Monday, November 30, 2015

Think, Then Talk

A witness had been called to testify. As he spoke, the judge listened very carefully. At one point he said, “I think, your Honor…”
The judge immediately stopped him and said, “We don’t care what you think. Simply tell us the facts!”
“But, your Honor,” he said “I can’t talk without thinking.”
What a difference a word makes. And what a different world this would be if our minds were filled with kind and gracious thoughts. It is a known fact that what we think about is what we say and what we do. Our words and actions show others our thoughts and feelings.
We get some great advice from Paul. He said that we are to “fix our thoughts on what is true…honorable…right…pure…lovely…admirable…excellent…and worthy of praise.”
Whenever we speak harsh words about others or do unkind deeds toward others it comes from the thoughts we have stored up in our mind about them. It is so easy to program our thoughts with the opposite of what Paul wrote. When we watch the news, read newspapers or magazines or even talk to friends, kind words on noble deeds are rarely the main topic of conversation.
Paul set the standard for the way Christians are to think and act. What keeps you from following his advice?
Prayer: Help us, Father, to fill our minds with things that are pleasing to You so that we reflect Your grace. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:8-9 if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sure I Do!

Two men were having an intense discussion about the Bible. Said one, “So, you think that you know a lot about the Bible. O. K. Here’s ten dollars that says you can’t repeat the Lord’s Prayer without making a mistake.”
The other quickly replied, “Here’s twenty dollars that says I can.” With a brave smile and a voice filled with confidence he began: “Now, I lay me down to sleep…”
Interrupting him, his friend said, “You sure surprised me. I didn’t think you knew it. Here’s the money.”
What an insightful story. Over one hundred million Bibles are sold each year. How astounding! Dare we ask: What difference will they make in the lives of people who purchased them? Or, what difference has the Bible made in the lives of those of us who have owned one for years? With all of the Bibles in circulation, no one can estimate how many are opened, read, understood, believed and have brought about changes in the lives of the owners.
People, even Bible owners, seem to be losing their moral compass. There is a lack of direction, determination and diligence to live God-honoring lives. The Psalmist said that the only way a person can “stay pure” is to “obey Your Word and follow its rules.” No matter how corrupt our environment may be, or how strong the temptations, or how much the “evil one” may try us, we can “stay pure” if we stay in His Word – the Bible.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to allow Your Word to make a difference in our lives as we accept and apply its truth. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:9-16 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Only The Best For A King!

Alexander the Great was the first world conqueror. He is also remembered as one of history’s most remarkable men.
Once while riding in his chariot he saw a poor beggar. Moved, he stopped, reached down and gave him several gold coins.
Surprised, his aide said, “Sir, copper coins would adequately meet a beggar’s need.”
“Oh!” said Alexander. “Copper coins would suit a beggar‘s need, but gold coins suit Alexander’s giving.”
What a perfect picture of the greatness of God’s grace. There may be times when we think we are not good enough for God’s grace or perhaps beyond the limits of His love. We may wonder if He will save someone as lowly or lonely, wretched or worthless as we sometimes feel. We may think that His salvation is for everyone except us.
Paul said that “God’s own Son died for us, was raised from the dead for us, is now interceding for us and no one or no thing can separate Him from us.”
If God gave His Son for us, He will not withhold any good thing from us. Often, in the scheme of things, we come to the conclusion that because of how we have lived or what we have done, His grace is insufficient rather than sufficient to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Not so!
Prayer: Father, in our moments of doubt and despair, may we reach out and up in faith, believing in Your love. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Friday, November 27, 2015

Let's Laugh!

One day a Christian who was known for having a quick smile and a loud laugh was asked, “Do you know if the Lord ever laughed?”
“I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that He fixed me so I could laugh!” came the answer.
He who laughs, lasts. A physician giving a lecture on “How To Enjoy Life and Live Longer” once said, “It is a known fact that people who laugh actually live longer than those who don’t laugh. In fact, if laughter could be prescribed and we could write prescriptions for it, it would be the most popular medication for many illnesses.”
Not only are laughter and health related, but so are laughter and holiness. When the Lord brought His children back to Jerusalem, the Psalmist wrote, “We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy!”
The absence of laughter in a person’s life suggests the presence of fear or worry, guilt or oppression, defeat or hopelessness. It is as if their future is dark and the light of life has been extinguished. Not wanting to look out and up, around and about, their eyes seem to have no focus.
God has the ability, power and desire to restore to each of us a life that is beyond our expectation or understanding. He can bring triumph out of tragedy, victory out of defeat, peace out of turmoil and life rather than death.
Prayer: Lord, help us to be happy, joyful Christians that reflect a sense of Your peace and presence in all of life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 126:2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Give Thanks In All Things

When four-year-old Sammy awoke after surgery, the nurse explained that it would be necessary for him to be fed intravenously for the next few days.
After assuring him that everything would be fine, she began the process to administer the glucose. Always in the habit of giving thanks before each meal, Sammy asked in a brave and cheerful voice, “Aren’t you going to give thanks?”
It is not easy to give thanks in painful situations. Nor is it natural to see God’s goodness in all of life’s trials and troubles. But the Apostle Paul reminds us to “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
When we give thanks, we acknowledge our confidence in the Lord, knowing that He cares for us. When we give thanks, we express our closeness to God, realizing that He is with us in every situation. When we give thanks, we declare that we are willing to accept the plan of God knowing that His will is being done.
Prayer: Dear Lord, may I learn the grace of giving thanks to You in all of life’s situations. Help me to realize that You are always with me, watching, protecting, providing and guiding me in every area of life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing,  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How Did You Get There?

Alex Haley, the famous author of Roots, had a picture of a turtle sitting on a fence in his office. One day a friend looked at the turtle, then at Haley and asked, “Why do you have such an unusual picture?”
He replied, “Anytime I start thinking ‘Isn’t it marvelous what I’ve done!’ I look at that picture and remember how this turtle – me – got on that post.”
None of us would be where we are today without the help of others. It may have been a mother or father, sister or brother, Sunday school teacher or deacon, choir or youth leader. Someone, somewhere along life’s path was at the right place at the right time to nudge us forward. We may have forgotten the name, but it was the kind word during painful times that got us through the difficulty.
The great thing about the Christian community, the church, is that we can be an inspiration to each other in our daily walk. Often we see or hear of someone who is struggling or straining to get through a tragic event. It may be an illness or the death of a loved one, a problem at work or a difficult time learning a new skill, a family that is disintegrating because of a failed marriage. We Christians are to have a heart that shows Christ’s love, a voice through which He speaks and a hand with which He helps. Fortunate is the church with helpful encouragers.
Prayer: Father, open our eyes to see what You see, to do what You would have us to do and to lift the fallen. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 41:6 Everyone helped his neighbor, And said to his brother, “Be of good courage!”

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

You're In Show Business

Branch Rickey was one of baseball’s most respected managers. Once, when a rookie reported for spring training, he took him aside and said, “Son, there’s only one thing you must remember now that you’re a professional. You’re in show business. You’ll be performing on the biggest stage in the world, the baseball diamond. You’re expected to put on a great performance every day, no matter how you feel.”
What was true for the rookie is true for us. Each day we are “performing” – or witnessing – our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And, unfortunately, it does not matter how we feel.
All of us have good days, and days that are not so good. We have days when we feel the warmth of the sun and days when it seems as though we are wrapped in the darkness of night. Some days are pleasant while others are a disaster. And what is true about the kind of days that Christians have is also true of the kind of days that those who are not born again have: everyone has similar kinds of days. The difference, however, is that we have Christ in us and that should make the way we live different from the nonbeliever.
As with ball players so with Christians. People are watching everything we do every moment of every day. Play the game in His strength.
PrayerHelp us, Father, to live each day realizing that we represent You. May we always be found faithful. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 4:14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Who Needs Us?

It was bedtime and Will was upstairs getting ready for his evening prayers. Dad was sitting in his favorite chair waiting to pray with his son.
“Hey Dad,” said Will, “come up and help me undress and put my pajamas on.”
“Come on, Will,” said his Dad, “you know how to do all that. You’ve done it many times before.”
“Yea,” he admitted, “but sometimes people need people, even if they can do things by themselves.”
How very true!
Life, at times, is a battle. The odds we face seem insurmountable, the challenges become almost more than we can bear and the clouds gather for a storm that could sink our little boat. Then what?
David said, “I look for someone to come and help me but no one gives me a passing thought…no one cares a bit what happens to me…then I pray to You, oh Lord.”
Certainly we can call upon the Lord for protection, wisdom and strength. But many do not know our Lord and do not know what is available. So, He brings them into our life that we may reach out to them in love and mercy, care and compassion, giving them hope and help as He does us.
It’s like Will said, “People need people!” We need to reach out to those who need our help wherever that are – whoever.
Prayer: Open our eyes, Father, to see those around us who are in need, begging for someone to give hope and help. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 142:4-5 I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Worth Of A Wife

After a Sunday sermon on Solomon, James asked his Dad, “Why was he considered the wisest man in the world?”
“Because,” came an immediate response from his Mom, “he had so many wonderful wives to advise him.”
The Bible tells that the Lord formed man from the dust of the ground, breathed the breath of life into his nostrils and he then became a living person. However, He realized that it was not “good for the man to be alone” and said, “I will make him a companion.”
God’s creative work was not complete until He made woman. He could have made her from the dust of the ground as He did Adam. But He didn’t. God chose to make her from the man’s flesh and blood to illustrate that when a man and a woman marry they are symbolically united into one. This ultimately represents a mystical union of the couple’s hearts, bodies, minds and lives.
Proverbs ends with the characteristics of the woman that God intends for a man to marry. In addition to being virtuous, she is to be strong, wise, skilled, energetic, have great compassion and be an excellent wife and mother. Do such characteristics seem far beyond reason? Not really, says the Author. All that he describes as the qualities of this woman come from one source: The God who created her.
Prayer: Father, we pray for godly parents that provide godly homes so children will come to know You as Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Proverbs 31:10-31 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Seekers, Finders

Comedian Red Skelton was once asked to speak to a college student body on the subject of religion. At the end of his speech, during a question and answer session a student asked, “Why can’t I find God?”
Skelton quickly responded, “For the same reason you can’t find a cop. You’re not looking for one.”
King David had something to say to those who said that they can’t find God: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak and night after night they make Him known.”
What is so obvious about God is that He is so obvious to those who are looking for Him. In this one psalm David writes that God can be found in the heavens (v.1-4), in nature (v.4-6), in the instructions He has given in His Word (v.7-11), and the story of redemption that can be witnessed in the life of the Psalmist himself (v.12-14).
What a wonderful summary of the story of salvation! We have been surrounded by innumerable displays of God’s craftsmanship that prove His power and presence. Yet, what He has done is not for Himself but for us! And ultimately and finally, He reveals Himself in His love for us as we see His Son die on the cross, overcome death and bring us life everlasting. David spoke of the might of God and the miracle of His Son when he asked God to forgive him for his sin. Have you asked God to forgive you for your sins?
Prayer: We thank You, Lord, for loving us so much that You did everything possible to reach and redeem us through Christ. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 19 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.

Friday, November 20, 2015

"Man Needs Challenges"

James Whitaker was the first American to conquer Mount Everest. A reporter asked him, “Why did you risk your life in such an endeavor?”
“Because,” he said, “of the challenge. I wanted to see if I could stand on the top. You don’t conquer the mountain. You conquer yourself. You overcome your sickness, your pains and your fears to reach the summit. Man needs challenges.”
Life is full of challenges. Some we create to develop our strength or potential. Others come at us as a complete surprise with no warning in advance or means of escape. Many are short term while others may last a lifetime. While we can overcome most of them, there are some that overcome us.
There are times when God uses certain trying situations in our lives to prepare us for tasks that are in our future. There are times when He knows that we need to increase our faith and trust in His grace and mercy. And there are times when we face hardships because of our poor choices or not following His will for our lives.
The Bible tells us that we will encounter many trials in this life. But it also promises us that God will be with us, and that His presence, love, comfort and strength are ours for the asking.
Prayer: Father, when we go through the difficulties of life we ask for Your hand and the assurance of Your presence. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's You I Love!

While on a trip to the store, a driver became careless and sideswiped a car while changing lanes. The driver of the damaged car was frightened and nervous. Tearfully she opened the glove compartment trying desperately to locate the required insurance documents.
Fumbling through maps and warranties, she finally found the small plastic envelop with the papers that she needed. As she began to open them for the police officer, her eyes focused on a note that her husband had written: “Dear Mary, when you need these papers, remember it is you I love, not the car!”
What a loving note from a caring husband! It’s what Paul had in mind when he wrote: “You husbands must love your wives and never treat them harshly.”
We husbands show our wives that we respect them and love them through kind and caring deeds. It is what we are obligated to do. What we do and how we treat our wives reflects and reveals the true nature of our love and heart of our character. At all times and in all situations we are to act consistently in ways that prove to our wives that we love them. Wherever we are and no matter what happens, our words and our actions must always demonstrate our love for our wives.
Prayer: Father, may we love our wives with kindness, tenderness, compassion, and thoughtfulness at all times. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:18-19 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I Want To Love You

Sally was sitting in her favorite rocking chair hugging and kissing her favorite doll. Every now and then she would glance up at her mother who was working at her desk.
As soon as her mother finished her work, Sally jumped from her rocker, ran to where her mother was sitting, climbed in her lap, gave her a hug and kiss and said, “I’m sure glad you are through working. I want to love you!”
“But,” said her mom, “I thought you were having a good time loving your doll.”
“I was, Mom,” she said, “but she never loves back.”
Our God loves us relentlessly and continuously. No matter our flaws or our faults, He loves us completely. Even though we have faltered and failed He has not abandoned us. His love is a love that is not conditional or complicated. It is a love that is available at all times, in all places and in all kinds of circumstances.
And one of God’s great desires is that we love others the same way He loves us. First, He asks that we love Him in return for the love He has shown us in His Son. Then He asks us to love others the way He loves us. When we love others, it proves that we are His children, who we are and what is important to us. Loving others pleases Him more than any great work that we might do on His behalf.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to love others as You love us - expecting nothing in return but the opportunity to serve You. 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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Free From Fear

The word “freedom” carries with it the idea of being free from any restraints or not being bound by any regulations, rules or requirements. Many long to live a life with no obligations, no opposition or no oppression.
Yet all of life is wrapped with boundaries of one nature or another. Highways are divided by traffic lanes, stop signs, caution signs, turning lanes and many other constraints. Every athletic contest or sporting event has specific lines, certain types of equipment or clothing and regulations to control the activities of the participants. Even something as simple as boiling water has specific requirements.
Rarely, if ever, do we pause to consider all of life’s limits. We take for granted the ability to move about at will, make independent choices and manage our own affairs. But does moving and choosing and managing make us free? Not really. They still involve constraints in the final analysis. Where, then, do we find freedom?
Paul said, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” God, through Christ, offers us the priceless gift of living each day free from destroying ourselves and free for being who He wants us to be and doing what He has created us to do. But we must allow His Spirit to direct us along the path He has laid out for us. We can only be free if we have accepted the forgiveness of God through Christ and are obedient to His teachings.
Prayer: Lord, may we not fool ourselves into thinking we are free if we are enslaved by sin and have not been forgiven. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Words Work!

Hearing had become a rather serious problem for him as he aged. So, Grandpa decided to purchase a hearing aid. After completing the various tests and adjustments, he began to wear it with much enjoyment. Everyone was delighted that he was more responsive and involved during their conversations. However, no one saw the small, almost invisible device in his ear.
Delighted at how his life had improved, he went back to visit his doctor to thank him for his help. As he was about to leave the office the doctor said, “I’m sure that your family and friends are as happy as you are!”
“Are you kiddin’!” chuckled Grandpa. “They don’t know I have it and they sure don’t know that I can hear now. I’ve changed my will three times in two weeks.”
How would our words be different if all the world was listening to everything we said? How would our words be different if, when we went to say something about someone, that “one” was there, part of the conversation - listening and participating? Would the conversations ever begin and could we look them in the eye as we spoke?
“May my words…and thoughts…be pleasing, Oh, Lord.” A good way to begin each day is to dedicate our mouths to God asking that His love will guide our words.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to realize that our words are at work, helping or hurting, blessing or breaking, bringing life or death. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Who Is The Enemy?

In 1759 the English and French were at war in colonial Canada. Admiral Phipps was in charge of the British fleet. He was ordered to anchor outside of the city of Quebec on the Saint Lawrence River. He was to await the arrival of the British infantry and then assist land forces in the attack.
The admiral was known to be a nonconformist and became annoyed at all of the statues of the saints that adorned the roof and towers of the Catholic Church. To pass the time he began shooting at the saints with the guns that were aboard his ship. Finally, when the infantry arrived and the signal was given for the attack, Admiral Phipps was out of ammunition and he could not participate in the battle. He used all of his ammunition shooting at the saints.
Peter wrote about “shooting out the saints” when he said, “Finally…live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.”
So often we waste our time and energy fighting among ourselves over the insignificant and trivial. We would rather destroy those who differ with us than to build up and encourage each other to become Christlike. We must focus on fighting the enemy - Satan.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to recognize who the real enemy is and direct our attack at him and his forces who would destroy us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Real Loser

School was out for the summer and Ronnie decided that he needed to make some money. Waking up early one morning he went to the berry fields and spent most of the day picking pails of beautiful, tasty blueberries. His Dad took him into town where he decided to go from door to door to sell his produce.
When the lady of the house opened the door, he politely asked, “Would you like to buy some berries, Ma’am?”
“Yes,” she answered. “I’ll take your pail into the kitchen and measure two quarts and bake a delicious pie.”
Ronnie decided to stay outside and play with their big dog. Puzzled, the woman asked, “Don’t you want to come inside and see that I measure your berries right? How do you know I’m not going to cheat you?”
Petting the dog, Ronnie said, “Oh, I’m not afraid of your cheating me. You’d get the worst of the deal.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“I’d just lose my berries,” he answered, “but you’d make yourself a thief!”
Temptation is ever before us and always around us. It is there when we feel strong and present when we are weak. It never leaves us and always confronts us. But we need not give in! God will always provide us with an escape route. We must turn our eyes to Jesus, believing He’ll help.
Prayer: Lord, we will always be tempted and tried, but can be assured that You will provide a way out if we ask. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 10:13 but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Saved By A Shadow

SAVED BY A SHADOW
A college athlete was training for the Olympics. Late one night he couldn’t sleep so he decided to go to the pool and practice diving. The lights were not on but the moon was shining brightly through the skylight providing enough light to see the outline of the pool.
He turned his back to the pool as he stood on the edge of the high diving board. As he prepared to jump into the pool, he stretched out his arms. The light from the moon at his back cast the shadow of a cross on the wall he was facing. As he prepared to jump into the pool the janitor came into the room and turned on the lights. The lights startled him and he looked downward and saw that the pool was empty.
Immediately he climbed down the ladder, fell to his knees and thanked God for the Light that saved his life, and the Light that led him into the Kingdom of God.
Perhaps there are some who will consider this event a “stroke of luck” or a “fortunate experience” in the scheme of life. But in God’s plan for each of our lives there is no such thing as “luck” or “good fortune.” He wants to work out His perfect will for our lives and is constantly waiting for us to seek His guidance. However, we must be open and sensitive to His voice, and when He appears before us, be anxious to do what He calls us to do.
Prayer: Father, open our eyes that we may see You, our ears that we may hear You and to live lives that will please You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 2:4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Making Choices

Sitting on a steel girder high above the ground, Joe opened up his lunch container, looked at his sandwich and said, “Peanut butter and jelly. Three days in a row now, I’ve had peanut butter and jelly.”
“Why are you complaining to me? Complain to your wife. Tell her you don’t want peanut butter and jelly,” said his friend, John.
“Don’t blame my wife,” said Joe. “She didn’t make them. It’s my lunch so I make my own sandwiches.”
In one way or another, we all “make our own sandwiches.” What goes in between the slices of bread is, in the final analysis, up to us. We can eat the same old thing or experiment with new tastes.
When we receive Christ, we are regenerated spiritually and emotionally and God wants to give us a new way of thinking. The Spirit of God comes to make His home in us and wants us to have the mind of Christ in us to guide us.
Even so, we chose what goes into our lives. We still have our own nature and will, but we do have a new source of insight and wisdom available to us. We can, with the Lord’s guidance, fill our minds and hearts and lives with the best that God has to offer if we are only willing to seek His guidance.
Prayer: We ask, Father, that we will allow Your Spirit to guide our choices so that we may live worthy of You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 2:16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

It's About Time

Henry Ford was a master manager. One of his habits was to visit his executive officers in their offices.
He was once asked a most interesting question: “Mr. Ford, why don’t you have your executives come to your office rather than you going to their offices?”
“Because,” he replied, “I can leave the other fellow’s office a lot quicker than I can get them to leave mine.”
Henry Ford understood the value of time: Time is a precious gift, pure and simple, and it is to be used wisely. Once gone, it can never be reclaimed or replaced. It cannot be recycled or replenished and it certainly cannot be stored up for the future.
But there is more for the Christian. Paul says that we are to “make the most of every opportunity.” We are to seize the moment when God presents us with an opportunity to work for Christ and serve others who He brings into our lives. Each day He provides us countless opportunities to share His message and be a witness to others about His grace by showing them His love and concern.
Unfortunately, there are many who profess to be His disciples yet refuse or deliberately avoid opportunities to serve Him. How many times have we been asked to teach, to sing, to visit, to work for the good of others through our church only to refuse the opportunity? We are on His “clock.” We must use our time wisely.
Prayer: Lord, impress upon each of us the importance of every minute of every day and every opportunity to serve You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 5:15-21 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

How Worry Works

It was the end of the day and the last trip for the bus driver. He was irritable and it was obvious when a father boarded the bus with his young son. “Where’s the fare for your boy?” he demanded.
“The boy’s only three,” replied the father.
“Look at him,” the driver replied forcefully. “He’s got to be at least seven!”
The father looked down at his son and said, “Can I help it if he worries a lot?”
Worry is a wonderful aging agent. It doesn’t eliminate the problem - it expands it. It seems to be a natural part of everyone’s life. And it adds wrinkles and woes.
Worry seems to have three sources: our failures in the past, not being able to control the present and fear of the future. Our past failures are covered by God’s grace and He will forgive us. And, He is in control of our lives at this very moment. Remember, too, that He has planned our future and will give us His power to succeed if we trust in Him.
Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God and trust also in Me.” Jesus Himself had been troubled and tested on three different occasions. But His unflinching faith and confidence in His Father made it possible for Him to face every crisis: past, present and future. First comes belief, then faith, and finally trust. Why worry? God’s Word works!
Prayer: If worry does anything, Father, it shows our lack of trust in Your promises. Help us to believe without doubting. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Faith, Fact Or Feeling?

Yesterday a man was sitting across from me in my office. Suddenly he burst into tears and said, “I don’t feel saved. And I don’t know what to do.”
Immediately I replied, “Salvation does not depend upon feelings, it depends on facts and faith!”
God often opens the door to our heart when His Spirit convicts us with feelings of guilt and remorse for the sins we have committed. These feelings may bring an awareness of sin and the consequences of sin but they cannot save anyone from sin.
John’s Gospel states it clearly and simply: “But to all who believed Him (fact) and accepted Him (faith) He gave the right to become children of God (salvation).” We find nothing about feelings in this important verse. What we do find is a statement declaring that Jesus Christ Who is Savior and Lord will welcome anyone who will receive Him. Those who do will be reborn spiritually and will receive new life from God Himself.
This new birth changes us from the inside out. It will change what we believe and how we live, our desires and values. Our feelings remain and can bring moments of doubt. Thank God that the facts of our salvation are certain, decreed and declared by God the Creator and Redeemer. And that it is “by grace through faith” that we are saved.
Prayer: Lord, when moments of doubt arise, may we in faith turn to You for hope and help to believe Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Who's In There, Anyway?

During an examination, the doctor was trying to make a nervous little girl feel comfortable. Looking down her throat, he asked, “Do you think I’ll find the Cookie Monster down there?” The little girl was puzzled and did not respond.
Then he put a stethoscope to her chest to listen to her heartbeat and asked, “Do you think I’ll hear Grover growling in there?” Becoming more confused, she looked at her Mother wondering how to respond.
Finally, he looked into her ears and said, “I wonder if I’m going to see Barney inside?”
Perplexed, she looked at him and said, “I don’t think you’ll find the Cookie Monster inside me, but there are probably a few French fries from lunch. And Barney’s on my slacks as you can plainly see. And there is no room for Grover in my heart. I opened it up to Jesus and He lives there now.”
Jesus wants to come into our hearts and save us and have fellowship with us. Quietly, He stands there gently knocking, graciously waiting. He is always persistent and patient, but never pushy. He allows us to make the decision to invite Him into our lives and bring His life changing power and presence inside the door of our heart. This is what He wants as He waits quietly for us to respond.
Prayer: Father, we admit that You want to save us and that we cannot save ourselves. May we accept Your salvation now. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Trust

Seven mountain climbers successfully made it safely to the top of the Matterhorn. As they began their descent, one slipped and began to drag three others down with him. Their cries alerted the others and they braced themselves quickly to stand the pressure it would place on the rope that linked them all together.
When the pressure came, the rope broke. Their best friends perished.
The remaining three descended safely. When they checked the rope the others were using, they discovered that it was not a genuine Alpine Club rope.
Trust is an important part of life. When we apply the brakes in our car, we trust that it will stop. When we sit in a chair, we trust that it will hold us up. When we eat food, we trust that it is safe. When we follow the advice of our physician, we trust that it will make us well.
But we have all experienced the disappointment of placing our trust in someone who has betrayed us. It may have been a friend or a family member, an employer or the economy. The pain is always intense when one we trust lets us down.
We must not stop trusting, however, we must realize that earthly things and people can fail. We must come to the place where we put our ultimate trust in God, knowing He honors His Word.
Prayer: Father, how thankful we are that “salvation is of the Lord” and that we can trust in You all the days of our life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Last Appointment

“I’m not afraid to die,” begins an old fable. “I’ll gladly go with you, if you will only give me a warning. Let’s make that our agreement.”
“We will,” promised the visitor.
One night, years later, Death came for the old man. “You are here without warning!” shouted the frightened man. “Why didn’t you let me know you were coming?”
“I did,” answered Death. “Your hair is thin and white. Your hearing is very poor. You cannot see without thick glasses. You have difficulty in walking. Your closest friends have gone on. I’ve sent you many messages but you did not seem to be interested in any of them. But now your time has come to leave with me.”
It is not a topic we usually talk or think about very frequently, yet we all know our time on earth is limited. But Jesus, Who wants to be our Savior, died on our behalf so we could live with Him in eternity forever. He has provided us an unbelievable opportunity if we only accept it. His saving grace does away with our past, present and even future sin if we accept what He has done for us on the cross. When we reach out to Him, in faith believing, He’ll be there with us at “the last appointment” waiting graciously to take us to be with Him.
Prayer: We rejoice, Father, in the goodness of Your love, the fact of Your salvation and the hope we have in You.  In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Hebrews 9:27-28 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ready, Aim...

D. L. Moody, the founder of Moody Bible Institute, was known to be a man of action. One day he was talking to a church leader about an idea he had for his church. He described it in great detail and wanted to know if it had any merit. So he asked, “What do you think?”
After a moment’s thought, the man replied, “We’ve been aiming to do that for two years.”
“Well,” said Mr. Moody, “don’t you think it’s time to fire?”
God speaks to us in various ways. Sometimes it is when we read His Word or listen to a sermon. His Spirit may even give us a nudge while we are meditating. He often speaks through a friend who tells us of one who needs a word of encouragement. We may learn of someone who is suffering or doing without the necessities of life.
Although it is important to hear God speak to us, it is more important to obey His voice by doing what His Spirit prompts us to do. Our love for God is measured by obeying His commandments and serving others in need.
God “readies” us to serve others with the skills, talents and abilities He has given us. When we see an opportunity to serve Him, we need to take “aim.” And then at the right time, “fire.”
Prayer: Help us, Father, to do more than see the needs of others. May we be anxious to reach out and make a difference. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Making A Difference

He was a sickly child. Learning to read and write was a difficult task. But as he grew older, he wanted to learn everything he could. So, he forced himself to master difficult subjects. In fact, he is respected and honored as a theologian, philosopher, organist, physician, medical missionary, founder of a hospital in Africa and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952.
When he announced to his friends that the Lord called him to become a missionary to Africa, they were shocked. “Don’t waste your life,” they begged. But Dr. and Mrs. Albert Schweitzer refused to let their pleas of their friends overcome God’s call and His plan for them. They labored as missionaries for fifty years, accomplishing much for God.
In Mark’s Gospel Jesus assured His disciples that anyone who gave up anything for His sake would be repaid a “hundred times over” in this life, including a new family – the family of God and His children! What we gain by following the call of Jesus may not be more of what we once had, but the satisfaction of knowing Him and receiving His blessings and serving Him far outweigh any earthly loss.
And He continues by saying, “And you will also have eternal life.” Imagine, if you can – His presence, peace and promises now and being with Him in health in the life to come.
Prayer: We thank You, Lord, for calling each of us to a life of service. May everything we do bring others to You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Mark 10:29-31 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife  or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Luck Or Labor?

Gary Player, the great golfer, was completing the final hole in the final round of an important tournament. His ball landed in a sand trap and it appeared as though he would not win. He walked into the bunker, looked at his ball and then the green, and then positioned himself for a make-or-break swing. Finally, he blasted the ball with all of his might; it went up into the air and rolled into the cup!
One of his spectators shouted, “You were sure lucky, Gary!”
“Yes,” he replied, “but the more I practice and the harder I work, the luckier I get!”
Luck waits for someone or something to turn up and bring good fortune. It spends countless hours looking into the future believing that there will be a turn of events, an unanticipated shower of good things falling from the clouds, an unexpected opportunity that comes in the mail or over the phone. Luck seems to suggest that if we wait long enough, patiently enough, quietly enough, good things will happen.
Some think that chance happenings, good or bad, are a result of one’s “luck.” Is there such a thing? Is there a reference to it in God’s Word? No. But He does say that we are to seek and trust His understanding of things, not ours.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, not to wait and wonder, but to work and watch for signs and signals that give us Your directions. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Monday, November 2, 2015

How To Stop Truth Decay

The defendant was being sworn in before he was to testify. After placing his hand on the Bible he was asked, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”
“I do,” he answered.
“Now,” asked the judge, “what do you have to say in your defense?”
“Your Honor,” he replied, “with the restrictions you’ve placed on me, I can’t say anything!”
Lying is as old as recorded history. It was Satan who told the first lie in the Garden of Eden when he said to Eve, “You won’t die.” In one brief sentence he was able to bring into question all of the promises and privileges that God offered Adam and Eve. Ever since that day telling lies to deceive and destroy others, has been a common practice.
Paul has some strong advice for Christians, however. He says, “So, stop telling lies!” Because the Holy Spirit has given us a new nature, we are to behave in new ways. One of them is to speak the truth, at all times, in love.
God has blessed us with the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And if the Lord controls us, He will control what we say. He knows our hearts and we know His truth. Whenever we speak the truth filled with His love, it can become a beautiful thing to those around us.
Prayer: Give us courage, Father, to surrender our minds and our mouths to You and always speak honestly and honorably. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Challenging The Unknown

It was the responsibility of Doc, our German shepherd, to be the protector of our home. He had been specially trained for this duty. Each evening he would travel from room to room making sure that “all was well.” After he completed his “tour” he would lie patiently between our chairs never leaving us for a moment.
One evening he heard thunder for the first time. Up went his ears. His eyebrows furrowed. Finally, he sat up ready to do something. His only problem was that he did not know what to do: they did not teach him “thunder” at the dog training school. So, he immediately began running from room to room, barking loudly and looking for an intruder who dared to challenge him.
Initially, it was rather humorous. But as the intensity of his search continued and his fear and frustration became more futile, I called him to my side. Then I ordered him to sit, placed his body next to my leg and petted him gently until the thunder and his fear were gone.
Thunderstorms are common in all of our lives. They often appear with no warning. One moment the sky is blue, the clouds bright and the breeze gentle. The next moment we are facing driving rains and fierce winds. Wisely, for all of us, King David said, “But when I am afraid, I put my trust in You!”
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the peace that comes with Your protection and the strength You give with Your grace. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 56:3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.