Monday, February 29, 2016

Wanted: Friends

A husband and wife were driving down a street with manicured lawns, lovely flowers and beautiful trees. In the front yard of one quaint cottage was a sign reading, “ANTIQUES.” They stopped the car, got out, walked to the door and knocked. Immediately they were greeted by two elderly ladies.
“Come in,” was the gracious invitation. “Let us give you a cup of afternoon tea and a cookie.”
After enjoying the delicious snack the husband asked, “May we see the antiques now?”
“You’re looking at us,” said one of the ladies with a twinkle in her eye. “We’re very lonely and we’ve found that this is a lovely way to make new friends.”
Everywhere we look, we find people who are lonely. They fill crowded streets, social events – even in our churches. Many can be with others and still feel alone.
In Genesis we find God saying that “It is not good for man to be alone.” We were created to live in relationships. So, we all need friends who will be near when we need to be comforted, listen to us when we need to talk about a problem and even wipe away a tear when it runs down our cheek. In good times and bad, we all need a friend to share our dreams and help carry our burdens. People need people. Let’s ask God to bring a lonely person or two into our lives - today.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, humble our hearts to seek the least, the lonely and the lost and share Your love, grace and hope. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Proverbs 18:24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Trust Me!

It was a cold winter night when a fire broke out and was rapidly spreading throughout the home. The father had successfully rescued his wife and children and they were standing outside watching the firemen fight the blaze. Suddenly he heard the voice of his six-year-old son who had slipped away from the family. He wanted to rescue his toys from his upstairs bedroom that he somehow managed to reach. He was surrounded by smoke.
Standing beneath the window the father shouted, “Jump, I’ll catch you!”
“Daddy,” came the frightened reply, “I can’t see you! It’s too smoky.”
“But I can see you, Son. Jump!” said his father.
He trusted his father, jumped and was saved.
How like our Heavenly Father. His Word says: “Trust Me in your times of trouble and I will rescue you and you will give Me glory!” The word “trust” as used in the Bible means that we are “to place our complete confidence in” the Lord – a confidence that has no limits.
At times it is just as difficult for us as it was for the young son who could not see his father. Our eyes become filled with “smoke” that blocks our view of God and His power to rescue us from the things of this world that would consume us. Nevertheless, He’s there. Jump!
Prayer: Father, give us complete confidence in Your Word knowing that You will never leave us or forsake us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 50:15 and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Warrior And The Ant

Tamerlane was an oriental warrior who had defeated and conquered many armies. His many victories included the conquests of the Mongols, the Turks and the Persians.
Once when it appeared that his army would be defeated by an enemy whose strength he had underestimated, he hid in a manger to avoid being captured. As he lay quietly, discouraged and desperate, he noticed an ant struggling to carry a large kernel of corn over a steep wall. The ant tried the first time and failed. Then the second time – and failed again. Again and again the ant tried with the same result. Each time the ant tried and failed Tamerlane would make a mark in the dirt. The ant tried and failed sixty-nine times. Once again for the seventieth time the ant tried and was finally successful – making it over the top.
Tamerlane was amazed and encouraged at the persistence of the ant. His courage returned, he regrouped his army, engaged the enemy once again and won!
The book of Proverbs warns against giving in to the temptation of laziness. It says, “Take a lesson from the ants. Learn from their ways and be wise!” God used the ant as an example to encourage us to be industrious.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to take each moment that You give us as a gift of Your grace to be used wisely and thoughtfully for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Proverbs 6:1-11 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Value Of Stress

A famous violin maker took his young apprentice into the forest to locate wood to make new instruments.
As they began to climb a mountain, the young apprentice pointed out some tall, strong, sturdy and healthy looking trees to the master violin maker. The old gentleman looked at the trees in passing, shook his head and kept climbing. Finally they passed the tall trees that grew half way up the mountain and came to some short, gnarled trees near the top. The trees had endured the ice of many winters and the winds that swirled around them since the time they began to grow.
As the old master began to cut down one of the trees, the young apprentice questioned him, asking, “Why these trees? The others were tall and beautiful.”
“The wood of the sheltered trees will break under the pressure of shaping the wood into violins,” said the old man. “But the trees beaten by time and nature will produce the best wood and they will make the most beautiful music.”
It is normal to question God when we are torn by trials and surrounded by storms. Why, we ask. He is making us strong “so that when others are troubled, we can pass on to them the same help and comfort God has given us.”
Prayer: Lord, when nights are long and days short, may we accept and understand that You are preparing us to minister to the needs of others when they suffer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tell Your Wife...

His career started off slowly. But suddenly, with a new found success, he discovered that he was taking on almost too many projects. As his obligations piled up and his responsibilities increased, he became fearful of forgetting all of his promises and obligations. To relieve this fear, he began to make a detailed list of everything he was to do the following day before going to bed each evening.
One evening he returned from a very strenuous day, he neglected to eat, went to his room, made out his list and fell quickly asleep. The next morning when he was reviewing his list he noticed that an item had been added. There at the bottom of the list, in his wife’s handwriting were the words, “Take time to tell your wife that you love her!”
Life is all about priorities. And how we use our time and money always reveals our priorities – what we do, what we buy, how much time we invest in something. A careful inventory of each of these may be a surprise that could change our lives for the best.
God always intended for us to focus on relationships: first with Him and then with others – especially our spouses and our families. We are in danger of missing the best that He has given us when we allow making a living take first place. Peter said wisely, “Love each other intently with all your hearts.”
Prayer: Lord, it’s a busy world and so often we find ourselves forgetting the most important things – loving You and those You have given us to love. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sunday's Sermon

After returning from church President Coolidge’s wife asked, “What did the preacher speak about today?”
“Sin,” came the brief reply.
“What did he say about it?” wondered Mrs. Coolidge.
“He’s certainly against it!” said the president.
One of the Psalmists asked a great question: “How can a young man stay pure?” He then gave a simple, easily understood answer: “By obeying Your word!”
He then continues by informing young people to develop personal wisdom and integrity and be disciplined if they want to live an uncorrupted life. But how can we, young and old, do this?
The answer does not appear to be complicated but it may be difficult to follow: “I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You!”
The way to “hide God’s Word in our hearts” and to draw His wisdom from it is to invest time in reading and meditating on it. This “reading and meditating” is much like a cow chewing a cud. After we read it, we think about it by turning it over and over in our minds, asking God to show us the truth and wisdom that it contains. Another way of meditating would be like holding a beautiful diamond in the sunlight and carefully turning it around and around to see the brilliant colors “inside.”
Prayer: Lord, may we love Your Word so much that we will make reading, praying and meditating the most important part of each day. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:9-16 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Tuesday, February 23, 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 or accept the fact that it was the miracle of His death, burial, and resurrection that made our salvation possible. Only when we call upon His name, repent of 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 Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

Monday, February 22, 2016

"Somebody Loves You"

A receptionist walked to her desk one morning and saw a bouquet of twelve beautiful roses. Anxiously, she opened the card and read, “From somebody who loves you!”
Her mind began to go through a list of individuals whom she thought might have sent her the flowers. It could have been her boyfriend, her mom or dad, co-workers – or any number of different people. She made many phone calls to everyone who she thought might have sent the flowers.
Finally, she thought of her sister and called her. “Janet,” she asked, “did you send me the roses?”
“Yes,” was the reply. “You seemed discouraged and I wanted you to spend some time thinking about people who love you.”
“Well, I did,” she said, “and the list went on and on. I never thought that I was important to anyone.”
But there is Someone who loves us more that anyone on earth – our Heavenly Father. Long ago Jeremiah wrote about God’s love: “I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love. With an unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.” It is almost unbelievable!
God, in His grace, mercy and kindness, has offered His unfailing and everlasting love to anyone who will accept it. How blest we are: God loves each of us.
Prayer: Lord, we are undeserving and unworthy of the love that You offer us through Christ our Savior who died that we may live with You eternally. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Nothing To Worry About!

A small child was sitting alone looking out the window of a train traveling to Northern England. A kind, elderly lady saw him quietly looking out the window. Thinking he might be lonely or afraid, she asked, “Are you traveling alone, sonny?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he replied.
“How far are you traveling?” she inquired.
“To the end of the line, ma’am,” he answered.
“Aren’t you afraid of taking such a long trip all by yourself?” she said in amazement.
“No, ma’am,” he said with confidence. “My father’s the engineer.”
The quiet confidence and unwavering assurance of being safe and protected can become the centerpiece of the life of every Christian. We often find ourselves in situations that are fearful and frightening, turbulent and threatening. While life around us may seem to be falling apart, our Heavenly Father is still “the Engineer.” He knows His own and He owns this planet and everything on it. We can always be confident and courageous because we have the assurance that He will constantly guard us.
The Living Bible puts it this way: Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to take You at Your Word and in faith, believe that everything in our lives is there because You are in control. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Not To Me, It Doesn't

A tourist traveling through the mountains of Kentucky came to a fork in a winding road. He became confused when he saw two signs that read, “Rutland” pointing toward each of the branches of the fork.
Seeing a farmer standing beside his mail box, he rolled down his window and asked, “Does it make any difference which road I take to Rutland?”
“Not to me it doesn’t,” answered the farmer.
Indifference is one of the worst sins toward others. Rather than hating someone, indifference says, “I just don’t care one way or the other about you or your problem since it does not concern me.”
Paul thoughtfully said, “Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ.” Just as children imitate their parents, so are we to be imitators of our Lord in showing His unending love for others. God expects us to follow the examples of Jesus in the way He treated others. When we remember the fact that He sacrificed Himself for us that we might have eternal life, we can begin to realize the love that Paul is talking about. Our love toward others is to be that same kind of love – a love that is not sentimental or conditional, but a love that is self-sacrificing if necessary. We need to train our eyes to see the needs of others and open our ears to hear their cries for help.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to constantly search for ways to show Your care, compassion and concern for others every day of our lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 5:1-2 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Never Give Up!

Winston Churchill is recognized as one of the most outstanding leaders in the history of the world. He held England together during World War II and brought encouragement and hope to the entire nation and the world.
He attended a preparatory school that was recognized for having high academic standards and making students study and earn their grades by spending hours at their desks and in the library. He is known to have excelled in all of his studies.
Toward the end of his life he was invited to return to the school to address the students. When he was being introduced to the students, the Headmaster said, “Our Prime Minister is one of the greatest orators in the world. Listen carefully and take notes.”
Churchill stood to his feet, gazed intently at the young people who gathered to hear him and said, “Never give up. NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER!” And sat down.
Paul put this another way for Christians: “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
Often we work hard for the Lord yet see no rewards. However, we must “Never Give Up!” His reward will come when we need it most.
Prayer: Encourage our hearts, Lord, to know that we may not receive rewards in this world, but surely in the one to come with You in heaven. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Never Forgotten

It was late one Friday evening when two Iowa City police officers were walking their beat in the downtown area. As they approached the steps of a church, they discovered a three-year-old child sitting alone. The tiny child was sitting quietly playing with a few tattered dolls and eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She had been abandoned by her mother.
One of the officers sat next to the child and asked her what she was doing. “Mommy told me to wait for the other children to come to Sunday school so I can play with them,” was her reply.
On one occasion, Isaiah cried, “Can a mother forget her child? Can she feel no love for a child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on my hand.”
What comforting, reassuring words! What peace it brings to the hearts of God’s children! Knowing that He cares so much for us, His adopted children, that He even writes our names on His hand. How precious it is to have the assurance of His presence and the promise of unending love and mercy.
If or when we feel that God has forsaken us, we need to search our hearts and lives and ask ourselves this question, “Have we forsaken Him?” We know His Word assures us that He will never leave or forsake us.
Prayer: Our gracious Heavenly Father, how grateful we are and how comforting it is to know that You will never forget us, no matter what we do. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 49:15 “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!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Just Like Being At Home

Little Jimmy came home from school in a state of anger. “I’m tired of the cafeteria and I’m never going back. I’m never going to eat there again!”
Puzzled, his mother asked, “Why? What’s the problem?”
“Because,” he answered stomping his foot, “there’s always a teacher standing around yelling her head off.”
“Why’s she doing that?” his mother wondered.
“I suppose,” he replied, “so we won’t miss our mothers.”
Paul speaks of a love that is “patient and kind...not irritable...never gives up or loses faith...is always hopeful and endures through every situation.” Jimmy would no doubt have a difficult time believing that he could ever find a home where that type of love was the rule not the exception. For that matter, most of us would enjoy living in a home where a love like that was always practiced, too.
What we sometimes call love is our desire to dominate others for the sake of controlling them. God’s love is vastly different. He expects us to help others by showing His care and compassion at all times. He wants all believers to work graciously with others to bring Him honor and glory in all that we do.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to live the type of love that Paul writes about so that all that we do and say will be pleasing to You and helpful to others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

It's Not A Knock

A motorist stopped at a garage in a small rural town and complained to a mechanic, “Every time I hit eighty miles an hour, there’s a terrible knock in my engine. I don’t know what it is.”
“Maybe,” said the mechanic, “it’s not a what, it’s a Who. It just might be the Lord warning you to slow down.”
“Whatever you do,” said Paul, “do it to the glory of God!” Great advice!
On one occasion Paul gave two specific principles for the way Christians are to behave. The first is that we who are Christians are to do whatever we do for the glory of God. We are His personal representatives and whatever we do we do in His name. So, all of our actions and activities are to be in harmony with the teachings of Jesus and in keeping the laws of society. We cannot pick and choose what we want to do.
The second principle is that we are not to do anything that would harm another person’s Christian faith. At all times our behavior is to be guided by what is best for others even if it causes an inconvenience or difficulty for us. What may not be a problem for us may be a problem for others. We must always be an example, in word and deed, of behavior that honors our Lord.
These two principals are the heart of the Gospel. Live them!
Prayer: Help us, Father, to be representatives of Your Gospel that will earn us the reward of being good and faithful servants. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Monday, February 15, 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. The teams were scoreless.
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 only 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 they are at least doing something!
PrayerHelp 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 1:15-18 The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

"I Wish I Were Dead"

Recently a young wife, mother and highly recognized and effective school teacher sat across from me and said, “I wish I were dead. I would like to go to sleep and never awaken again – just die. I have disgraced myself, my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my students. Everyone! Life as I knew it is over and I no longer want to be part of it. I’m going to prison and I am afraid.”
What a tragedy. Life as she once knew it is gone forever. In the eyes of many the wrong cannot be righted nor the damage repaired. It is a scar that is permanent and will remain throughout life. But is that a reason to want to die? Not for one who understands the grace of God.
The Bible says, “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness!” If we want to maintain our relationship with God we must ask for His cleansing and forgiveness whenever we falter and fail. Whenever we ask for His forgiveness, we receive it as well as His guarantee that He will remove every sin. He is a faithful God who honors His Word and will never forsake us. Never!
When God forgives us of our sins, He also removes the guilt and the penalty which are justly ours. But in His grace, we are justified, forgiven and made complete and His penalty removed.
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for Your salvation, knowing that Your love exceeds our guilt and Your mercy allows forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

"I Wasn't Praying To You!"

One evening while a mother was teaching her children to pray, little Martha was tired and about to fall asleep. When she began to pray her words ran together and she began to mumble.
“I can’t hear you, Martha,” said her mother.
Back came the reply, “I wasn’t praying to you Mom, I was praying to God!”
Prayer, quite simply stated, is having a conversation with God about whatever is on our minds or in our hearts. There is no special formula, no sacred position, no particular words, no recognized hour of the day or night to pray.
When we pray, we admit to God that we are weak and dependent upon Him. We need His grace and mercy to solve our problems, heal our bodies, comfort our broken hearts, and mend damaged relationships that we have shattered because of selfishness or greed. Whatever we find lacking in our lives can be filled by God.
We must always remember that everything is within God’s power. Everything! Nothing is beyond our Creator. Jesus tells us to ask for “whatever” or “anything” in His name. If we do that in faith believing, He will grant our requests if they are in keeping with His will for our lives.
Remember: Prayer is asking and receiving. Not wondering, or wishing, or hoping – but receiving God’s best.
Prayer: Give us the confidence, Lord, to take You at Your Word and come into Your presence with confidence that You will hear and answer our requests. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 1:9-13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.

Friday, February 12, 2016

How To Get Revenge

The check-in line at the reservation counter was longer than usual. And it was moving very, very slowly. One of the people in the line was passing the time by watching the people around her. Finally, it was almost her turn. Only one person was in front of her.
But the man in front of her had seven bags to check-in. He became impatient and began to curse the agent because he had to pay an additional charge for all of his luggage. The agent, with a gracious smile, politely said to the man, “Have a nice flight, Sir.”
Impressed, when she presented her ticket to the agent she said, “My, you were so kind to that man who cursed you. He even embarrassed me. Are you always so courteous?”
“Thank you,” he replied, “but I’m really not very nice. You see, he’s going to Miami but his baggage is going to Minneapolis.”
Whenever someone does something to hurt us on purpose, the natural thing we want to do is to seek a way to get revenge. But, revenge is not our responsibility, it is God’s. Paul said, “Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God.”
When we return evil with good and thoughtfulness for thoughtlessness, we are demonstrating God’s love: loving others the way He loves us. God’s grace: let’s pass it on!
Prayer: Save us, Father, from doing harm to others. Let us show Your love and kindness, compassion and care to everyone as You have shown it to us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

His Best Break

From the time he was a small child, he dreamed of being a pitcher on a major league baseball team. After long years of developing his skills and becoming successful, he made it to the major league and was on the mound pitching his first game. Suddenly, after releasing a pitch he fractured his arm.
The surgeons examined his arm carefully and knew that his career was over. He was advised not to do any work that would strain his arm. He became disappointed and depressed during his lengthy period of recovery and had little hope for his future.
One day he decided to teach himself to draw. After several months of working on this new skill, he became a sports cartoonist for a local newspaper. His word-pictures and penciled drawings brought him much attention and eventually worldwide fame as “Mr. Believe It Or Not.” 
From being a cartoonist that drew sports figures, he went on to develop “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!” that was published in many newspapers and became a television program. Throughout the remaining years of his life he would often quote his favorite Bible verse, “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him.” God can turn every tragedy into a triumph to fulfill His purpose in our lives.
Prayer: Lord, we thank You for working in us and through us to bring honor and glory to Your Name. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

He Never Sleeps

Little Lacy had finished her night time prayers with her mother. As she pulled the sheets up tightly under her chin, her mother turned off the light.
Looking out her window she said, “Mom, the moon is shining in my room. Is it God’s light?”
“Yes,” replied her mother.
“Will God turn out His light, too?” she asked.
“Oh, no!” came the reply. “The Bible promises us that He never goes to sleep.”
God’s Word gives us the assurance and hope, confidence and confirmation that He protects us day and night. Not only did God make the heavens and the hills, the earth and the sky but gave us a guarantee that He will protect us from anything that would destroy us. We are often tempted to trust in ourselves and the riches of this world, but then we are reminded of the poor decisions we make and the failures of the best laid schemes we could design.
It is important that we remind ourselves that the God Who created the universe is the God Who created us and watches over every detail of our lives. Nothing ever causes Him to forget us or lose sight of us and our special needs. We are always safe in His hands and protected by His power. We never outgrow our need for His attentive eye or His ear that is listening for our voice.
Prayer: We are grateful, Father, that You are always watching, never sleeping, and continually protecting us every day and every night of our lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 121 he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

God And Three Pennies

One day Sister Teresa went to her superior and said, “I have three pennies and I am going to build an orphanage.”
“What?” exclaimed her superior in disbelief. “You can’t build an orphanage with just three pennies.”
“Oh, I know,” she replied with a twinkle in her eye and a broad smile. “But with God and three pennies, I can do anything.”
Jesus had a similar discussion with His disciples. He had been describing the difficulty people had of getting into heaven. When He finished His lesson, they said to Him in amazement, “Then who in the world can be saved?” Calmly He replied to them, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”
When we face a seemingly impossible situation, we often turn to those around us seeking their advice or help, thinking that they can provide the solution or answer. Soon we realize that they have the same limitations that we have – they are human. Even the most brilliant person has a limit to his knowledge and the wealthiest person has a limit to their riches. Christians, however, always have the resources of the Creator available. Our all-powerful Creator has whatever treasures we need to accomplish whatever He wants us to do for Him.
Prayer: Father, may we never fail to do what You want us to do for lack of faith but to always believe that with You as our God, all things are possible. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Monday, February 8, 2016

Happy Birthday!

Birthdays are important days in the lives of most people. They are marked with celebrations and ceremonies, frequently parties and sometimes parades. Our records are filed using our date of birth. Ask anyone their birthday and they normally respond quickly and with confidence. Birthdays are important.
One of the great figures in history however did not know the day he was born. It was “sometime just before Christmas” but he did not know the exact date. He was his mother’s eighteenth child, born prematurely and to the family seemed more dead than alive. For two months he did not open his eyes or even cry.
But he was well aware of his second birthday – the date of his “new birth” in Christ. On the first anniversary of his conversion he wrote, “O for a thousand tongues to sing, My great Redeemer’s praise.” Charles Wesley became a leader in the Methodist Church in England, wrote over 6,000 hymns, founded a journal and served God faithfully all of his life.
Although it is important to be remembered and recognized by others on our birthday, it is more that important to be recognized by God on our “second birthday,” the day of we become a child in God’s family.
Jesus said, “Unless you are born again you can never see the Kingdom of God.”
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for the opportunity to become children in Your family when we accept Christ as our Savior and You as our Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 3:3-7 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

Sunday, February 7, 2016

"Good Miss Murphy"

Paul was a serious first grade student always striving to do his best. However, he had difficulty with his hearing and there were times when others became impatient with him.
But his Sunday school teacher, Miss Murphy, was always kind and gracious, going out of her way to help him. One Sunday morning she lovingly taught him to recite the twenty-third Psalm from memory.
Hurrying home, he anxiously stood in front on his mother and repeated it perfectly, except for the last verse. Looking at his Mom with excitement and pride he said, “Surely Good Miss Murphy shall follow me forever.”
Everyone needs a “Good Miss Murphy” nearby when we are having difficulties with the issues of life. We all need someone who goes the extra mile in helping us solve our problems, give us a word of encouragement or a smile when we have little to be happy about. It is the “Good Miss Murphy’s” of God’s Kingdom who show His love, give others a portion of His grace and show others what the love of Christ is about.
There’s one more lesson here. All of us can be “Good Miss Murphys.” Acts of kindness and deeds of thoughtfulness are expressions of God’s love and grace that we can put on display every day if we are alert to others.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we be quick to see and respond to the pains and problems of those around us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 23:6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

God's Great Gift

One day while walking home from law school in a violent thunderstorm, young Martin was struck by a bolt of lightning. Terrified, he cried, “St. Anne, save me and I will become a monk.”
He honored his word and entered a monastery. He was determined to make peace with God and save his soul. Try as he might, he soon realized that no amount of good works or selfless devotion to God could take away his sins and give him the peace he longed for.
One day while reading the Bible and meditating on God’s Word, he came across a short passage of Scripture: “The just shall live by faith.” At that moment in his life he realized that salvation is not a reward or the result of good works or doing without things. He realized that salvation is a gift of God’s grace and finally accepted God’s forgiveness through faith in His Son.
One day in speaking of that event in his life he said, “I felt like I had gone through open doors into paradise.” At that moment in history God began the Protestant Reformation through Martin Luther.
Try as we might, God’s grace and mercy cannot be earned, purchased or inherited. Salvation is a gift of God. In Paul’s letter to the Romans one phrase appears eight times: “It is through faith that a righteous person lives.” Without faith, it is impossible to be saved.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for making salvation available to all by placing our faith in Jesus Christ, Your only Son and our Savior. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 1:17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Friday, February 5, 2016

Follow The Leader

When Dale was a small boy living on a farm in Missouri, he would entertain himself by holding a stick across the gateway of a sheep pen. The sheep, not thinking or concerned about the stick, would simply jump over it. One day his arms became tired and he dropped the stick. To his amazement the sheep that followed continued to jump as though the stick were still in place. They jumped over an imaginary stick because those in front of them jumped.
From watching sheep jump over an imaginary stick Dale Carnegie eventually went on to study public speaking. He became a successful salesman, writer and lecturer and wrote one of the most popular books of all times: How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Most people are like sheep – they want to find someone to follow. But, most have a difficult time finding that person. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
What did Jesus mean when He said I am the “light that leads to life?” When He becomes our Savior, He becomes our “light,” our protector and guide by bringing God’s presence and protection into our lives. When we become faithful to God’s Word the teachings of Scripture will become the light that leads to life.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to follow You as the One true leader who has our best interests at heart and will keep our minds focused on eternal realities. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Thursday, February 4, 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 that unlocks the door to God’s heart is, “as the Spirit works within us.” Much like the patient, we must be willing to change. How? By allowing the Spirit to work within us if we want the very best that God has for us.
God has always wanted 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 God’s Word, our knowledge of Who He is and what He is really like deepens. Then the Holy Spirit will help us to change into the likeness of Christ, if and when we are willing to allow Him to work within us!
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.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Do You Hear That?

Two men were walking in the heart of downtown Atlanta. Suddenly one said, “Listen! I hear the sound of a cricket. Do you hear that?”
“No,” came the reply, “I didn’t. If you heard it, I wonder why I didn’t.”
Taking a coin from his pocket, the one who heard the cricket dropped it on the sidewalk. Suddenly people stopped in their paths and immediately began to look for the coin.
Watching the people look for the coin, the first gentleman said to his friend, “We hear what we listen for.”
Occasionally the shepherds’ flocks of sheep would get mixed together while they were grazing or drinking water from a quiet stream. When it was time for the shepherds to go their separate ways, one of them would raise his voice and make a specific sound that was familiar to his sheep. Suddenly, his sheep would start to run and gather around him as though drawn by a magnet. They knew his voice and when he called they responded.
Jesus once said, “My sheep recognize My voice; I know them and they follow Me.” Oftentimes, Jesus, our Shepherd, calls us to follow Him. But too often we are too busy listening to the “calls” of this world.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to have ears that are listening, minds that are open and hearts that are willing to hear Your voice and follow You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Crying For Help

Years ago a cargo ship was making its way through the stormy seas of the Atlantic. The waves were high, the winds fierce and the crew in fear for their lives. To add to their fright, they heard strange sounds coming from underneath the deck. They thought that they were hearing people moaning and crying for help. They were frightened and in a state of panic.
The captain, knowing that he was responsible for everything that happened on his ship, decided that he would find the source of the voices. Going below deck to the area containing the cargo, he noticed that one crate had broken loose from its straps. Each time the ship rose and fell with the waves, the sounds were loud enough to hear but not clear enough to understand.
Breaking open the crate he discovered a shipment of dolls that cried “Mama” when they were rocked back and forth by the waves. That calmed their fears.
The Psalmist wrote, “The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help...He is close to the brokenhearted and to those crushed in spirit...and those that face troubles. He will protect them from harm.”
We all desire to escape the fears of life: pain, grief, loss, sorrow, sadness, abandonment and failure. Let’s thank God that when trouble comes, He’s there to care and comfort.
Prayer: Thank You, Savior, for Your presence in our lives, and for protecting and comforting us in the storms and stresses of life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 34:15-19 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;

Monday, February 1, 2016

When Doubt Destroys

Admiral Samuel DuPont played a significant role in the United States Navy. He was victorious in many battles at sea and is also credited with improving the curriculum at the Naval Academy and his forward thinking to make navy ships more effective.
However, on one of his missions he suffered a humiliating defeat. He went to his commanding officer and presented his reasons as to why he was defeated. After listening carefully, his superior said to him, “There’s one more reason. You did not believe you could win.”
Our doubts defeat and destroy us. When we pray and doubt, doubt cancels our prayers and makes them ineffective. Why? Faith and doubt cannot exist together in the same prayer. It’s “either/or.”
On one occasion Jesus said to His disciples, “Have faith in God…All that’s required is that you really believe and do not doubt in your heart…You can pray for anything and have it.” That’s a great beginning for believers.
God will answer the prayers of believers. However, for God to hear our prayers we must first forgive others, have no grudges, pray unselfishly for things that benefit God’s Kingdom, and seek His will in our lives.
Prayer: Lord, we know the rules of prayer are quite simple - but not easy to fulfill. Help us to live right, do right, and pray right. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.