Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sitting Or Standing?

Young Timothy was running through the house as fast as his little legs could carry him. As he was going around a corner he slipped, fell, and broke his mother’s most expensive vase. Pointing at a chair, his mother raised her voice and said, “Sit!”
“I won’t!” he said defiantly.
Taking him by the shoulders she backed him into a chair, forcing him to sit down. As she was about to begin a lecture, he said boldly, “I may be sitting on the outside, but I’m still standing on the inside!”
Many Christians have the same attitude toward God. With hearts that are hard and minds that are determined, they stand before His presence with an attitude of defiance. Often, when we do not get what we want from God, we seem to raise our fists and say, “If You won’t give me what I want, I’ll get it on my own. I don’t need Your strength or power, I’ll use my own.”
When we turn from God and willingly allow sin to harden our hearts as a lump of clay hardened by the sun there is nothing He can do. When we refuse to be open to the Spirit of God and choose to go our own way and do our own thing He will not stop us. Be careful not to turn against the Lord.
Prayer: Father, may we realize that You do for us and give to us what it best for us. Give us open minds and willing hearts. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 95:6-11 Today, if only you would hear his voice, “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Leaving An Imprint

Luther Burbank had the touch of a magician. He transformed the world of agriculture as he brought wonderful new plants and fruits to the fields of farmers.
His secret to success, so it seems, began as a child. Instead of giving him toys and playthings, his parents would give him plants to study and observe. As he grew older, he was taught about the marvels of nature, preparing him for his later profession.
Paul wrote to Timothy and reminded him that he was “taught the Holy Scriptures from childhood and they have given you the wisdom to receive salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.”
The “Holy Scriptures,” for Timothy, were the books of the Old Testament which pointed to Christ. So, when he heard Paul preach, he understood his message and became a follower of Jesus. But it was his parents who prepared him for his calling to Servant-hood.
Timothy was a respected Christian who became Paul’s representative. He probably knew Paul better than any other person and was even like a son to the Apostle, giving him much comfort and encouragement. The influence of parents always changes history.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to realize the importance that we parents have on our children and how we shape them for their future – in this life and the one to come. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

Friday, January 29, 2016

Headwork And Hard Work

He was new at his job of painting yellow lines to divide the city streets. The first day he painted three miles. The second day he painted two miles. On the third day he painted one mile.
Noticing that his work was taking longer and the lines getting shorter, his supervisor went to him and asked, “What’s happening? You did three times as much work the first day as you did today and two times the work yesterday that you did today. What’s going on?”
“Well, sir,” came the reply, “I am getting further and further from the locker where we store the paint and it takes me longer to walk back and forth to get it.”
This is a great example of hard work instead of headwork. To be successful in life it takes both, especially, for the Christian.
The quality and quantity of our work is very important because it reflects our relationship with God.
Paul said, “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive His approval.” It is important for us to remember that God examines our work. There are times when what we do becomes boring or seems to be insignificant; but we must always remember that whatever we do, we are to do it for the glory of God.
Prayer: Lord, may we constantly remind ourselves that whatever we do represents You to those around us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Getting A Second Opinion

A farmer had been suffering from a rash on his leg and finally decided to visit a dermatologist to determine the cause. After a number of tests, the doctor was able to determine the cause. He called the farmer into his office and said, “Sir, after all of the tests and examinations, the results show that you are allergic to your dog. You will have to get rid of him.”
“No, sir,” replied the farmer emphatically. “It’s easier to get another doctor than another good bird dog. I’d rather get some other opinions and wait until I find someone who says I can keep my dog.”
There are many people who will not accept the fact that “There is salvation in no one else,” as Peter declared. This is not something that came from Peter or the other disciples; it came from Jesus Himself.
It was God’s decision to designate Jesus to be the Savior of the world. He has no equal and no one or no thing can take His place. It is important to be open-minded on many things before making some decision. But God’s Word says: “There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call upon to save them.”
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for that Name which is above every name, the Name of Jesus, who can save us. In His Name we pray. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Feeling Forsaken?

He became seriously ill, felt friendless and had no money. In desperation, George Handel cried out loud: “My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” In the midst of his misery, a friend walked into his home and handed him a text from the Bible. He said to Handel, “The Lord gave me these words.”
Handel began to leaf through the text looking for something familiar. Suddenly his eyes focused on the verse, “He was despised and rejected of men.” He became inspired by the Lord and began to put the words to music.
Night and day, for twenty-four days, he kept writing. Finally, he finished the script of the Hallelujah Chorus and cried, “I saw all heaven before me, and the great God Himself.”
Discouragement is no stranger to the Christian. Neither are fleeting moments of depression. One of our best solutions in times of distress is to turn to the Word of God and claim His promises. The Psalmist said, “Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – My Savior and my God.” When we place our hope in God and praise Him, life always improves!
Prayer: Help me, Lord, to focus on Your promises in times of doubt, moments of distress, and days of discouragement. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 42:5-6 Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Curiosity

Luther Burbank, the famous horticulturist, enjoyed entertaining and getting to know his guests. He always insisted that they sign his guest book before leaving. One column in the book asked the guests to describe their interests.
When Thomas Edison visited, Burbank asked him to be certain to sign his guest book. In the column where the guests were to describe their interests, Edison wrote the word, “Everything!”
His life reflected his interests. Among his many inventions were the phonograph, the telegraph, the incandescent light, the motion picture camera, light sockets, the dictating machine, iron ore products and wax paper.
The Bible tells the story of a short, determined, tax collector. He was desperately interested in seeing Jesus, but he could not see Him because he was so short and the crowd so large. He solved his problem by climbing a tree. Not only did he see Jesus, but Jesus saw him. As a result, Zacchaeus got saved. When our primary interest in life is to see Jesus, we can be assured that He will make Himself visible.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we look above the crowds and the things of life to seek, find, and know You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 19:1-10 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Monday, January 25, 2016

Why Not The Best?

A doctor listened quietly as his patient carefully described his many symptoms. After reflecting on all of his complaints, the doctor said, “The best thing for you to do is to give up alcohol and all of the rich foods that you eat.”
“Oh, me,” said the patient. “What’s the next best thing?”
Why is it that we are willing to accept what is second best when God wants to give us His very best?
Paul said, “As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more.” The key here is, “as the Spirit works within us.” Much like the patient, we must be willing to change. How? By allowing His Spirit to work within us if we want the very best that God has for us.
God always wants us to have His very best. We must never forget that we were made “in the image of God.” As we read, remember, and reflect on the teachings of His Word, our knowledge of Who He is and what He is really like will grow. Then the Holy Spirit can help us to change into the likeness of Christ, if and when we are willing to allow Him to make us our best!
Prayer: Help us, Father, to never settle for what is second best when Your desire for us is to be our very best. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

What To Believe

Two burglars very proficiently disabled the alarm system and carefully picked the lock of a well-secured home. Just as they were quietly opening the door, a large guard dog suddenly appeared. 
“Go in,” said one, confidently pushing the thief that was standing before him. “He’s OK, he is barking but wagging his tail.”
“True,” said the other. “But I don’t know which to believe.”
There are times when some of us struggle with the goodness of God’s grace and our salvation. We have questions about what we should really believe.
Someone might say, “You are too bad to be saved; the sins you have committed are beyond God’s forgiveness.” But the Lord says, “I came to call sinners, not the righteous to repentance.”
Another might say, “You are too young to be saved. You don’t understand what it means to be born again.” But God’s Word declares, “Now is the accepted time.”
Others say, “I can’t hold out.” But His Word assures us, “He is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless!”
Prayer: Father, in times of doubt and defeat, may we keep our eyes on You and our faith in You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Overcoming Obstacles

When he was fifteen years old, he tried to catch a ride on a heavily loaded ice truck. He was unable to pull himself onto the moving truck and fell beneath the wheels. His left leg was badly crushed and the surgeon decided to cut it off. But fearing life without his leg frightened him and he begged him not to remove it.
The surgeon eventually agreed with him and the surgery very successful as well as the treatment that followed. However, they said to him, “Harold, you will never play football again. Your leg has been too badly damaged.”
“Yes I will!” he protested. After his release from the hospital, he faithfully exercised every day. Not only did he return to play high school football, he set records in high school as the nation’s highest scorer. He then went on to set many college and professional football records. To this day Harold “Red” Grange, the “Galloping Ghost,” is recognized as one of the nation’s greatest athletes. Some sports writers have said that he is the definition of football and no one will ever again do what he did with a football.
Imagine with me, if you will, what you or I could do for Christ if we had his dedication and determination.
PrayerFather, help us to be willing to make every and any sacrifice necessary to serve You faithfully with all of our hearts and souls. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Friday, January 22, 2016

I Didn't Do It!

Jimmy came home from school with a scowl on his face and anger in his voice. As he opened the back door, he began yelling, “It’s not fair. I’ve been punished for something I didn’t do!”
Wanting to comfort him, his mother said, “That’s terrible. What didn’t you do?”
“My spelling,” he replied.
Jimmy had probably done all of his other homework assignments. But somehow, he neglected to do his spelling.
On one occasion when Jesus was addressing the teachers of religious law He said to them, “You are careful to tithe the tiniest part of your income, but you ignore the important things of the law – justice, mercy and faith You should not leave undone the important things!”
Could it be that we are like Jimmy? We pick and choose to do certain things required of Christians, but omit doing the things we do not enjoy doing - like spelling lessons? All of us can be obedient and disobedient at the same time! We may gladly give 10% of our income in tithe but refuse to extend a hand or a heart to someone who is sick or suffering, hurting or in need. Leave nothing undone
Prayer: Lord, may we realize that our obligations to You include loving the unloved and helping the helpless. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 23:23-24 But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Guidance For Life

General Robert E. Lee is remembered for his greatness as a military leader. His heroic life is well documented and his accomplishments are still studied by military leaders today.
Toward the end of his life he was asked to attend the christening of a child. The mother, pleased at his presence, wanted it to be remembered by all that were there. “General Lee,” she began, “you have achieved a great place in history. Give us a word that will guide our son through life.”
After thinking for a moment, General Lee cleared his throat and said to those gathered around him, “I have had one creed all of my life that has guided me through many struggles and much suffering. Teach him,” he advised the parents, “to deny himself.” Nothing new here.
Years ago Jesus said, “If any of you want to be my followers, you must put aside your selfish ambitions, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you keep your life for yourself, you will lose it.”
His followers understood that, too. Following Him meant making a commitment that could lead to death on a cross – but ultimately, life everlasting.
Prayer: Father, we all want lives of comfort and convenience and not the cross. Empower us to deny ourselves and serve You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 16:24-28 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Future Or Fortune?

The Anderson’s were having a delightful time at the county fair, enjoying the different foods and the many attractions. As they made their way through the booths and games they came to a large antique scale that read: YOUR WEIGHT AND FORTUNE: 25 CENTS.
Miriam urged, “George, let’s see how much you weigh and what’s going to happen.”
Getting on the scale, George put in a quarter and out came a little card. Miriam grabbed it and began to read the results. “Look at this,” she said. “It says you are handsome, kind and rich.” And then she began to laugh as she said, “And it’s got your weight wrong, too!”
We all know that the Bible does not tell us our fortune, but it does accurately predict one’s future: It is either heaven or hell. Jesus said, “All who believe in God’s Son have eternal life.” In a few simple, carefully chosen and easily understood words, the Lord clearly placed in front of everyone the greatest choice that all of us must ultimately make. Each of us must make that decision at one point in our lives: is it heaven or will it be hell.
This is a simple choice – although for some it is not easy. God wants us to choose Him and life. Otherwise, “the wrath of God awaits.”
Prayer: Lord, we don’t know the future, but we do know that we have this moment to choose You and have eternal life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Encourage The Discouraged

Nathaniel Hawthorne is recognized as one of the great American novelists. However, that is not the way his life began. Most of his early writings were rejected for publication. Once while thinking about his passion to write he said, “I had not lived, but only dreamed about living.”
After college, Hawthorne supported himself through various means, writing only when he had time. One of his jobs was as a surveyor and measurer in a government office. However, when a new political party was elected, he lost his job. He went home dejected and worried, concerned about the effect his job loss would have on his wife.
But instead of finding fault with him, his wife embraced him. She then set a pen and ink before him and exclaimed, “Now you’ll be able to write your novel!” She gave him the encouragement that he needed to go on.
The two little letters "en" mean to put into. That’s what Hawthorne’s wife did for him. She put the courage into him to write by reaching out in love and care when he was confronted with a crisis. A kind word, a pen and a bottle of ink were all that it took to put enough courage into Hawthorne to bring the gifts God gave him to life.
Prayer: Father, may we look around us and find someone, somewhere who needs a word of encouragement. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Samuel 30:6 But David found strength in the Lord his God.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Be Thankful!

It was the rush hour in New York. People leaving work were anxious to get home – pushing, shoving, and glaring angrily at those not walking fast enough. The crowd seemed intent on getting where they were going with no one being concerned for the safety of others.
In the midst of it all was one man singing as loudly as he could. Sitting in a wheelchair, he was pushing himself along with his arms, being careful to avoid bumping or running into anyone.
A man, who had been walking alongside him, touched him gently on the arm. “Tell me, sir, you have been making your way through this crowd for quite some time. You have been singing loudly and smiling graciously. You have no legs, you have to push yourself in an old wheelchair, and yet you appear happy and joyful. How do you do it?”
Looking the stranger in the eye, the wheelchair-bound man said, “When I stopped looking at what I had lost, and began looking at what I had left, I realized that I still had my voice and could sing again.”
As Christians, we must realize that God will, if we allow Him, bring us His joy even in times of grief, pain and loss.
Prayer: Lord, even in sickness and suffering, may we sense Your peace and presence and give You thanks. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Why Be Afraid?

John Wesley – evangelist, author, and hymn writer – had always thought of himself as a Christian. Once, however, as he was traveling across the Atlantic Ocean, the ship he was on encountered a violent storm. He became frightened and terror stricken.
As he observed his fellow passengers, he noticed that the group of Moravian missionaries remained peaceful and unafraid, showing no fear. When the storm passed and the seas were calm once again, he went to one of the missionaries and asked, “Why weren’t you afraid?”
“Why should we be afraid,” he answered, “we know Christ.” Then looking at Wesley he asked, “Do you know Christ?” And Wesley, the preacher, realized for the first time in his life that he did not know Christ as His Savior.
We may know all about the Bible, but not know the Savior of the Bible. We can know of His miracles, but never believe in or accept the fact that it was His death, burial, and resurrection that made our salvation possible. Only when we call upon His name, repent and turn from our sins, and receive Him as Savior will we be born again.
Prayer: We pray, Lord, that if there is one reading this devotional who is not born again, that he or she will accept You now. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 8:19-39 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Invisible Tug

A young boy was lying on the soft grass looking intently into the sky. He had a slight squint in his eyes as though he was searching for something. An elderly gentleman walked by and asked, “What are you looking for, son? What’s up there?” “A kite, sir,” came the reply. “But, I can’t see it,” said the man. “Neither can I,” said the boy. “But every now and then I can feel a tug.”
Like the boy and his kite, we may not be able to see God at work all the time, but every now and then we can feel Him tugging at the strings of our heart. We are surrounded by many magnificent displays of His presence, but they become commonplace, ordinary and sometimes just there.
But then a lovely flower appears unexpectedly, or we see a brilliant sunrise or sunset or a smile from a friend. When we least expect it, we receive a note of encouragement from a friend. When we are struggling with the difficulties of life we recall a verse of Scripture. We can sense His power in a thunderstorm or His energy in a bolt of lightning.
God is everywhere, tugging at our hearts waiting for us to see Him and wanting us to know He is with us.
Prayer: Lord, open our eyes to see You, our ears to hear You, our hearts to love You, and our lives to serve You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 19 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Our Source Of Strength

The word strength comes from a word that means “twisted together.” We can see it in the strands of hemp that are twisted together to make rope, or the many single pieces of thread that are twisted together to make twine. A strand of hemp or a single thread has little strength, but when many of them are twisted together they become much stronger.
Isaiah presents a remarkable role that God plays in the life of the Christian. “Don’t be afraid,” he wrote, “for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
What a powerful promise! God, the Creator, is willing to take away our fears and bring order and peace to our hearts and minds when we are confused and frightened, and give us His strength to keep us from falling. He will replace our weaknesses with His strength; give us His wisdom to teach us, and His grace to sustain us when we are overwhelmed.
There is no reason for us to be kept in the grip of fear because God is with us. There is no reason for us to ever feel abandoned or neglected because we can have a relationship with Him for He is our God. There is no reason for us to feel weak because His strength is sufficient and available to help us and hold us when we fear we may fall or fail.
Paul said, “All things through Christ!”
Prayer: Help us, Father, to depend upon You for all that we need – spiritually, emotionally and physically. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I Did It All By Myself

Four-year-old Will came running to his Dad, shouting, “Look, Daddy, I pulled up this corn stalk all by myself!”
“Wow,” said his Dad, “you’re pretty strong.”
“Yep,” grinned the little guy, “and don’t forget that the whole planet was pulling against me.”
Many are like little Will. They believe that they can take on the entire planet, seen and unseen, by themselves – and win. But eternal life is something we cannot see. It is something we can only receive by faith.
Thomas, the Doubter, spoke for many of us. He once said to Jesus, “We haven’t any idea where You are going, so how can we know the way?”
One of the most basic passages in Scripture tells us that only through Christ can we know and find the way to God. If we trust in Jesus, we have His Word that we will become His child and that He will take us to be with Him and His Father.
The world will do everything that it can to keep us earth bound. Jesus said, “I am the way” – He is our path; “I am the truth” – He is the only answer for eternal life; “and the life” – through His death, burial, and resurrection – we become one with Him for all eternity!
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for the clarity of Your Word, the simplicity of Your message, and the invitation to eternal life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 14:1-6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Good Morning, God!

Once, when Senator Talmadge was running for reelection, he decided to make a special effort to visit farmers. It was reported that when he asked the first farmer he met to vote for him, he was surprised at the response.
Said the farmer politely, “Can’t do that. I promised the other fellow that I would vote for him.”
“But,” said the politician, “I’ve done a lot for you in the past.”
“Yep, that’s right, Senator. But you ain’t done nothin’ for me lately,” came the reply.
Often, the past benefits and blessings of God are forgotten, not so with Jeremiah. Looking back, he wrote, “The unfailing love of the Lord never ends: great is His faithfulness.” Looking ahead, he said, “His mercies begin afresh each day. I say to myself, the Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will trust in Him.”
God willingly responds to our requests for help whenever we ask. Each morning when we awaken, we have the knowledge and assurance that He is with us. We can be confident that His great promises of the past assure us of His presence in the future. His love, grace, and mercy are always available.
Prayer: Lord, as we begin this day, we thank You for Your gifts in the past and what You will do for us today! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Lamentations 3:22-24 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Forgotten By Everyone

Hattie Hollowell, at eighty-three, became known as, “The Forgotten Woman.” She spent three years and four months in a New York City jail, overlooked by the prison system and never brought to trial. Her lawyer ignored her. Her family abandoned her. Her friends forgot her. However, when this tragedy was discovered, the legal machinery moved rapidly and she was released.
Perhaps there are days when we feel alone, deserted, unimportant, and ignored. It seems as though we make no difference to anyone. We are convinced that we are doomed to be forsaken by everyone forever.
God’s Word tells of the time when the Israelites felt forsaken by God. It was then that Isaiah reminded them that God could no more forget them than a loving mother could forget her little child. What a wonderful thought and marvelous truth: God Himself promises us that He will never leave us or forsake us.
Whenever we feel forgotten or forsaken by God, we need to stop and correct our thinking. Remember, He knows the number of hairs on our head, the hurts of our hearts, and each little bird that falls from a tree. Perhaps it is us who have forgotten or forsaken Him.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to take You at Your Word when You promise never to leave us or forsake us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 49:14-15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

Monday, January 11, 2016

"Easy Terms"

In the window of one of the more exclusive jewelry stores in New York was an exquisite display of crosses. Some were gold, some platinum, some had diamonds, and others cut jewels. All had expensive price tags. In front of the display was an embossed card stating the words: EASY TERMS.
No doubt the one who prepared the card was unfamiliar with the words of Jesus when he prayed, “If it is possible…let this hour pass.” And again, “Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
Jesus was very familiar with the role of the cross in the punishment of criminals. He certainly would have seen crucifixions as He traveled from one area to another. They were not hidden from the sight of those passing by. They were public displays of extreme pain, humiliation, suffering, disgrace and dishonor. He knew what awaited Him and knew there was no other option, even though He asked His Father for a way out.
For Jesus, there were no EASY TERMS. He lived in the shadow of the cross and knowing the price that had to be paid for our salvation. What pain it cost Jesus and His Father. Have you thanked Him recently?
Prayer: Father, we can never understand the cost of our salvation. Give us grateful hearts as we think of Your cross. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Mark 8:31-38 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Appearance Or Attitude?

Many believe that it is one’s physical attributes and strength that lead to success.
Robert Louis Stevenson had tuberculosis. However he is recognized for writing some of the world’s most popular stories and famous novels. Charles Steinmetz was a dwarf like cripple, but he is credited with over one hundred electrical inventions. Louis Pasteur was subject to epileptic seizures, but he discovered the germ-killing process called pasteurization. Fanny Crosby was blind from infancy, yet she wrote more than six thousand hymns including: “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” and “Blessed Assurance.”
The Apostle Paul spoke of his “thorn in the flesh.” It was an affliction that he lived with, yet it never stopped him from serving God with every ounce of strength that he possessed. We can call upon the power of God’s strength to enable us to overcome any weakness or handicap, setback or sickness. We can use any limitation or handicap to increase our dependence upon God to bless us and from this dependency develop a closer relationship with Him. Through Him…all things are possible.
Prayer: Help us, Savior, to recognize that who and what we are is Your gift to us; and what we do with it, our gift to You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Who Is The Winner?

It was the end of the season and the teams were playing for the championship of the league. Hope and excitement were building as they came to the final inning of the game. Neither had scored.
There were two outs, a runner was on third and it was the pitcher’s turn to bat. Although he was a good pitcher, he was a poor hitter. Realizing the importance of the moment, the coach decided to bring in a pinch hitter. The count was full and the crowd was on their feet. On the next pitch, the batter singled into left field, a run scored, and they won the game.
How did the pitcher respond? Was he angry because he did not get the hit and drive in the run? No. He was the first one out of the dugout, running to the pinch hitter to congratulate him. He was delighted. Although he did not get the hit, he was credited with the win. 
The writings of Paul reflect an amazingly selfless attitude. He realized that not all preachers had pure motives - some wanted recognition. But he said, “I rejoice because they are preaching about Christ.” There may be some Christians who do the right things for the wrong reasons, but thank God for their results if they glorify Him.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to do what we can, where we can, when we can to get Your message to the lost and dying. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 1:15-19 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Importance of Imagination

Clarence Saunders was the clerk in a small grocery store. He was often troubled when people said that there were not enough items available for them to make a good choice.
One day while standing in line in a cafeteria, he suddenly realized how attractive the food was displayed and the wide selection of choices that were available. His imagination went to work and in his mind he saw grocery shelves stocked with many different brands. He then applied the self-help principal of a cafeteria to a grocery store and the Piggly Wiggly grocery chain was born.
Imagination is a wonderful gift. It can be used to explore new ideas and creative ventures. On the other hand, it can destroy us if we use it to think thoughts that are damaging, destructive or defeating.
Whatever we put into our minds determines what will come out in words, actions, thoughts – and yes – our imaginations. Paul wisely advised us to “fix our minds on what is true, honorable, right, lovely, admirable and worthy of praise.” In other words, we are to program our minds with good things. If we do so, we will eliminate evil, dirty, and damaging thoughts that will result in behaviors that will destroy us and dishonor God. Think worthy thoughts; do worthy things!
Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to meditate on Your Word and Your truths so that we will think Godly thoughts. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things which ye have both learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Looking For Perfection

Two men seated next to each other on an airplane began talking. They soon discovered that one was married and the other single.
Curiosity finally got the best of the married man and he asked, “Why haven’t you married?”
“Because,” he answered, “I haven’t met the right woman.”
“Surely,” replied the married man, “you’ve met one you wanted to marry.”
“Oh, yes,” he said wistfully, “but she was looking for the perfect man.”
In The Living New Testament Romans 3:23 is translated “…all fall short of God’s glorious ideal.” There are some who like to rate and rank sins – some being more serious or worse than others. While some sins have more serious consequences than others, sin is sin. Whether or not we want to admit that we have sinned, God’s Word assures that all of us have, indeed, sinned.
In one way or another, we have all fallen short of His “glorious ideal.” Any sin makes us sinners and separates us from God in this life and the life to come. But God in His glorious grace and mercy makes it possible for us to reconnect with Him through His Son and have eternal life.
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for making possible our salvation as undeserving and unworthy as we are. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"Hoist The Sails"

Hudson Taylor, missionary to China, is well recognized for his faith and faithfulness to God. He is the founder of the China Inland Mission, and at his death had recruited over 800 missionaries who worked in the innermost sections of China.
Once, on a trip from England to China, he was on a sailing ship that was stranded for lack of wind. It drifted into a current that was taking it toward an island of cannibals. Alarmed, the captain of the ship went to Taylor and said, “We’re drifting into that cannibal island. Pray for wind.” “I will,” said Taylor, “if you hoist the sails.” Reluctantly the captain hoisted the sails and Taylor began to pray. In just a few moments, the captain shouted, “Mr. Taylor, stop praying! We have more wind than we know what to do with.”
Taylor had things in their proper perspective. We often pray with little expectation of needing to “hoist the sails.” We pray and ask God for wind. But faith and trust say, “hoist the sails” and then pray in faith, believing and you will get more wind than the sails can hold. Jesus said, “You can pray for anything and everything and if you believe, you will have it.” But it will only become yours if you believe!
Prayer: Lord, we do believe, but ask that You will help us to increase our faith until it works as it should. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Mark 11:22-26 Therefore I say unto you, what things so ever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Giving And Receiving

An elderly couple walked slowly to the desk in a hotel. They were exhausted from their travels and wanted to retire as quickly as possible. When they asked for a room, the clerk politely said, “I’m sorry, but we have no vacancies.” However, when he saw the look of despair on their faces, he said, “But I can’t send you away in such horrible conditions. You may have my room.”
Hesitatingly, they accepted his offer and settled in for the night. As they were leaving the next morning the gentleman said to the clerk, “You are the kind of manager who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United States.”
Two years later that clerk, George Boldt, received a letter from the gentleman. It contained a ticket to New York. Leading Mr. Boldt into a new hotel named the Waldorf-Astoria, the gentleman said, “I built this hotel for you to manage. My name is William Waldorf Astor.”
Solomon wrote, “Give generously, for your gifts will return to you later.” Giving involves risk and opportunity, trust and adventure. But God demands it and will always reward it.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to reach out to those in need, knowing that You will honor our efforts and reward our deeds. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ecclesiastes 11:1 Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Forgive!

The word forgive is a troubling word for many of us. It carries with it the idea that the one who is doing the forgiving is willing to excuse someone for his or her wrongdoing or injurious act.
When we look at the word forgive we can easily see that the main part of the word is give. And when we forgive someone we give that person a release from the wrong that he or she has done to us. When we forgive, we give up the right to get even with the one who wronged us.
Consider the grace of God. When He forgives us of our sin, He releases us from the penalty of death that we deserve for the wrongs that we have done against Him and others. We are no longer condemned.
When we as Christians forgive others, we are demonstrating a heart that has been changed by God. Understanding and accepting the greatness of God’s forgiveness will enable us to forgive the wrongs others have done to us. That is why Jesus said that those who are unwilling to forgive others do not realize or understand what God has done for us when He willingly forgave us.
Jesus said that if we refuse to forgive others, God will not forgive us. And Paul said, “be kind to each other…forgiving each other as God…has forgiven you.”
Prayer: Father, though it is easy to want to get even for wrongs done against us, it is not Christ like. Help us to forgive as Jesus did. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 4:32 and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Doubt Or Determination?

A group of mountain climbers was preparing to climb Mount Everest. As they stood at the foot of the mountain, a psychologist met with the group to interview them.
As the interview came to a conclusion, he asked one final question: “Will you make it to the top?”
Almost in unison, they responded, “I hope so.”
But Jim Whitaker said in a strong voice, “I will!” He was the only one from the group to make it to the top and the first American to reach the summit.
Doubt defeats but courage conquers.
Jesus summed up this idea in just a few words. On one occasion He seemed to be chiding the disciples when He said, “What do you mean, ‘If I can?’ Anything is possible if a person believes!”
These words of Jesus do not mean that we can have anything we want if we just apply positive thinking. He wants us to understand that anything is possible if we believe in Him as our Overcomer. Everything is possible if we put our faith in God, work to accomplish His will in His world, and leave the results up to Him. Prayer is not wishing for our wants. It is faith, trust, patience, and persistence to accomplish His will.
Prayer: We look to You, Lord, to answer our prayers as we pray in Your name, believing in Your Word to accomplish Your will. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Call For Help!

A small boy got into a fight with the school’s well-known bully. He was getting the best of the bully and was sitting on top of him when, suddenly, he began to call for help.
“Why should we help?” came the response from a friend standing nearby.
“I can feel him starting to get up and he might win the fight!” was the quick answer.
So it is in the fight against temptation and sin. We are in a constant battle to overcome the strength and power of Satan. He is always there waiting to attack us and wanting to get us involved in a contest where he has the upper hand.
As Christians, we must always be aware of the fact that we cannot avoid being confronted by Satan and challenged to sin. We should always be vigilant to be victorious. We know the “schoolyard bully” by the way he looks and how he acts. But most often, the temptations we face are not obvious until after the fight begins.
We live in a sinful world. Our minds and hearts have been numbed by the things we see, the words we read, and the stories we hear. We must be careful to be on guard at all times by avoiding tempting situations. We must be aware of our playgrounds, playthings and playmates.
Prayer: Father, may we recognize that through You we can overcome sin by following and obeying Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Your Best Year Ever!

God’s Word is the very best guide available if we want to know what we can do to make 2016 our best year ever. Here’s the plan:
Experience God’s Pardon. As we begin our journey into another year, God provides us with an opportunity to “begin again.” We read in John’s lovely little letter, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us from all of our sins.” Others talk of being free from the past, only God makes it possible and gives us a clean slate.
Enjoy God’s Presence. He encourages us with these timeless words: “Fear not, for I am with you!” With His Spirit to empower us, His angels to protect us, His Word to guide us and His arms around us, we have all that we need to face every challenge knowing that the victory can be ours if we take Him at His Word.
Engage God’s Power. He promises that “I – the Creator and Sustainer of the universe – will strengthen you!” For every sickness He will give us His healing. For every problem He will give us His solution. For every question He will give us His answer. For every doubt He will increase our faith. And in the darkest hour He will provide us with His light to lead us.
 Prayer: Heavenly Father, we stand before You and the days to come in faith believing that You will honor Your words of hope and help as we trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 41:10 fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.