Monday, December 10, 2018

Whose Party?

Competent! Outstanding! Careful! Friendly! Supportive! Bright! Cheerful! Caring! Gracious! And the list of words to describe Beth, the secretary to the president of the company, could go on and on. She was loved by everyone in the company.
When it came time for her birthday one year, her co-workers decided to honor her with a lavish party. They rented a beautiful ballroom, hired the best caterer, designed a special cake, had special napkins with her name on them and collected money to buy a gift.
All went well. The tables were beautifully set, the caterer was on time, the guests arrived and there was excitement in the room. Everyone kept looking at the entrance awaiting the arrival of Beth. After waiting for fifteen minutes the co-worker who organized the event said to Beth’s best friend, “Where is she?”
“I’m not sure,” she replied. “I’ll phone her.”
She did – and discovered that she was at her favorite sandwich shop enjoying her lunch alone. No one thought to invite Beth to her celebration!
There will be many parties this Christmas. And as usual, the Guest, Whose birthday we celebrate, will not be invited. Tables will be set, lights will blink, guests will arrive, laughter will ring out, gifts will be exchanged, everyone will have fun – but Jesus will not be present. No one will think to invite Him – the One who should be the main attraction.
Prayer: Lord of the season, may we place Your Son, our Savior, at the center of everything we do this Christmas. May we never forget, “It’s all about Him.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 2:11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Promise Of Peace

A professor stood before his class and boasted, "The Bible is false. It cannot be believed. It says, 'Peace and good will toward men.' History cannot account for a time when there were no wars!"
Disturbed, Arthur went to his pastor and related the incident. Calmly, his pastor said, "Art, that's not what the angels said. They said, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth among men with whom He is pleased.'"
Politicians speak of peace through treaties and boundaries, threats and sanctions, wars and rumors of wars. But that is not the peace that God speaks of in His Word. His Word speaks of a peace that comes through salvation and surrender to the Prince of Peace. It is a peace that comes from the new heart that He implants within us. It is a peace that Christians enjoy when we open the door to our hearts and allow Him to come in and rule our lives.
The peace that Scripture speaks of will never come from a non-peaceful source. It is a peace that comes through the risen Christ and has its source in God Himself.
We cannot find peace in a turbulent, war-torn world until we make peace with God through Jesus Christ. Only when we go to Him with humility and faith and ask for His forgiveness will He grant us His peace.

Prayer: We pray, Heavenly Father for Your peace – a peace that comes from the God of all comfort Who gives us His peace that assures us of His presence and power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Can You See Him Now?

It was the very first Christmas that Jo Ann’s church had a Nativity scene on the front lawn. Working anxiously, she kept arranging, then rearranging, the figures to make certain they could all be seen.
Finally she sent her friend, Alice, to the edge of the lawn and asked, “How do they look?”
“Fine, they are all O.K.,” came the answer.
Suddenly Jo Ann began to rearrange them once again. “What are you doing? I said they were fine,” said Alice grumpily.
“Yes, I heard what you said,” responded Jo Ann. “But I just want to make sure that Jesus is visible so all of the people can see Him!”
Often Santa gets more attention than our Savior does during these Holy Days. Children anxiously stand in line waiting their turn to ask for gifts and have their picture taken with him. Rarely, however, do children pose at the manger to have a picture taken with the Baby Jesus. Could it be that He is not visible to most people at Christmas? Do we make any effort at all to make Him visible?
Matthew wrote about a group of shepherds who said, “Let’s go to Bethlehem...and see this wonderful thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about.”
This “wonderful thing,” Jesus, is what the world needs to see. Let’s be certain He is always visible – especially in our lives!

Prayer: Lord, may we not allow Your Son to be hidden or to be placed behind the “false idols” that so many worship at Christmas. Let us make Him visible! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 2:15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Gift For Eternity

Timothy had done very well in his first semester at college. Excitement was building in the family as the day approached when he would be home for Christmas. His mother wanted to make it a special event, one he would remember for years to come.
“Let’s give Timothy a wristwatch for Christmas,” she said. “He’s done so well and I want him to know how much we appreciate all of his hard work.”
“But,” protested his father, “what happened to that crushproof, waterproof, shockproof, scratchproof watch we gave him when he left for college?”
“He can’t find it,” said his mother.
In giving us the gift of His Son, God gave us Someone Who will be with us forever. A Gift that will be with us until the end of our lives and throughout eternity. An indestructible, ever-present Presence.
Jesus promised us to “be sure of this – I am with you always and everywhere, even to the end of the age.”
Some would ask, “What does it mean that He will be with us? Did he not leave His disciples when He ascended into heaven?” No, He didn't.
When He left them physically He sent the Holy Spirit to be His presence with them personally. We know He was called “Immanuel – God with us” when He was born. We know He is with us now through the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: It’s easy, Father, for us to lose sight of You and Your messages at this time of the year. But help us to pause, pray frequently and sense Your presence within us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Never Mind, Santa...

Chris was sitting in Santa’s lap and going over a long list of presents that he wanted for Christmas. “I want a bicycle,” he said, “and I also want a wagon, a chemistry set, a telescope, an electric train, a football, a Kindle FIRE and pair of roller blades.”
“That’s a long list,” said Santa. “I’ll have to check carefully to see if you were a good boy.”
After thinking for a moment Chris said, “Don’t bother, Santa, I’ll just settle for the roller blades.”
Not many of us would be able to stand a really thorough investigation to discover if we were worthy of receiving a long list of gifts. We’d probably be like Chris and settle very quickly for very little. Not many of us would want to have someone investigate our lives and then decide if we deserved a gift or not. We would be nervous – if not completely frightened.
But God is so very different. He knows everything there is to know about us and still offers us the most precious gift He has: His Son.
“Now, no one is likely to die for a good person,” said Paul, “though someone might be willing to die for someone who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Christ: the source of eternal life.
There you have it. It is not about whether or not we are good or deserving of eternal life through Him. It is because of the great love that God has for us.
Prayer: May we realize during this Holy Season, our Father, the great Gift we have because of Your love. May Your Son be our main interest and attraction this year. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 5:5-11

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

How To Learn Understanding

James the Fifth of Scotland ruled his subjects quite differently than other rulers did. Historians say that he would often lay aside his royal robes, put on the clothes of an ordinary man, work as they worked and live as they lived. His disguise allowed him to move freely among his people without being recognized.
He did this, we are told, to gain an understanding of their needs and problems, sorrows and difficulties. Then, when he returned to his throne, he would have a clearer insight of his subjects and was better able to rule over them with compassion and care.
That is what Jesus, the King of kings, did. He laid aside His glory. Paul writing of this said, “Though he was God, He did not demand and cling to His right as God. He made himself nothing, He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form!”
It is common for most of us to be selfish and express our pride by “demanding our rights!” We want what we think is “rightfully” ours for any number of reasons. We believe that we have earned something or deserve something and therefore demand something!
But not Jesus. He laid aside every right that was rightfully His in order to serve others.
As His followers we are to live as He lived. We must develop an attitude of love and humility and willingly and sacrificially serve others as He did!
Prayer: We thank You, Lord, for becoming like one of us and for going through everything that we go through. Knowing this enables us to know just how much You do care. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 2:5-8 “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

"Love With Skin On It"

A young man, who grew up in a housing project, having little hope and few goods, heard an evangelist preaching “love” on a street corner. After listening for a few moments he shouted to the preacher, “I’m sick and tired of you people talking about love. I want to see love. I want to feel love. I want to see love with some skin on it!”
That’s Christmas: “God’s love with skin on it.”
Paul wrote, “For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body!”
In Jesus, we see Someone bringing love to life – but a very special type of love. It is God’s love. We see this love coming to life when Jesus fed the hungry, gave sight to the blind, cleansed the lepers, healed the sick, offering water to a thirsty soul, calming the waves to relieve the fears of experienced fishermen, washing dirty feet, spending time with little children, teaching people the truth that brought meaning and purpose to their lives and finally hanging lifeless from a cross – abandoned and alone.
Jesus is God loving through a human heart, healing with a human hand, walking on errands of mercy with human feet, showing love, grace and mercy to those who would do Him harm.
Jesus is God loving the least, the last and the lost. In Jesus, God showed His love with “skin on it.”
Prayer: Help us, Father, to put Your “love in our skin” and take Your love to those in need. May we be as faithful in caring for others as You are in caring for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

Friday, November 30, 2018

A Reason To Be Glad

The word glad in Scripture carries with it the idea of happiness and joyfulness, pleasure and freedom. In God’s Word, however, there is a source for gladness: the Lord. The Psalmist writes, “For You make me glad by Your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands.”
This source for our gladness does not come from anything we have done or accomplished or any ladder of success that we might have climbed. It does not come from wealth that we may have accumulated or records we have set. It does not come from any amount of power we have because of our position. The gladness that the Psalmist writes about comes from what God has done for us.
Another Psalmist wrote, “But may all who search for You be filled with joy and gladness. May those who love Your salvation repeatedly shout, ‘The Lord is great.’” And another Psalmist said, “Let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence.”
We often set “goals” for ourselves that we think will bring a sense of well-being and fulfillment to us - the “if only” statements we make: “If only I can get a promotion I will be satisfied,” or “If only we had a larger home our family would be happy,” or “If only...If only...” and the list goes on.
But the “glad” that comes from God that can fill our hearts and lives comes as a result of what He has done for us: He made possible our salvation through Jesus Christ, His Son, and our Savior. Because of Him we can be glad and sing for joy, we can know that “all things are working together” for our good and His glory.
Prayer: How thankful we are, Lord, that we can have hearts filled with gladness because of Your love and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 92:4 For You make me glad by Your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

"Daily Planning Guide"

Nearly all of us have some method for planning our daily activities. With no plan to follow, our time will likely be wasted and our days meaningless. Often our carefully detailed plans can be completely disrupted by an emergency or unexpected demand. In Psalm 92, however, we find a simple way to open and close each day and bring God’s presence into our lives.
The Psalmist suggests that we begin the day with a “proclamation” - we are to “proclaim the love of God.” If we begin each day by proclaiming the love that God has for us, it will remind us that we are safe and secure in His love and that nothing or no one can destroy us. Then, as the day unfolds and when the unexpected occurs, and things seem upside down, we know that He is holding us close to Himself and that He will protect us from that which might harm us. It is in His love that we are safe and secure. As Paul wrote, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It is His love that keeps us close to Him, and no one or nothing can break this bond that comes from Him.
As we end each day, we are advised to praise God for His faithfulness. Indeed, by His grace, He has brought us through another day, and He has proven Himself to be trustworthy. Even when tragedy strikes or the light of His presence is dim, we have the assurance that He is with us.
If “things” look bad today, we can always look back at our “yesterdays” and see God at work in our lives and praise Him for His trustworthiness and faithfulness.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for all You have done for us. May we always be aware of Your love and faithfulness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 92:2 It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Waiting For Wisdom

“You know,” he said stroking his beard, “I have a problem learning from my past sins.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “Most people say they learn from previous experiences - including sins.”
“Well,” he said with confidence, “I can prove them all wrong.”
“How can you do that?” I asked.
“Well,” he said, stroking his beard once again. “It’s easy. Have you ever committed the same sin twice?”
“Unfortunately, I have,” I replied.
And before I could explain what I was talking about, he said with great confidence, “I rest my case.”
Repeating the same sin more than once is common in the lives of many Christians. Others often lose sight of what living the Christian life is all about and are not even aware of sinning. Some become careless about their responsibility to live in obedience to God’s laws and are unconcerned about their lifestyle. We forget that we are accountable to God for everything we have and do. Perhaps it would be helpful if we took some time to do an inventory of the sins we know we frequently commit. To reflect on our past and its problems may keep us close to God and avoid repeating our sins!
The children of Israel had this problem. Listen to the Psalmist: “But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel.” If we focus on the great things God has done for us, and if we seek His counsel and wait for His guidance, we can avoid repeating our sins.
Prayer: Lord, we want to live a life that honors You and is free from sin. May we look to You for Your guidance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 106:13 But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

God's Grace

Now and then it is good to take a “morning inventory” and reflect on the grace of God.
This morning when I opened my eyes, I thanked God for protecting me while I slept. As I turned off the alarm clock, I thanked Him for sounds and my hearing. As I rested for a moment before I got out of bed, I could feel my beating heart which He kept alive while I slept. As I stood up, I thanked Him for my balance, healthy legs and my slippers. As I took a shower, I thanked Him for the warm water, shampoo, soap, a towel and a mat on the floor to keep me from slipping. Then I continued by thanking Him for a mirror, razor, deodorant and on and on until I thanked Him for all of the articles of clothing He provided for me to wear.
And, then I thanked Him for the words of the Psalmist that reminded me of His promise: “no good thing will He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”
It was then that I had to pause in deep humility and gratefully thank Him for His love and grace that I do not deserve. It is so easy for me to accept the gifts of God - including my salvation - without realizing that everything I have, or ever had or will have, are gifts from God.
And, as I reflected on that verse the word blameless kept ringing in my ears as though it was my friendly alarm clock. I, of all people, am certainly not blameless. As I meditated on the word blameless for a few minutes and thought about everything I am or have, it’s not because I am blameless. It’s because His life was blameless, and of His unending love, grace, and forgiveness!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for loving us, saving us and giving us everything we have. May we be ever grateful! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 84:11c No good thing will He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Why Worship And Sing Praises?

Each church has its own “temperament.” There are churches where you find happiness and hope, a warm fellowship and a welcoming spirit. Others are cold and closed, old and tired. In between are some that are looking for an identity, trying one thing and then another.
Psalm 33 is filled with enthusiasm for God. And, it has some great advice on how to worship God. “Sing joyfully,” said the Psalmist. “Praise the Lord with the harp and the ten-stringed lyre,” he continues. But why?
One reason is that “The Word of the Lord is right and true.” No one has ever rejected the Bible because it contradicts itself but because it contradicts the reader. “The only objection against the Bible,” said Wilmot the infidel when he was dying, “is a bad life.”
“The plans of the Lord stand true,” is another reason to sing. A father said to his son, “Go to the third step and jump. I’ll catch you!” But he didn’t, and his son fell to the floor. “Now get up and remember,” he said, “not to trust anyone - not even your father.” Our Heavenly Father never tricks us nor tempts us. He is faithful in all things and at all times.
Finally, “The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him. No army has ever saved a king,” said David. Warriors work together and combine their strength but are often defeated. But “God delivers His own from death and keeps them alive in famine.”
Humanists depend on human beings. But Christians depend on Jesus Christ to “deliver” and “nourish” them.

Prayer: Father, may our hearts and lives be centered on worshiping You in songs of joy and shouts of praise. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 33:1 Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord; it is fitting for the pure to praise him.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Right Way - Wrong Way

God created us to follow Him - not to forsake Him. He chooses for us triumph over temptation - not struggle with guilt for surrendering to sin. He wants us to walk with Him and not stray from Him because of our self-centeredness. He waits to help us achieve the potential He has given us and not be satisfied with less than what is possible. He is willing and able to share His wisdom and give His insights whenever we need to make any decision- if only we ask Him.
There are many wrong ways but only one “best” way - His way. And no one but God can reveal that way, His way, to us. We may search one way and then another, try this route, or another until it comes to a dead end. However, only when we allow God to lead us will we be in the center of His will.
Israel’s experience during the Exodus gives us a great example of God’s guidance and guardianship.
The Psalmist gives us a vivid picture of what can happen when people “try to make it on their own” and do not follow God: “Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. Some were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.” How sad. How true. Without God’s guidance, we are all wanderers!
“Then they cried out to the Lord!” And listen to what happened. “He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.”
No one will ever find a “straight way” to a “safe place” in life unless they surrender their life to God and follow Him. Life without God is a “wasteland,” and unless we accept His salvation, our lives will “ebb away.”
Prayer: Lord, we come to You and ask You to save us from our sins and then lead us safely into Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 107:7 He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

An Attitude Of Gratitude

Someone has rightly said that when someone speaks our name, we are “called into existence.” So, here’s a question: If we go an entire day without someone mentioning our name, do we exist? Or, if no one has recognized us, does that mean we are not alive? Not at all! It means that we “have not been recognized.” We have been “overlooked.”
David began Psalm 18 by recognizing God and proclaiming his love for his Lord: “I love you, Lord, you are my strength!” This simple statement quickly describes David’s dependence on God, his intimate relationship with God, and his devotion to God. God, David said, “is the source of my strength.” Whatever he did was done through the strength that God gave him.
Often we think of “strength” as our ability to lift something or endure something as an athlete does in a contest. David was not thinking of that type of strength. But, he does go on to describe that strength: his Lord “is a rock, a fortress, a deliverer, a shield, his strength and the horn of his salvation.” All of these words that describe God come from a military setting and help us to see that David, in this Psalm, saw God as the One who protected him and made him the victor in all of his battles.
When David called on God, something happened: he was delivered or saved from all of his enemies. That also happens when we call on the Lord. “Everyone,” the Bible says, “who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Call on Him now to be delivered and saved!
PrayerLord, we love You and thank You for being our Savior and shield, our protector and provider. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 18:1 I love you, Lord, you are my strength. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

He Satisfies

God did not create any need He could not satisfy! He did not create food that would simply taste good. He created food that would taste good and satisfy our hunger – food that would nourish and sustain us, comforts us and brings us enjoyment. Every hunger or need that we have - whether spiritual, emotional, physical or social - can be fulfilled out of the abundance of His creation. That includes this life and the life to come. He is a needs-meeting God.
Listen to the Psalmist: “For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” If we are thirsty, we must drink the water that He provides to quench our thirst through His Son. If we are hungry, we must eat the Bread of Life which is His Son. Unless we ask the Lord to become our Savior, we will live lives that are empty, unsatisfied and unfulfilled. Only when we are willing to allow Him to fill the needs He has placed deep within us with His Son will we become complete.
There is a story of a little boy returning home from the store with a jar of honey. After struggling for quite some time to open it, he finally succeeded. He stuck his finger into the jar to taste its contents. An older man watching him from a distance approached him.
“Is it sweet?” he asked. “Yes, Sir,” came the reply. “How sweet?” asked the man. “Well, Sir, I can’t describe it. It’s so sweet it more than satisfies my need for candy. But I’ll tell you what. You stick your finger in the jar and taste it for yourself, and then you’ll know.”
‘Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” He alone can satisfy our every need.
Prayer: Lord, fill the emptiness in our lives with Your presence as You become our Redeemer, Savior and Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 107:9 For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Signs Of A Grateful Heart

An attitude of gratitude is always obvious. If we are grateful for what God has done for us and given to us, others will see our appreciation for it in everything we do. David gave us a fourfold formula to follow.
“I will thank You, Lord, with all my heart.” The thanksgiving he describes is total and consumes all of his being - his entire self. The word he used for the heart would include his consciousness of God’s presence, his memories of God’s goodness, and his awareness of God’s grace. He worshiped God with excitement, enthusiasm, and expectation.
“I will tell all of the marvelous things You have done.” Marvelous comes from a word that means “extraordinary, not to be surpassed by anyone, and wonderful!” He is so overwhelmed by God’s blessings on his life that he wants everyone to hear about it.
“I will be filled with joy!” Joy is the natural state of the one who trusts in the Lord. Knowing that “all things work together for our good” should cause His joy to radiate from our heads into our hearts and out through our hands. Everything we do should be done with a smile on our face and gladness in our eyes.
“I will sing praises to Your Name, O Most High.” Notice that there is only one letter different between the word “sin” and “sing” - the letter “g” - that stands for God. When we give up sin for the Savior, God gives us a new song to sing. It is a song about the Savior who loves us, gave Himself for us, is present in us and works through us.
Prayer: Lord, we rejoice in the goodness and grace of our salvation. May we always have a grateful, thankful heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today:Psalm 9:2 I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to Your Name, O Most High. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Grace For Our Grief

God’s grace is greater than any grief we may ever have to endure. Psalm 107 describes the greatness of His grace with the Israelites.
First, like them, we are pilgrims: “They wandered in desert wastelands...” We are all “wandering” as pilgrims most of the time. We struggle to determine right from wrong and often make wrong decisions because we have left God out of our thoughts. We have a great example of what to do when this happens: When the children of Israel realized that they were wandering, they returned to the Lord and asked for His directions. He would always welcome them back and point them, once again, in the right direction. Remember, too, the words of Jesus: “I am the way.” Wherever or whenever we wander, His grace is always available to welcome us back.
Second, we are all prisoners: “Some of them (were) prisoners, suffering in chains.” Sin fascinates for a while, but it soon fastens us in chains that keep us from enjoying God’s best. Habits are easy to form but difficult to forsake. But when the Israelites called upon God to free them, He always “snapped” their chains, and they were released from their bondage. Whomever God saves, His grace sets free.
Third, we are often overwhelmed with grief when persons we thought loved us turn on us and hurt and harm us. “...give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love.” We have all suffered unbearable pain when someone whom we thought loved us turned against us and tried to destroy us. Being abandoned is difficult to survive alone. Thank God Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!” We have His promise of His never-ending presence.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, that You love us, care for us and will always be there for us. Thank You for Your grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 107:4 Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Quiet Christians

For many years two neighbors rode the same train to work in downtown Chicago. George went to church regularly, and if pressed, would admit to being a Christian. But he never allowed being a Christian to interfere with his life. On the other hand, Will never went to church and had no use for godly things. As they rode the train each day, they discussed business strategies, sports, politics, religion, and current events. They rarely mentioned God.
One morning Will became violently ill and was rushed to the hospital. After a series of tests, his physician informed his wife that he could not live longer than a few days - if that long. Frightened, his wife said, “Perhaps we’d better call George and talk about God.”
“George? Talk about God? Why George? He rarely mentioned God to me or that he knew Him. So I doubt that he would be the right person to call,” said Will. Without saying another word, he passed into eternity - lost.
When George heard the news, he was stunned and filled with guilt. There was nothing he could do for Will now but go to God and ask for forgiveness for not being a witness and promise to become faithful. The words of the Psalmist echoed loudly in his ears: “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!”
Unfortunately, the Kingdom of God is filled with too many citizens like George. They know the Lord from a distance but are unwilling to speak as His ambassadors. They believe that they have “theirs” and that’s all that matters. But there is no denying that if indeed God has redeemed us, we will present Him faithfully to others!
Prayer: Lord, forgive us for our silence and refusal to be faithful in presenting Your message to the lost around us! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 107:2a Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Our God Is A Good God!

Mary Jo spent part of her spring vacation with her Grandmother. When she returned home, her mother asked, “Were you a good girl?”
“Mom, I was so good that I could hardly stand it,” she replied. “It’s a wonder I had any fun I was so good.”
The word “good” is difficult to measure. There is no “good-er” or “good-est.” Why? Because the word good is only applicable to God. And we must never forget that it is not possible for God to improve on anything He does or do anything any “good-er.”
On one occasion when Jesus was starting on a trip, a man came running up to Him and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get into heaven?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good!”
His reply did not disclaim that He, too, was good. On the contrary! He claimed and proclaimed His goodness when He confessed that He was God!
Unfortunately, the young man regarded Jesus as a human teacher only. For him to attach the word “good” to a mere human being was a bad thing. So, it was necessary for him to understand that only God is good and that no one other than God is, in fact, good. Jesus is good because He is God.
Whenever we think of ourselves, we must always remember who we are, how we think, and that we are human. When we think of God, however, we must shout with the Psalmist, “Give thanks to God for He is good!”
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that You are good and in that goodness, we see Your love, grace, and salvation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Danger Of Anger

Sin is not a behavior to belittle. When it no longer frightens us, we have lost contact with God. A small sin can lead to a large tragedy. All sin has consequences.
One day, while the children of Israel were on the path to the Promised Land, they came to a place that had no water. Rather than trusting their God who had always provided for their every need, they became frightened. And when fear takes over in anyone’s life, faultfinding follows.
Our Psalmist gives us a vivid report of the consequences of their behavior: it “angered” Moses. So, the Lord told him to take his rod, gather the people together, speak to the rock in their presence, and it would give them all the water they needed.
But Moses did not speak to the rock. He struck it twice with his rod. Then, in anger, he spoke harshly to the people. Instead of doing what God asked him to do, he did what he wanted to do and then reacted in anger.
Notice that the word anger is only one letter short of danger - it lacks a “d.” The result of his disobedience is seen in his anger. And there is always a great danger when we are disobedient to God. His disobedience led to anger - which led to sin. As a result, he lost the great honor and privilege of leading his people into the Promised Land.
How sad. How tragic. Moses did many great and glorious things. He had worked hard and done well. He was so close to reaching the goal God had given him. But he disobeyed God, lost control of his emotions, and had to pay the consequences. A moment of anger can destroy anyone.

Prayer: Lord, only You can give us victory over things that will so easily destroy us. May we follow Your advice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 106:32 At Meribah, too, they angered the Lord, causing Moses serious trouble. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Aware Of God's Presence

When days are good and times are trouble-free, we often forget that God is present in our lives and protecting us from possible tragedies. This seems to be a very real fact of history - for individuals and nations.
The children of Israel believed in God. They were aware of His goodness and grace, presence and power and had experienced them on many occasions. But, they often left Him out of their plans - as we often do. Then, when times became difficult, or when situations became uncontrollable, or beyond their - or our - ability to manage, they called on God to deliver them - like we do.
As they became absorbed in the physical, they would forget the spiritual - like we do. They would major on temporal and ignore the eternal - as we do. God was not at the center of their lives or uppermost in their thoughts. How like us!
So, the Psalmist reminded them that “They soon forgot what He had done” - as we do!
The word forgot is an interesting word. It signifies something that has been “mislaid.” In other words, they put God aside. That left a space in their hearts that had to be filled. They needed a god. So, what did they do? They made a calf, and instead of the God who called them His children, they worshiped an idol made of metal.
We were created to worship and have fellowship with the living God. If we forget that and put Him aside, we will “create” another god and put that god in place of the living God who loved us and gave Himself for us.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to worship You continually and never forget the good things You do for us constantly. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 106:13-15 Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done! They wouldn’t wait for his counsel!  In the wilderness their desires ran wild, testing God’s patience in that dry wasteland.  So he gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Trying To Escape God

God seems to appear when we least expect Him. He certainly will not be confined within the walls of a church or restrained within the rituals of a religion. He is, after all, God the Creator, Sustainer, and Savior. He makes Himself known when and where and as He pleases.
Once, during the transatlantic crossing of a large ocean liner, a major storm erupted, breaking the silence of calm seas. A huge wave swept over the bow of the ship and swept a sailor into the raging waters. His cry for help went unheard.
But in Philadelphia, his Christian mother, who was sound asleep, suddenly awoke with an urgent desire to pray for him. Even though she was not aware of what had happened or his threatening situation, she prayed for his safety with urgency and intensity. She then returned to bed and fell asleep with peace in her heart.
Weeks later her son returned home, opened the door and shouted, “Mother, I’m saved!” Then he described what had happened, how he had been swept overboard. As he was sinking in the swirling waves, he remembered thinking, “I’m lost forever!” Then he remembered a hymn he once sang in church about looking to Jesus to be saved. He cried out, “O God, I look to Jesus to be saved,” and another wave swept him back onto the ship.
When he finished his story, his mother told her story. They then thanked God for the storm that saved his soul. As the Psalmist wrote, “Pursue them with Your tempest and terrify them with your storm.” Our God is amazing.

Prayer: Thank You, God, for what You are willing to do to save the lost. We will never understand Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 83:15 Pursue them with Your tempest and terrify them with your storm.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Where Is He When We Need Him?

The night was so dark that even the stars were hidden behind the clouds. The winds were so fierce and the rains so heavy that it was nearly impossible to see. A chaplain noticed a young sailor trying to hide behind the ship's guns where there was a dim light. Trying to comfort him, the chaplain opened his New Testament to John 3:16 and asked him to read that verse. He wanted to talk to him about God. “For God so loved the world,” he began reading quietly, “that He gave His only forgotten Son.”
Many of us frequently forget the Lord, His Word and His works until we need His help. This happened to the people of Israel. The Psalmist reminds us of this in two simple words that all of us, unfortunately, can relate to: “They forgot.”
Often when we face a crisis, it is easy to focus on the crisis rather than the Christ who can guide and guard us through it safely if we would only allow Him. We think of everything that we can do rather than what He can do. So we delay calling on Him. More than we can realize He is waiting to hear our voice. He wants to comfort and care for us, strengthen and sustain us. But we choose to tackle the task by ourselves - believing that we can live life without Him. Then, when we realize that we are helpless, we turn to Him and, as always, He responds. Perhaps He allows us to “try it” on our own and fail so that He can remind us of our weakness and His enduring strength.
His promise? “Call on me, and I will answer you...” And again, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!”
Prayer: How foolish we are, Father, to ever forget that You are always present waiting and wanting to help us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 106:13a But they soon forgot what He had done.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Fortified By Faith

If we knew what was going to happen, we would not need faith. We could plan for tomorrow and the next day and the next with confidence. But only God knows what tomorrow will bring into our lives. So, we need faith.
Faith enables us to live courageously, live life with confidence, and know that with God beside us, His Son within us and the Holy Spirit to empower us, we can be more than conquerors.
Unfortunately, not all Christians walk by faith. Some squeak through life by sight. But, the two principles of action are exclusive of each other and contradictory.
Sight is concerned with things that are material and visible. Faith is concerned with things that are invisible and spiritual. Each principle struggles to master the other. As Christians, we must choose which one will be our master.
If we walk by sight, we will encounter many things that will frighten us. We see this in the lives of the people of Israel. When they left Israel, they were followed by the best fighters that Egypt had.
When they came to the Red Sea and saw the enemy about to destroy them, they were frightened. But in spite of their lack of faith, the Lord saved them. He caused the sea to divide and provided a dry road for their escape.
“Then,” states the Psalmist, “they believed His words.” When? After they saw His miracle. It was not necessary for them to experience such despair and the fear of destruction. Their lack of faith in the presence and power of God caused them to doubt His promises. “Lord, help our unbelief!” said one disciple. What about you?
Prayer: Lord, help us to take You at Your Word and trust in You for everything. Please increase our faith now. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 106:12 Then they believed his promises. Then they sang his praise.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Do Right!

“Blessed are they...,” said the Psalmist, “who constantly do what is right.” Jesus, too, emphasized the importance of righteousness when He began His public ministry. “Blessed,” said Jesus, “are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
Doing what is right and hungering and thirsting for righteousness is not a priority in the lives of many who call themselves “Christian.” It sounds like a lifestyle that is more suitable for monks who live in a monastery and spend their time reading the Bible and praying than for people who work for a living. Monks can avoid the “real things” of life and “be righteous.”
Perhaps when we think of being “righteous” and “doing what is right” we shudder because it sounds so “limiting” on the one hand, and “impossible” on the other. “What fun is there in being righteous?” we ask. Or, “If I ‘do right’ I’ll live a life of gloom and doom with no room for happiness and joy.” What a grim prospect.
But the exact opposite is true. God has a specific plan for each of our lives and will enable us to fulfill it. Ultimately we will become like His Son. If we seek and follow the plan and purpose He has for our lives, we will walk in paths of “righteousness for His name’s sake.” If we want to know the “path of righteousness” He has for our lives, we must study His Word. And, the more we study His Word, the more we will become like Him. If we desire to “do right” and become “righteous,” we will need to spend time with Him, get to know Him, and love Him. If we “do right,” we will “become right.”
Prayer: Lord, we all want to “do right.” But we cannot “do right” unless we are willing to spend time with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 106:3 There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Proclaim His Might Acts!

Not many people have ever heard of Mithridates the Great, King of Pontus, from northern Asia Minor, in 88 B.C. He was famous for his size, his strength, and his skill of mastering the languages of the twenty-five nations that he ruled. There’s also Cardinal Mezzofanti, who was born in Bologna, Italy who spoke more than one hundred languages and dialects. Language is important. It connects us.
Today, philologists claim that there are between 6,000 and 7,000 different languages that people use to communicate with one another. The majority of the languages in our world flow from one person to another. Some languages exist that have never been reduced to writing. Every one of them evolves and changes over time. When people connect with other people in other places, languages become richer and more inclusive. Some languages add new words while other words are deleted when they no longer make sense. Some words lose their meaning and are soon forgotten.
Yet, no matter how many words there may be or how many languages are spoken, the Psalmist put things into the proper context when he asked, “Who can proclaim the mighty acts of God, or fully declare His praise?”
We will never be able to praise God as much as He deserves, but we can praise Him with a heart that is sincere. If we ever begin to realize the magnitude of God’s love and mercy that saved us, and now sustains us, our hearts will be filled with such joy that our voices will never cease to express our gratitude and thanks!
Prayer: Father, may we lift our voices in praise to You for Your love for us and the gift of Your Son, our Savior. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 106:2 Who can proclaim the mighty acts of God, or fully declare His praise? 

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Memories Of A Holy God

It almost seems contradictory when we read these words of the Psalmist: “For He remembered His holy promise.” It’s as if God were in a grocery store and just as He began to walk through the parking lot to His car He stopped and said, “Oh my. I forgot the milk! I’m glad I thought of it.” But, not so.
As Psalm 105 ends, the author reminds us of the faithfulness of our God. So, he wanted to remind the readers, once again, that whether or not they were faithful to Him, He was faithful to them. He made a covenant with Abraham and through the many generations from the day that covenant was made until that very moment, He was always with them. When they felt alone, He made His presence known. When they needed protection, He was there to guard them. When they were hungry, He provided food to nourish them. When they were weak and weary, they could rely on His power.
God has been, is and will be true to what He says. And, He is faithful to keep His word to whomever He gives it. Wherever we look in history - in times of defeat and delay - it does not mean that God has forgotten what He has promised. God is always faithful to His holy promises. His promises are holy and sacred because they come from a God who is holy and sacred. Through days that seemed unbearable and nights that had no stars, God was always with them - working out His will in His way according to His plan.
God calls us to Himself to make us like Himself. He will do whatever it takes to restore His image in us. Remember: God is a “working in us God ” and always faithful.
Prayer: Give us patience and perseverance, faith and willingness, hope and trust, Lord, as we become like You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 105:42 For He remembered His holy promise to his servant Abraham. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Our Wonder Working God!

All of us know individuals whose lives have gone from pinnacles of prosperity to places of poverty. We know that temptations overtake some individuals, and they soon become enslaved and imprisoned by harmful habits. Once they were blest, but now they are in bondage. There seems to be a pattern of self-destruction that overcomes many who are not satisfied with the gifts of God. They apparently will not allow His grace and goodness to satisfy them. They always want “more!”
This is what happened to the people of Israel. It seems that the more God gave them, the less satisfied they were. Finally, their greed led them to slavery. But, thank God, their story does not end there. His love and mercy eventually brought redemption and restoration to them. When? When they repented and returned to the Covenant, He made with them. God always keeps His Word.
Not only did He rescue them from their captors, but “they were laden with silver and gold.” When we allow God to redeem us by His grace, His Word promises us that “It is He who will supply all of our needs from His riches in glory because of what Jesus Christ has done for us.” God will honor His Word with us, as He did with Israel.
He also empowers those whom He redeems: “From among their tribes no one faltered.” When God redeems us, we are called to serve Him faithfully. He has a plan for each of our lives, and that plan contains many opportunities for us to serve Him. And, for each of those opportunities He gives us, we know that He will empower us, and we will not falter or fail if we are faithful to Him.
Prayer: Father, if we have strayed from the plan You have for us forgive and restore us to the joy of serving You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 105:37 The Lord brought his people out of Egypt, loaded with silver and gold; and not one among the tribes of Israel even stumbled.