Saturday, November 30, 2019

Who Gets The Credit?

A Chinese farmer had only one son and one horse. Nothing else in life mattered to him. One night his horse ran away. His neighbors came to console him and said, “What bad luck!”
Later the horse returned and brought twelve wild horses with him. The neighbors, hearing the news, gathered at his home and rejoiced with him saying, “What good luck!”
While taming one of the wild horses, the son fell and severely broke his leg. The neighbors gathered once again and with remorse said, “What bad luck!”
Soon after this, their warlord was engaged in a battle and took all of the able-bodied men to war – except his son. None of the men returned. But the son, who was excused from going to war and was left behind, led a long and productive life.
Was it the Lord or was it luck?
Every event that occurs in our lives is open for our personal interpretation. When the mind of Christ is at work within us, we will see God at work in everything.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to realize Your presence and power in our lives and see Your hand at work. Open our eyes, minds, and hearts to see You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Romans 8:26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 

Friday, November 29, 2019

What's In Your name?

Arthur Rubinstein was one of the world’s most celebrated pianists. He often wondered what the critics and his audience would say if someone else appeared at a concert to play in his place.
One night, with an assumed name and made-up to look different in a disguise, he performed a concert before a large audience. After the concert, the critics agreed, “The gentleman who played this evening wasn’t in the class with the great Rubinstein.”

We are reminded in Proverbs that “A good name is more desirable than great riches, and to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

God has called each of us to fill a unique role in His world. We are “one of a kind.”

He has given each of us unique gifts and talents that He expects us to develop and refine. As we work with what He has given us, we develop a reputation for our accomplishments – whatever they may be. We become known to others not only by what we do but how well we do it. Our reputation, our “name,” is a result of what we do with what God has given us. We dare not waste His gifts foolishly on meaningless things.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to “work hard” to “earn” a good name, and bring great honor to You. Give us a desire to become all we can become through You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Proverbs 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches, and to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

What Would He Think?

A mother lectured her daughter about the importance of keeping family secrets private. One day she got in trouble in school, and the principal called her mother to tell her about the trouble her daughter was in.
After scolding the girl, she said, “Now you must go to your room and ask God to forgive you.”
Later, when the family sat down for dinner, she asked, “Sara, did you ask God to forgive you?”
“No, Mom, I didn’t,” said Sara. “I knew that you wouldn’t want Him to know about our family scandals!”
Sara had no doubt that everything she did and everything she said – whether good or bad – was seen or heard by God.
It was true for Job. It is true for us. Nothing that we have done or will ever do will escape His notice because nothing can be hidden from Him. As Job was speaking of the life he lived in the presence of God, he was able to say, “I have not committed any sin in my heart against God or my neighbor.” How many of us can repeat those words?
Prayer: Help us to realize, Lord, that we cannot hide anything from You. May we realize the importance of the way we live and strive to be like Your Son. In His Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Job 31:3-4 Isn’t it calamity for the wicked and misfortune for those who do evil? Doesn’t he see everything I do and every step I take? 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Warm Words And A Sincere Smile

Years ago at a missionary conference in London, a gracious man with an inviting smile noticed a young boy standing alone looking puzzled. Softly he asked, “Would you like to be a missionary?”

“Oh yes,” he answered, “yes, I would!” he replied quickly.

And he did. He became one of the world’s most famous missionaries as well as an explorer in Africa. Years later, David Livingstone said, “It was that smile, that gentle question, and expression of kindness that led me to become a missionary.”

It is easy to overlook those who appear to be unimportant or seem to have no significance. They stand alone and lonely. Unwanted. We often consider them the “least in the Kingdom of God” – assuming that they have little worth in serving the Lord.

Jesus picked men to be His disciples who were considered “common, ordinary men.” But those “common, ordinary men” preached sermons, wrote books, established the Church, grew the Kingdom and changed the world because someone said, “I need you!”

Prayer: Father, open our eyes to those around us who we may invite to work with us to reach the lost. We can all do more for You by inviting others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Matthew 28:19Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Potential Of Praise

He had a burning desire to be a writer even though everything seemed to be against him. As a young man in London, he was only able to attend school for four years. His father was jailed for bad debts, and he had no one to help him.
Finally, he got a job pasting labels on bottles. The owner of the business was kind enough to allow him to sleep in the warehouse where he worked. Every spare moment he had was invested in writing stories. For several years every editor rejected every story he ever wrote. But he refused to give up. He kept writing and submitting his stories.
Finally, one day, one editor wrote him and said that one of his stories had been accepted for publication. He went on in his letter and complimented him for his work. A word of praise and the publication of one story were all that he needed. He continued to write and, after many years, perfected his passion. Today, libraries and book stores around the world contain many books written by Charles Dickens.
A word of encouragement goes a long way. And a word of encouragement is all that most of us need to “keep on keeping on.” Be an “encourager” to someone today!
Prayer: Lord, keep our eyes open and our minds alert to find and help any in need of encouragement. Help us to be an “encourager” that changes lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Hebrews 10:24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 

Monday, November 25, 2019

"If Only" People

A psychiatrist was deeply troubled by the sadness of one of his dear friends. Curiously he asked, “What’s troubling you?”
After some time he responded, “I’ve been reviewing the ‘If only’s’ of my life. I’ve made so many mistakes.”

Wanting to help he said, “Let’s go to my office. I have some recordings I want you to hear.”

Sitting quietly he played a tape containing the stories of three very depressed patients. After a moment he asked, “Did you notice that each one kept repeating, ‘if only?” The “if only’s” bring about a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, depression and discouragement. All of us must learn to say, “Next time I’ll do things differently. I’ll seek God’s will and ask for His wisdom and guidance before I make a decision.”

James said, “If you need wisdom – if you want to know what God wants you to do – ask Him and He will gladly tell you!” Wisdom in the Bible means “practical insight or guidance” that will lead the Christian to right living and eliminate the “if only's” of life.

Prayer: Father, may we look to You for guidance before we make decisions or plans or try to solve problems. May we seek Your guidance at all times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: James 1:5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Best Advice Ever

Derek Jeter, formerly a New York Yankee, is acknowledged by some to be one of the greatest shortstops who ever played baseball. One day a reporter asked him, “What’s the best advice your father ever gave you?”

Came the quick reply, “Don’t let anyone ever outwork you!”

It was hard, relentless work over many years that led Jeter to the pinnacle of his profession. And, it is the same hard work that kept him there and served as a model that many seek to follow. His efforts have rewarded him lavishly and brought him friends, fame, and fortune.

There are some of us, however, who work just as hard but get relatively little recognition. No one sees us and no one knows how hard we try. We may even wonder if what we do really matters to anyone. We ask: “Does what I do make a difference?”

Yes, it does – at least to God. One day He will reward us personally in front of everyone in heaven for the good we have done for others in His Name.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to realize that You will reward each one of us for all that we have ever done. Give us a desire to develop every gift we have! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Ephesians 6:7-8 Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free. 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Success At What Price?

A reporter was interviewing a farmer who was known for growing the best corn in his area. He was intrigued by the fact that the farmer was also known for sharing his seed corn freely with his neighbors. He was the opposite of being selfish.
“Why do you share your best seed corn with your neighbors?” asked the reporter.

After a moment’s thought, he replied, “The wind picks up the pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination would degrade mine. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors do the same.”

Jesus said, “Give and it will be given unto you!” He was teaching us that if we want more, we must give more. That is God’s plan and it is His promise. Whatever we share with others, whether it is our time, our talents, or our treasures, will always be returned to us with “interest added.” There will be more time in our day, more opportunities to enjoy life, our talents will continue to grow, and our value to the Lord will increase as well.

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to give generously to others in the gracious way that You give to us. May we understand that everything belongs to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Scripture For Today: Luke 6:38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full - pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Share And Suceed

Disheartened by the lack of opportunities for work in Cuba, a refugee made his way to America. He submitted one application after another only to have it rejected because he could not speak English.
Finally, in desperation he tried once again at a Pizza Hut, but with little hope. He was rejected and felt defeated. Then, while eating a piece of their pizza, he noticed a sign that announced their need for a dishwasher. Expecting nothing in return, he went into the kitchen and began to wash dishes. The owners were so pleased with his work that they offered him a permanent job, and he began a successful career with the company. Years later he became an owner, and one day sold his Pizza Hut franchises for $125 million.

Education and talent are no guarantee of success. Paul writes, “Do what is good” and do not “get discouraged and give up for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” We must always be sensitive to the needs of others and have a willingness to help anyone in need. Sharing another’s burden and meeting the needs of others always honors God. What we do for others will not go unnoticed by Him.

Prayer: Father, open our eyes to see and ears to hear the needs of others. When others need our help, may we reach out and respond with Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Galatians 6:9-10 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Best Advice Ever

Derek Jeter, formerly a New York Yankee, is acknowledged by some to be one of the greatest shortstops who ever played baseball. One day a reporter asked him, “What’s the best advice your father ever gave you?”
Came the quick reply, “Don’t let anyone ever outwork you!”

It was hard, relentless work over many years that led Jeter to the pinnacle of his profession. And, it is the same hard work that kept him there and served as a model that many seek to follow. His efforts have rewarded him lavishly and brought him friends, fame, and fortune.

There are some of us, however, who work just as hard but get relatively little recognition. No one sees us and no one knows how hard we try. We may even wonder if what we do really matters to anyone. We ask: “Does what I do make a difference?”

Yes, it does – at least to God. One day He will reward us personally in front of everyone in heaven for the good we have done for others in His Name.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to realize that You will reward each one of us for all that we have ever done. Give us a desire to develop every gift we have! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Ephesians 6:7-8 Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free. 

Right Is Right

The games were played, the gifts opened, the food was eaten. Turning to his uncle, Billy said, “Thank you for my birthday present.”
“Oh, it was nothing,” he said pleasantly.
“Mom and I agree with you,” he replied, “but she said I should thank you anyway.”
An attitude of gratitude is very important. A mind that is alert to and aware of the gifts and kind acts of others is an invaluable asset to anyone. And a heart that is quick to express a word of “thanks” for any expression of thoughtfulness is deeply appreciated by others. Everyone wants to know that they are appreciated for what they do for others!
Too often as we make our way through life we focus on our worries and woes rather than God’s blessings that come to us through others. We seem to harbor problems and losses deep within us and tend to lose sight of God’s gracious and generous gifts.
Although it is normal and natural to bring our needs and necessities to God, we must never lose sight of our obligation to express our gratitude to Him for everything that we have – big or little. If we truly love and worship Him, our lives will be one continuous celebration of thanksgiving. What can you thank Him for right now?
Prayer: Father, we ask that You will open our eyes to all of the gifts that You constantly lavish upon us. Make us aware of all that You constantly do for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Recognizing Reality

For several weeks a radiologist had suffered from a painful stomach ache. Noting his discomfort, his associate suggested that he have a series of x-rays to rule out any problems.
He agreed to this plan and was assigned a number by the clinic. The next day he was examining a nameless but numbered x-ray. He did not realize that it was his. Suddenly he cried out, “Contact this person immediately. He has inoperable cancer.”

Unfortunately, many of us have feelings of discomfort. We are “dis-eased” and troubled, anxious and afraid. We hear sermons, read Scripture and even pray but get no satisfaction or relief. Only more anxiety. We wonder what is going on.

Peter wrote to encourage us to keep our “conscience clear.” When we experience moments or days of “dis-ease,” it may be God’s spirit reaching out to warn us. When we feel no relief or peace or quiet or joy or satisfaction, no doubt He is saying – “Take an x-ray of your heart and you will discover the problem. Look carefully for the sin that is causing your pain.” If we examine our lives carefully, God will reveal the cause of our “dis-ease.”

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for all the warning signs You give us to let us know when we need to repent. May we be sensitive to the work of Your Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: 1 Peter 3:16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Past, Present Or Future?

A formal banquet for important individuals was scheduled in Washington. General Jimmy Doolittle decided to invite Charles Lindbergh, the famous pilot, to join the celebration. He wanted to recognize him for his outstanding accomplishments.
After a moment’s thought, Lindbergh said to Doolittle, “It seems to me that life is full of so many worthwhile opportunities that I do not want to spend a lot of time celebrating the past.”

Paul wisely said to his friends, “I choose to focus all my energies on one thing: I will forget the past…and look forward to serving You until the end of my race when I receive my prize: heaven!” Paul never looked at his past, only his future in Christ!

Too often we look at what we have done or where we have been and neglect to realize where we, as Christians, are going. We all have betrayed, disappointed and abandoned our Savior at one time or another. However, we must let go of the past. God has forgiven us, so we must stay focused on our relationship with Him today and do what we can do to serve Him faithfully and lovingly until He greets us in heaven.

Prayer: Help me, Savior, to realize that the past is gone and that the life I live now is to please You. Free us from our past and help us to live in the NOW! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Philippians 3:13-14 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Now Or Never!

In 1874 Elisha Gray did something that no one else had ever done. He unveiled a machine that transmitted musical notes over a telegraph wire. The audience was fascinated with the sounds. Proudly he said, “If music, why not words?”
Immediately the New York Times predicted a “Talking Machine,” and people expressed a great interest in wanting one.

Gray did nothing with his “machine” for two months. One day he decided to go to the patent office with a drawing. After presenting it to one of the officials, he learned that Alexander Graham Bell had presented an identical sketch two hours earlier.

Gray did not fail. He hesitated. His loss was tremendous and cost him much.

Salvation is God’s free gift to everyone who accepts Christ. But like Gray, many put off making a decision to become a Christian until it is too late. Everyone wants to believe there will always be another tomorrow because there was a yesterday. Not true!

Prayer: We pray, Father, for those who need to accept Christ as Savior today! May they realize that “now is the day of salvation” and accept Your offer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

No Mistake

He had been playing football in a nasty, soggy, muddy field. Tired and covered with fresh mud, little James returned home for dinner. His mother horrified with his appearance and wanting to shame him said, “Who’s this? I don’t know of anyone who lives here who could ever get so dirty and come to the table to eat!”
“It’s me, Mom,” he shouted. “It’s your son James who’s underneath all this dirt.”

Jesus once told the story of a son who went to his father and said, “Dad, I want whatever you have that has been set aside for my inheritance. I’m leaving home today.”

But things did not work out the way the son thought they would. He wasted his inheritance on things that were pleasing but had no eternal value. So, one day he “came to himself!” In this famous story, Jesus described the foolishness of “passing fancies” in comparison to the gift He has to offer: a life worth living through the grace of God.

He was met by his Dad who was filled with joy and compassion, waiting for this day – the day he would realize what his father had to offer him. He wrapped his son in his arms and held him tightly, told him that he was loved and welcomed, and “all is forgiven.”

What a picture of Jesus: eyes searching, ears listening, arms open, heart-pounding, and waiting and wanting to offer everyone complete forgiveness for every sin.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for providing a love that exceeds our sinfulness, grace and mercy for anyone, and the opportunity to begin a life with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Luke 15:11-32 We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found. 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Me, My Mop And The Doctor

Early one morning Jim Belasco, a noted writer, went to the Methodist Hospital in Houston, to interview the world-famous heart surgeon, Dr. Michael DeBakey. As he made his way toward the operating room, he met a custodian with a smile as large as life and singing happily with all his heart as he mopped the floor.
Curious to see such enthusiasm at such an early hour, the writer asked, “Why are you so happy?”

Came the quick reply, “Me and the Doc are going to save some lives today.”

We all form partnerships for many different reasons. There are occasions when partnerships are formed for leisure activities or social events, and other times for work or special projects. But imagine a partnership that included a mop and a scalpel, a doctor and a janitor. Unbelievable! But that is what Paul had in mind when he said, “We work together as partners who belong to (and bring glory to) God!” Who’s your partner?

Prayer: Father, May all our “partnerships” be formed with the simple purpose of pleasing You. May we join with others and work to honor You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: 1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Lost and Found

An explorer became lost in a dangerous part of an African jungle. His compass was of no use to him because he did not know where he was or which direction to travel. He became desperate and was filled with fear when a native appeared and offered to take him to his camp.
Hesitatingly, with no options, but hopeful, he asked, “Do you know the way?”
Confidently the native replied, “I am the way.”
People all around us are lost, seeking directions, and “looking for the way” for their lives. The world has many maps and GPS systems, but they offer no final destination that provides salvation, peace, and security. They are searching and seeking desperately, trying anything and everything, to discover a way out of their fear and hopelessness.
They need to hear the words of Jesus, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” In Him we have the directions we need for our life here and the life to come.
Prayer: Father, thank You for being “the Way” - our Savior and Guide. Help us to lead others to You, so they will know the Way, the Truth, and have life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Keep Alert!

Years ago LSU and Indiana were playing in the NCAA Regional finals. LSU was leading Indiana by eight points going into the last few minutes of the game.
Suddenly, LSU began playing a different type of game. They were trying to use the clock to their advantage. But it did not work out the way they planned. As they took their eyes off of the ball and watched the clock, Indiana stayed focused on the ball – not the clock - and won the game.

In the last hours of the life of Jesus, He asked three of His disciples to “stay awake and watch” as He prayed. But they fell asleep. When He returned and found them sleeping, He did not scold them. Instead, He warned them to “keep alert and pray!”

Temptations come to the Christian, as the disciples of Jesus - when least expected. Jesus wisely warned and advised His disciples to combine praying with alertness or they would not see temptation taking advantage of them. Nothing’s changed.

Prayer: Lord, please help us to be aware and alert to the subtlety of any and every temptation. May we always realize the power of Satan. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Matthew 26:41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

It's What's Inside That Counts

Paganini, one of the world’s most famous violinists, walked onto the stage before a large crowd. Just before he began playing, he looked at the violin he was holding and realized that it was not his. He was horrified, but it was too late for him to do anything about the violin. IT was time to begin!
After the concert, the critics and audience said it was the best concert of his entire career.

When questioned about using a violin that belonged to another person, he said, “Today I learned the most important lesson of my life. I once believed that the music was in the violin. Today I learned that it was in me.”

God has given each of us different abilities and gifts. They vary in name and number but not in value. They may be obvious to others or they may be seen only by Him. Our gifts come from God. What we do with them is our gift back to Him. We must realize that His gifts are within us and only come to life when we respond to the opportunities He gives us to develop them and serve Him – whatever they are and wherever we may be.

Prayer: Empower us, Lord to develop the gifts and abilities You have given us to serve others and bring honor and glory to You. May we be who we can be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Romans 12:6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

How Does Your Garden Grow?

During a lunchtime conversation, a friend said to Samuel Coleridge, the famous poet, “Children should be given a free rein to think and act at an early age, and to make their own decisions.”
“Interesting,” said Coleridge. “Come with me. Let’s visit my flower garden.”

Walking outdoors together they came to a plot of ground that was in complete disarray. They stopped and Coleridge pointed and said, “Look at that.”

“That’s nothing but a bed of weeds,” protested the guest.

“It was a rose garden,” said the poet. “But this year I just let it grow as it willed, and look what happened to it.”

Children, like gardens, need to be well cared for and nourished, given structure and attention. It is critical that parents accept their responsibility to God as well as their children and provide a nurturing and disciplined lifestyle where Christ is always present.

Prayer: We ask, Father, that You give Your insight, strength, and direction to parents as they raise their children to honor You. May You be their example. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

"Goodbye. We're Moving!"

The discussion at dinner centered on the family’s move to New York. That evening as she was saying her bedtime prayers with her mother, little Suzanne concluded them by saying, “Goodbye, Jesus. I guess we won’t be talking anymore. We are moving to New York and I’m not sure you can hear me from there.”
Our Heavenly Father is not confined to any city or church. He has no set hours or days off. We do not need an appointment, and He has no secretary to screen His calls. He’s always there when we need Him for anything and everything. In fact, it is almost beyond belief that we have direct and immediate access to the Creator of the Universe.

When He encourages us to “call upon me,” He concludes this invitation by saying that He will personally “answer us.” What a gracious and generous guarantee from a loving and faithful Heavenly Father. Wherever we are and whenever any need arises, He’s there waiting and listening for our call.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the promise that You listen, hear and will answer our prayers when we call for help. Increase our faith in Your promises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Jeremiah 33:3 Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Go On Or Give Up?

During the Olympics in Mexico City some years ago, a runner received a standing ovation – not for winning – but, of all things, for finishing last.
In the heat of the race, he tripped, fell and severely damaged one of his knees. He was in great pain and bleeding profusely. But he refused to give up and finally stumbled across the finish line.

“Why didn’t you quit?” asked a reporter.

“My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race,” he answered. “They sent me 7,000 miles to finish the race!”

What courage he displayed. Had he quit, everyone would have understood his problem and pain. Everyone except the runner. He knew what was important. He had a quality of character and a state of mind that enabled and empowered him to endure great suffering for the joy that would be his by completing the race.

When we face trying times, if we turn to and trust in the Lord, we can complete the race He has set before us. “Be courageous. Be strong,” said Paul. In other words – “Never give up. You are running a great race for the glory of God. Don’t give up!”

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to keep our eyes on You, our faith in You and find courage through You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: 1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Give Them A Push!

While a teenager, Jean Nidetch enjoyed walking through a park near her home. Day after day she saw children sitting in swings as mothers enjoyed themselves talking and laughing. While the mothers seemed to be enjoying one another, the children appeared to be neglected. One day she started to push them gently. Then she taught them how to pull on the ropes to set their swings in motion. Soon the children were able to swing on their own and enjoy themselves while their mothers visited.
It brought her much satisfaction to see the children having so much fun. It was from that experience that she found her role in life. She once said, “My role in life is giving others a push.” Ms. Nidetch went on to become the founder of Weight Watchers.

One day Andrew found his brother Peter and gave him a “push” toward the Lord. It took someone’s “push” for Peter to become a powerful leader. We must always look for opportunities to “push” people toward our Savior and Lord.

Prayer: Father, may we constantly look for ways to “give others a push” toward Jesus. May we constantly search for ways to bring people closer to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: John 1:34-43 Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”). 

Friday, November 8, 2019

From Failure To Fortune

Harlan Sanders had just turned forty. No matter what he tried, he failed. Nothing he did succeeded. He was discouraged and disheartened.
Then, one day someone said to him, “Life begins at forty!”

He decided to open a gas station. Shortly afterward, he added a luncheonette. People said that his chicken was tasteless. Rather than giving up on his tasteless chicken, he worked on new and different seasonings. One day he finally combined the right seasonings in the right amounts for his now-famous recipe and called it Harlan Sanders’ Fried Chicken. It soon brought him fame and fortune and the governor of Kentucky made him a “Kentucky Colonel.” It was the beginning of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Through his faith in God he turned failure into fortune and tragedy into triumph and gave God the credit for his success. Life began at forty for the Colonel because he worked hard and trusted God. Hard work, trusting God and being faithful to the Lord is a winning combination. Follow the formula daily. It works.

Prayer: 
Father, help us to realize that failing does not make us a failure, but our lack of faith will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Does Prayer Always Work?

An avid baseball fan was sitting next to a priest during a baseball game. Aware of the need to speak religiously, the fan did his best to speak of Godly things.
A player came to bat, and before stepping to the plate, bowed his head in prayer and made the sign of the cross. On the first pitch, he hit the ball over the bleachers and out of the park.
On his next trip to the plate, he followed the same routine: he bowed his head and made the sign of the cross. On the first pitch, he hit another home run. Amazed, the man turned to the priest and asked, “Does prayer always work like that?”
“It does,” said the priest, “if you can hit a home run every time you are at bat!”
We must always remember that God has given each of us unique skills, talents, and abilities. And, we must also remember that we are responsible to develop our gifts and reach our potential. Then, we must ask God to bless and use them to honor Him.
Prayer: May we always remember, Lord, that You did not give us our skills for self-centered reasons. They are ours to bless You first, then others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: James 2:17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Conquered Or Conqueror

George Mallory, a famous mountaineer and explorer from England, led two expeditions to conquer Mount Everest. Both times he failed to conquer the mountain. He refused to give up and was so committed to conquering the mountain that he recruited another team to accompany him on another expedition.
He studied his past efforts thoroughly and made extensive preparations, carefully planning every detail. Finally, he began his ascent. However, before he reached the top this time, an avalanche struck, killing him and most of his men.

One of the survivors was determined to honor Mallory. Looking at a picture of Mount Everest, he cried, and with tears in his eyes, shouted, “We shall defeat you someday because you can’t get any bigger and we can.”

When we feel defeated or destroyed by the tragedies and trials of life, the most important thing we can ever do is to face them honestly. Then carefully plan, take God at His word, and try again. With Paul, we can proclaim, “I can do all things through Christ!”

PrayerLord, may we labor in Your strength to meet and overcome every challenge we face. In You, with You, and through You, we will succeed! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Caring Means Sharing

A delivery boy was in a hurry to make his last stop before going home. In his haste, he stumbled and fell, breaking the two dozen eggs he had been carefully carrying. He sat on the curb near the customer’s home, crying.
A crowd gathered around him wanting to know if he had injured himself. Each of them was happy to learn that he was “ok” but saddened that he had broken the eggs. One gentleman reached into his pocket and gave him two quarters. Turning to the others he said, “I care fifty cents worth. How much do the rest of you care?”

John clearly confronted Christians when he said, “If you have enough money to live well and see someone in need, and refuse to help – how can God’s love be in you?”

And Paul also warned us that what we give and how we give is what we will one day receive for ourselves from our Father, in heaven. No matter what we say, it is always what we do, that matters most. If we care, we will share. Works, not words, are the true proof of our love. We must walk our talk.

Prayer: Lord, may we be grateful that when we give to others in Your name we are honoring You and blessing them. Help us to have gracious hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: 2 Corinthians 9:6 –Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 

Monday, November 4, 2019

Breakthrough

It was the first time she, JoAnn, had ever competed in the Special Olympics. She had trained hard but had no expectations of winning her race. But, she did win.

After the medal was placed around her neck, she ran to her parents and said, “Look mom and dad – I won! I won my race!” Tears fell from their eyes and ran down their cheeks.

Noticing their tears, the judge approached them and asked, “Aren’t you happy that your daughter won the race? Why are you crying?”

Wiping the tears from her eyes, JoAnn’s mother said, “Of course we are happy she won her race. But what brought tears to our eyes was the joy we had in hearing the first words she ever uttered.”

It is easy for Christians to do good works and kind deeds in the name of the Lord without mentioning His name. And that is good. But we must also willingly and without hesitation boldly tell others of His blessings in our lives and give Him the credit.

Prayer: Give us courage, Lord, to share Your message of love, hope, and salvation with the lost. Also, Father, give us courage praise Your blessings, too. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 107:2 Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. 

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Are You Ready For Christmas?

Hal and Matt, two longtime friends, accidentally met in a department store a few weeks before Christmas. They gave each other a forced smile – as if they were happy to see each other – but wished their meeting was under different circumstances.
“You know,” said Hal, “I’ve come to the conclusion that Christmas has become a wrap race.”

“I agree,” replied Matt. “And I’ll tell you something else. I've finally discovered the real meaning of the word Yule.”

“Oh,” responded Hal. “What is it? I'd like to know myself.”

“It’s my wife saying in a very convincing voice, ‘You’ll buy me this and then you’ll buy me that!’ I feel like I have no choice but to buy her whatever she asks for,” replied Matt. “Everything seems to be about things.”

It would be a wise investment of our time this Christmas to try to imagine what God might have seen when He looked into the manger. Certainly it was more, much more, than a Baby. Did He see the crowds ridiculing and mocking His Son? Did He turn His head when He saw the “kiss of betrayal” from Judas? Was His mind troubled by the trial that unjustly condemned His Son? Did He weep when He saw Jesus hanging from the cross? Certainly. But let’s not forget to see the smile that was on His face and the peace that flooded into His heart when He saw the empty tomb.

Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to get ready for Christmas by seeing its sights and sounds through Your eyes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” 

Avoiding The Truth

A gentleman was fascinated with an advertisement he read about a barometer. He thought he would be the envy of his neighbors to have such an instrument at his home. In his mind he imagined them coming to him for weather reports. So, he ordered one.

When it arrived, the needle was pointing to “Tornado.” In disbelief, he shook it, slapped it, then waved it from side to side. But the needle remained pointing toward the word “tornado.” In anger, he wrapped it up, took it to the post office, and mailed it back to the manufacturer, thinking, “They tried to cheat me!”

As he was returning home, he noticed that many trees were overturned with their roots in the air. Buildings were destroyed and power lines down. Damage and destruction were everywhere he looked. Finally, he turned onto the street where he lived and there, before his eyes, was his home. It had been completely destroyed. The barometer was right, he was wrong: a tornado had been approaching when he received his barometer.

Many of us fail to realize that there are serious consequences for each decision we make. Every choice does indeed, have its consequences. However, there is one choice that is more important than any other choice we will ever make: What will YOU do with Jesus?

Prayer: We thank You, Father, for Your salvation that can be ours through Christ. May we accept Your grace and accept Your salvation, now! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Anything For You, God?

As he was saying his morning prayers, little Ben surprised his parents by praying, “Good morning, God. What can I do for You today?”
Often our prayers are focused on what we want God to do for us rather than us asking God what He wants us to do for Him.

Could it be that we have shaped God into the image of a bellhop that we would find in a hotel? We dial a number, place an order, and then wait at the door for someone to appear with our requests on a tray. Do we see prayer as the ultimate in heavenly room service?

One day Paul heard a voice saying, “Get up and go…and you will be told what to do!”

Our Lord sees a world full of people who need His love and salvation, grace and hope. And He has given us, His disciples, the responsibility to bring those who need Him, to Him. When we pray, we must first be willing to “get up and go” to serve Him before we “dial and want” for what we want. Remember: God’s needs come before our wants.

Prayer: Lord, when we pray, let us first hear what You want from us and then make our requests known to You. May we always put Your priorities first. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Acts 9:6 Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do. 

Friday, November 1, 2019

All That And More?

It was the first Sunday for the new pastor in the little country church. His sermon was short, but his prayer was rather lengthy. After the service was over, two members got together to share their opinions of the new pastor.
“That preacher sure can pray,” said one.

“Yes, he can,” agreed the other. “He prayed for things that the last preacher didn’t know that the Lord knew anything about.”

Prayer involves responsibility and accountability. As God’s children, we are responsible to go to our heavenly Father in prayer and ask for what we need. As for God our heavenly Father, He is accountable to answer our prayers because we are His children. It is important, however, that we understand the child/heavenly Father relationship. Because we are God’s children, we are to go to Him any time and every time we have a need. We are to ask for anything and everything, whenever we have a need and wherever we happen to be, as long as the request is in agreement with His will and for our spiritual growth and wellbeing. All of life comes from God and all of our life is given to us to honor God. So, if what we ask will honor and glorify Him – the needs that we have that are in agreement with His Word, His will, and His way – we know He will grant.

Remember this: If it concerns us, it concerned Him first, and He will do whatever it takes on His part to honor His promises if we are faithful to Him in all our ways.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to rely completely upon You for everything we need, trusting in You always. May our heart’s desires agree with what honors You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Jeremiah 33:3 Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.