health and steal our life. It has never calmed a fear or brought peace to a troubled heart.
Worry is nothing more than anticipating some calamity or chaos that will probably never come our way. It normally has no substance or power except what we allow it to have as it invades our minds and controls our thoughts.
When we allow worry to muddle our minds, we need to call upon God immediately. We must ask Him to replace each problem with His promises and ask for an extra portion of faith and trust in His goodness and grace. He knows what is in our future and every need that we ever have is under His control.
Prayer: Help me, Father, to increase my faith in You as I learn to trust Your promises and accept Your will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 6:31-32 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

Monday, October 26, 2015

When Times Are Threatening

=A young boy was sitting on the roof of his home watching his father repair a leak in the shingles. Not realizing the steep pitch of the roof, he began to inch his way upward and suddenly started to slide downward. Realizing the danger of his situation he shouted, “O God, help me I’m in trouble and I’m going to fall to my death!”
Suddenly his jeans became snagged on a nail and he stopped sliding. Looking upward he said, “Thanks God, I’m all right now!”
Who do you call upon when you are suddenly faced with a life threatening situation? We often have a loved one whom we can call upon in a moment’s notice. Most of us are blessed with a few faithful friends who respond immediately in times of disaster. But when we are suddenly and without warning faced with what appears to be an imminent disaster, what then?
Fortunately, our God has promised us that we will never face any adversity alone. Again and again His Word assures us that He is ready, willing and able to rescue us when we are in trouble. He is always alert, awaiting our call and anxious to respond.
PrayerFather, we are grateful for Your promise that we can always “call upon You in the day of trouble.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 50:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Trusting The Plan

Years ago I would watch my mother embroider beautiful napkins, pillowcases and tablecloths. She would spend hours working within a small “hoop” that stretched the fabric tight so she could follow the pattern. She would work with one color of thread at a time until she finished that part of the pattern.
If I looked underneath the “hoop,” I would see many knots and dangling threads that made no sense at all. It looked like a real mess. Looking carefully on the top side of the “hoop,” however, I would eventually see a pattern emerge that followed the plan of an artist. And when the product was finished, it was beautiful.
There are times when it seems as though life is made up of “many knots and dangling threads.” No matter where we look, nothing makes any sense at all. We feel forced to cry out, “Lord, what are You doing?” or “Where are you taking me?” or “What’s happening?” or “I want to give up!” or “Is there no plan, God?”
When times are tough, we must turn to and trust in His Word: “I know the plans I have for you;  Plans for good and not for evil; to give you a future and a hope!” Look for the pattern. It’s there!
Prayer: Lord, when days are dark and the path is perilous, let us sense Your presence and trust Your plan. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

"To The Glory Of God"

Johann Sebastian Bach is recognized as one of the world’s most famous musicians. He was orphaned when he was ten years old and went to live with his oldest brother, a church organist. He enjoyed music and his brother began teaching him how to play various instruments. At age fourteen he was awarded a scholarship to study music. After graduation he auditioned for a job he deeply wanted but was not hired.
He refused to be discouraged and dedicated himself to becoming a gifted musician and composer. On the top of each part of each composition he wrote the words, “To the glory of God.”
How would our lives be different if we preceded each word or deed or thought with the words: “Is what I am about to do or say or think going to bring glory to God?” Would our lips be sealed, our hands idle or our minds blank?
The Bible makes no apologies when it declares, “Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God!” All that we do or think is to be motivated by God’s love. Keeping this Scripture in mind will help us realize the impact our lives have for God - positively or negatively.
Prayer: Father, may every word or deed, thought or action bring unending glory to Your name each day of our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Joy Of Giving

It was their first anniversary and the husband wanted to make it one that his wife would remember for years to come. Speaking to a clerk in a greeting card store, he said, “I’d like a beautiful card for my wife to show her how much I truly love her.”
Leading him to the Anniversary Section, the clerk selected a card and presented it to him saying, “Here’s a lovely card, Sir, one of our most beautiful. And the message is most appropriate.”
“How much is it?” asked the husband.
“It's a little less than $7.00,” he replied.
“Wow!” gasped the shopper. “Got anything for about a buck?”
The church at Macedonia was going through troubling times and difficult days. But when it came to giving, Paul said that “They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.”
Giving, for the Christian, is the good and right thing to do. It is never dependent on the day or the time but on the joy we find and the peace we have in Christ.
Prayer: We pray, Father, that we will find the source and satisfaction of life in what we do with what we give. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 8:1-8 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:  that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Goal

Florence Chadwick swam across the English Channel from England to France in 13 hours and 20 minutes in 1950. The following year she swam from France to England becoming the first woman to swim the channel in both directions.
Two years later she decided to swim from the Catalina Islands to Palos Verdes, California, a distance of 26 miles. She was surrounded by people in small boats who were concerned for her well-being. They were prepared to help if she became tired or encountered any danger from sharks. After 15 hours, a thick fog settled in and she began to doubt her ability to complete her journey. An hour later she was pulled from the water, unable to see the shore. After getting into the boat, she learned that she had stopped one mile short of the shore.
Two months later she tried again – this time successfully. Even though a thick fog settled over her journey once again, she accomplished her goal because she kept a mental image of the coastline in her mind.
Paul said, “Fix your minds on what is true, right, honorable, lovely and admirable.” To achieve our goal to live “Christ like,” we must not let the “fog settle in!”
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to keep our eyes focused on You, and trust in Your strength to sustain and protect us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:8-10 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, October 21, 2015

Stress And Distress

A man hurrying to meet a deadline was caught in a traffic jam. As his anger grew and his patience diminished, he noticed a bumper sticker that read, “Go ahead and honk. It’s your ulcer.” It added to his rage and he tried to strangle his steering wheel by squeezing it as tightly as he could.
Stress invades all of our lives and quickly causes distress. Whether it is a problem we are having difficulty solving, a goal we can’t achieve or a decision that eludes us, we all face events that seem to be more than we can bear or beyond our capabilities. What then?
Peter said, “Give all your cares and worries to God for He cares about what happens to you!” When we refuse to give our stressors and struggles to God, we reveal our lack of trust in His strength. Often this shows a lack of humility on our part because we are saying to Him: “I really don’t need You - I can do this all by myself!” It takes real humility to admit to God that we need His help and the help of others who care for us. We need to recognize our limitations and His love and willingness to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.
Prayer: Father, give us grace for our grief, faith for our fears and peace and directions for every decision. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Peter 5:7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pretzels And Prayer

Years ago, there was a group of monks in the northern part of Italy who gathered a group of children together to teach them to pray. Each time the children learned a new prayer, they were given a gift as a reward.
One monk began to pray about the gifts he was giving the children. He wanted them to remind the children to pray. So, he decided to give the children a tasty item baked in his oven from unleavened bread. Rolling out a piece of dough, he carefully designed a pastry with three holes and a twist in the middle that represented two arms folded in prayer. He called it a “pretola” which means “little gift.” It was eventually called a “pretzel” and has been enjoyed all over the world for 1300 years.
All of us have many opportunities to remind people of the importance of prayer. One thing we can do is to share God’s answers to our prayers with others. Another thing we can do is to invite people to pray with us. We can also remind others of what God’s Word teaches about prayer. Perhaps one day when eating a pretzel with a friend, we can share the story of the pretzel and remind them to pray whenever they see a pretzel.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to realize the importance of prayer, to set an example in prayers and to teach others to pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 18:1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,

Monday, October 19, 2015

Practicing The Presence Of God

Lord Moynihan was a brilliant, skillful and world famous British surgeon. On one occasion after completing an operation before a gallery of doctors, a reporter asked, “How can you work so calmly with such a famous crowd of surgeons present?”
Thoughtfully he replied, “There are just three people in the operating room when I operate: the patient, myself and God.”
As he concluded his farewell speech, Moses told Joshua that the Lord would be with him: “Do not be afraid or discouraged, I will go ahead of you and be with you and never abandon you.” We often forget that wherever we are, God is: He is the one Who created us, has a plan for us and will purposefully work through us.
The opposite of being “discouraged” is to be “encouraged.” “En” means “to give courage to!” And this is what God will do for us constantly and continually. He will give us courage to face every challenge in life because He will never forget us, forsake us or fail us.
The question is not “Can we count on God to be faithful to us?” The question is “Can God count on us to be faithful and obedient to Him in all He asks of us?”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we sense Your presence and power wherever we are and whatever we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Overcoming Adversity

Enterprise, Alabama is known for having a monument to an agricultural pest - the boll weevil. In 1915, the “pest” invaded the area and destroyed their only crop - cotton. This disaster left the farmers destitute and nearly hopeless. However, in 1917 the county produced and harvested more peanuts than any other county in the nation.
The monument, erected in 1919, stands in the center of the downtown district as a symbol of their willingness and ability to adjust to and overcome adversity. The residents are quick and proud to remind visitors of the lessons they learned from the boll weevil.
One resident said, “There was a time when we had one crop - cotton; the boll weevil destroyed it. Then we were forced to diversify. Now we are doing better than ever. The boll weevil was a blessing in disguise.”
Paul said, “We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.” Difficulties are not to be dreaded. They are to be accepted as unique opportunities that God brings into our lives as challenges to help us “diversify.”
Prayer: Lord, help us to trust in Your goodness and grace, believing that all things are possible through You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 5:3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;

Saturday, October 17, 2015

One Father's Legacy

Fathers always leave a legacy for their children. We do it by word and deed - sometimes consciously. Other times we do it without being aware of what we leave as their inheritance. In preparing to leave the throne to his son, Solomon, David gave him the following legacy: The legacy of courage. “Be strong, prove yourself a man.” David knew his son would face difficult times and wanted him to have the strength that comes only from God. Having God’s strength would enable Him to serve the Lord faithfully and fully.
The legacy of conviction. “Keep the charge of the Lord your God.” Here David is advising Solomon to be a man of the Book - to always follow God’s Laws. It is important to gain knowledge, but knowledge without wisdom that comes from God is foolishness.
The legacy of conduct. “Keep His statutes.” A godly courage that is built on convictions flowing from God’s Word results in godly conduct. Godly conduct is a witness of the love and grace of God without our ever saying a word. Through us, people see God in action.
Our legacy lives forever in our children’s lives. What legacy are you leaving yours?
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to be fathers who leave a godly legacy for our children to follow and honor You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Kings 2:1-4 And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn;

Friday, October 16, 2015

Nothing To Live For?

Leland Stanford has been highly recognized for his business ventures, political achievements and interest in education. His only child, a son, died at age fifteen. He was so overwhelmed by this loss that he once cried out, “I have nothing to live for.”
One night while sleeping he had a dream. His son seemed to be saying to him, “Live for other children.” As a result of this dream, he endowed Stanford University to honor his son and other children.
Many times we are threatened by events that are truly overwhelming. Tragedy strikes, disasters invade our lives and everything we counted on for our security seems to collapse. Could it be that God is trying to get our attention?
Jesus once said, “If you give up your life for My sake and the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.” The message is rather simple and straight forward: “Allow Me to control your destiny and direct your life. Let Me lead you each day as you share My message.” However, what may sound simple is not always easy.
There is always a battle between Someone and something. But if we willingly center our lives on Him and worship and serve Him, we will discover true life.
Prayer: Father, to say we will surrender to You is easier said than done. But give us no peace until we try. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Mark 8:34-38 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Making Good Time

The pilot of the company aircraft had been flying the corporate executives from one city to another on a whirlwind tour. After they landed, the plane serviced and their meeting over, they would leave.
One day he decided he would have a little fun with his passengers and made the following announcement: “Gentlemen, there’s no cause for alarm, but I feel that you should know that we’ve been flying without a radio, compass, radar or navigational beam for the last hour. I’m not sure where we are heading, but we are making great time.” They all gasped.
Jesus once said that the only way to enter into God’s Kingdom is through a narrow gate. He did not say that it is impossible to enter the Kingdom, but that there was only one way. Many believe that they can find God without following His specific directions. They design their own plan to suit their own interests. It is like traveling with no map or compass, no GPS or road signs. What they do seems right to them but it is not - even though they enjoy it and make “great time.”
The “narrow gate” is believing in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, Who died for our sins and can save us.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for providing the way, the truth and life eternal through Your Son, our Savior. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because  narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Love Enough To Care

Day after day Amy Jo came home from school crying. Her classmates were unkind and hurtful. They made fun of her uncontrolled movements, her limping, twisting and drooling. She could hardly sit or stand still without jerking.
One day she wrote a letter to an editor. In it she said: “I have a problem in school. Kids laugh at me because of the way I walk and talk. I have cerebral palsy. I just want one day when no one laughs at me and makes fun of me.”
First one paper carried her story, and then another. Eventually it was carried by many newspapers and she received an astounding number of letters that brought her hope, comfort and encouragement.
Many people have broken hearts, not because of mental or physical disabilities. Their hearts ache and their shoulders droop because they are left out, feel unwelcome or unacceptable - even in our churches.
Jesus said that loving one’s neighbor was the second most important commandment and Paul said it was more important than any spiritual gift. Love is not a word; it is a way of life - the Christ-filled life.
PrayerHelp us, Father, to seek out the lonely, the abandoned and the neglected and give them Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Life Is Choice

Some politicians are notorious for the ability to explain away all of the issues without taking a stand on any of them. One was recognized as being as spineless as spaghetti. Once when asked a question he said, “Part of my friends favor one side of that issue and part of them favor the other side of that issue. I am in favor of my friends!”
No matter what is at stake, it is always possible to find people who will take opposing sides of any given issue. There are even times when the issue does not matter. People will still take sides and argue for the sake of arguing. Often the issue is fleeting or frivolous and not worth serious discussion or debate. Still, sides are chosen, positions staked out and battle lines drawn.
There is one issue that confronts everyone. It is the issue of who will be the Lord of our lives. Joshua once confronted the people of Israel and said, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.” The people had to make a choice between the God whom they knew they could trust, or the gods who had always failed them.
We, too, must make that choice. What we decide will determine our destiny.
Prayer: Father, give us courage to stand firm and to always be faithful in our commitment to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Joshua 24:14-15 But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Monday, October 12, 2015

Lead Me, Lord

A little boy was hanging onto the leash of a large dog with all of his strength. An amused observer asked, “Where are you taking your dog?”
“Well,” he replied, “first I want to see where he’s going. Then I’ll take him there as long as I can hold on to his leash.”
Often we chose to go in a certain direction and try to force God to come with us. We have a goal in mind, a destination in sight or a course charted for our lives. We try to push God into the gaps or squeeze Him into the corners.
However, we were created to be God-led. There are times when God leads us by pulling us along His paths and it seems as though He is working against our interests. There are also times when God works behind the scenes to accomplish His purpose in our lives. But the best times are those times when we go to Him in faith, believing that we need His guidance before taking the first step.
Someone once said, “Go slow to go fast.” If we patiently wait upon God in prayer and search His Word for direction we will feel the leading of His Spirit and know where He wants us to go.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to live a life of faith that we express through prayers, patience, obedience and trust. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Genesis 24:27 & 48 And I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the way of truth to take the daughter of my master’s brother for his son.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Keep On Keeping On!

Once, during a performance before a large audience by the great violinist Itzahk Perlman, a string suddenly broke. The loud snap stunned the orchestra and the conductor silenced them. The audience, too, waited silently, expecting him to pause and replace the string.
Quickly he motioned to the conductor and requested that they continue playing the concerto at the precise point where they had stopped. Perlman then joined them using only three strings.
At the conclusion of the concert the audience gave him a long, standing ovation for his brilliant performance. Finally, when they paused he said, “Sometimes it is the artist’s responsibility to find out how much music he can make with what he has left.”
Often we are tempted to focus on how little we may have rather than on how much God has given us. We emphasize our fears and failures rather than God’s grace and goodness. We look into the mirror and say, “If I had one more string, I could play brilliantly.”
God will give us the skills and talents, strength and power to do whatever He calls us to do.
Prayer: Lord, may we always serve You faithfully and sincerely with each of the gifts You have given us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Keep At It!

Little Leslie looked out the window at a large snow bank that blocked the sidewalk to the front door. He decided to do something about it. Bundling up in his warmest clothes, he got a snow shovel, went outside and began to remove the snow.
His neighbor was walking by and said to him, “How can such a small child like you expect to remove so much snow?”
Looking the man in the eye he said, “My Dad told me that if I don’t give up and keep at something, I can always get through it!”
The committed person is not the one who sees through something. The committed person is the one who sees something through!
Paul said that Christians are to “stay true to the Lord.” This is often difficult to do. We remind ourselves continually to keep our eyes on Jesus and never forget that this world is not our home.
George Whitfield constantly prayed, “Lord keep a thorn in my nest so I won’t get too comfortable and forget that I am here on this earth to work for You every day of my life.”
Prayer: Lord, may everything about us show those around us that we are faithful and true to You, our Savior. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Just Ask

During a lull in the Spanish-American War of 1898, Colonel Teddy Roosevelt went to a nurse named Clara Barton. Politely he said, “I have men who are sick and wounded in my regiment. They need the delicacies that you of the Red Cross have. I’m ready to pay for them out of my own pocket.”
“Not for a million dollars,” came the reply. “All you have to do is to ask.”
Salvation is like that. We cannot buy it or earn it, work to attain it nor expect to inherit it from a parent or relative.
We must ask for it with sincerity and the simple faith of a small child.
When offered a gift we must accept it to receive it. God’s salvation, through Jesus Christ, is offered to us as His gift. Even the faith to accept His salvation is a gift. But we must ask for and accept it to receive it.
Perhaps the most concise definition of how a person is saved is contained in the words: “By grace are you saved through faith which is a gift from God.” Our salvation comes from God’s grace and our trust in what He did for us through His Son. As Christians we live and die depending on God’s gifts of grace, faith and salvation.
Prayer: Father, we are grateful for Your love, grace and mercy and reach out to You in faith accepting Your salvation. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

"I Know I'm Not Lost"

While driving through a rural area on dirt roads, a gentleman from the city became confused. He stopped at a farm house to ask directions. When the farmer came to the door, he asked, “Can you tell me how to get to Interstate 16?”
Shaking his head from side to side, the farmer replied, “Nope.”
“Well, then,” continued the lost tourist, “do you know where U.S. 301 is?”
Thinking for a moment, the farmer said, “Don’t know that either.”
Frustrated and confused, the driver blurted out, “You’re stupid. You don’t know anything!”
“Well,” responded the farmer, “I know I’m not lost.”
There are many things we may not know or understand about the Bible, but there is one thing we can know with certainty: whether or not we are lost and separated from God. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Even though there are many roads that take us many places, there is only One Way that will lead us to God - Jesus. In Him we find God’s truth and the road to eternal life.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for providing a simple, certain and sure way that will lead us to life with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"I Certainly Hope So"

He had been dating JoAnn for nearly a year. One evening he decided that it was time he proposed to her and ask her to marry him. His plea was passionate and his voice sincere. After listening to his carefully chosen words she said, “I can’t become your wife!”
“Why?” he demanded. “Is there someone else?”
“I certainly hope so,” came the reply.
Hope is the confident optimism that comes to Christians who know that God has good things in store for them. Those whose hope is outside of Christ may “hope” for things that disappoint them or lead them into trouble. Some look expectantly for things to change and life to improve “hoping” that it is possible to find joy and peace with what the world has to offer.
If we place our “hope” in ourselves and desire the things of this world we will become frustrated, disappointed and confused. This world, nor the things it has to offer, can ever provide a reason for salvation or security. True “hope” only comes from the Lord. The Psalmist made it clear when he wrote that our “only hope is in You.”
Remember: God’s character is unchanging, His promises dependable, His love enduring, His care continuous and His faithfulness never waivers.
Prayer: Father, we claim Your Word as the only true and reliable source for hope as the anchor for our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 39:7 “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.

Monday, October 5, 2015

God's Will

Following the morning sermon, a young college student asked if the pastor could give him a few minutes of his time. Agreeing, the pastor asked the student to meet him in his study.
“Pastor,” the student began, “I did not completely understand what you meant by Christians being willing to do God’s will. What is God’s will for my life?”
Handing the student a sheet of paper with nothing on it, the pastor said, “It’s signing your name at the bottom of this blank sheet of paper and letting God fill it in as He chooses.”
God has a special, specific plan for each of us. It is a good plan, a pleasing plan and a perfect plan that He designed for every day of our lives. One problem most of us have is that we go to Him with what we want to do and ask Him to agree with us. That is not the way He works. Our life plans are to come from Him.
We can only be what He wants us to be and do what He wants us to do if we go to Him with a blank sheet of paper and ask Him to “fill it in.” We must go to Him with open minds, willing hearts and uplifted hands.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to willingly give up everything for You, and not give You up for anything. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 12:1-2 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.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Faith Factor

The family gathered around the table for the Sunday meal after church. Young James appeared as though he was deep in thought. Finally he said, “Dad, we have thermometers and barometers. Wouldn’t it be great if we had faithometers?”
“What do you mean, Son?” he asked.
“Well, the preacher talked about having faith and trusting God to answer our prayers. How do we know how much faith we have when we pray and don’t get any answers?” he asked. The father did not respond. But our Lord does.
Jesus once said, “You can pray for anything and if you have faith you will receive it.” This implies that Jesus is making an unconditional guarantee that God will hear and answer our prayers.
Prayer does three things for us. First, it enables us to do or accomplish things, that we may have thought were beyond our abilities because we do not claim His power and strength. Second, it can also enable us to accept life as Jesus did when He asked His Father to “let this cup pass from me.” It was the agony of the cross that led to the glory of the resurrection. And, third, it prepares us to endure things and ultimately discover that “His grace is sufficient.”
Prayer: Teach us, Father, to pray earnestly in faith believing that Your grace and mercy will sustain us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 21:22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Don't Doubt

Samuel Francis DuPont was a successful Admiral in the United States Navy. But on one occasion he suffered a humiliating defeat. Following this loss he went to his commanding officer and carefully explained what went wrong.
At the end of his explanation, his commanding officer said, “There’s one more reason you lost the battle that you did not mention. You did not believe that you could win.”
Doubt leads to defeat. It destroys our determination and undermines our vision. Whenever we doubt God’s power or ability and place our trust in someone or something else, it is as though we are saying, “God, we don’t trust You so we are going to try to solve our problems without You.”
Jesus once said, “If you really believe, you can say to this mountain - May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea - and it will happen!” Jesus used this powerful illustration to emphasize the fact God can do the impossible with us, for us or through us. God answers our prayers when we pray in faith, have unselfish motives, know that what we ask for will bring glory to Him and extend His kingdom on earth and is in keeping with His will for our lives.
Prayer: Lord, may we have enough confidence in Your Word to believe that all things are possible. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Decisions, Decisions

A farmer in rural Georgia was getting behind in his work so he hired a man to help him. The first day he asked him to dig a row of post holes. After he explained how to use the “digger” he left him to do his work. He completed his task in record time, and as a reward, the farmer gave him the rest of the day off.
The next day he gave him a much easier job: sorting good potatoes from bad ones. Half way through the morning he went to the farmer and said, “I’ve got to lie down. I have developed a horrible headache from making all of those decisions.”
Some of us look for excuses to escape the more difficult responsibilities that God gives us. We’d rather not take the time to develop our minds and accept the opportunities to develop the gifts that God gives. Always remember this: He will never ask us to exceed His expectations. And no matter what he asks us to do, we must demonstrate the fruits of His Spirit in everything by letting others see His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in everything.
Prayer: Lord, may everything we do and everything we say demonstrate the fruit of Your Spirit living in us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Acorns And Watermelons

A father and his son were walking through a grove of oak trees. Suddenly the boy turned to his Dad and said, “You know, I think God really goofed. He put a watermelon on a small vine and an acorn on a big oak. I would have done it the exact opposite.”
As he was about to continue his speech, an acorn fell from a tree, landed on his head and bounced to the ground.
Quickly the father said, “Aren’t you glad that wasn’t a watermelon?”
We are often puzzled by the events that occur in our lives. We do our best to understand them only to realize that we lack wisdom and insight to interpret them. Try as we might, there are some things that simply do not make sense to us. What then?
God’s Word reminds us that “If any of you lack wisdom and insight, ask Me for help and I’ll give them to you.” These are two of God’s greatest gifts that are available to any of us. But they only come from reading His Word and taking time to be with Him in prayer and meditation. He is willing to give us all the knowledge and courage to do whatever He asks of us but it will take time and discipline. His answers are always available but we must show Him that we are willing to do our part to get them.
Prayer: Lord, may we hear and obey Your instructions and find direction and protection for our lives.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Proverbs 3:5-7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.