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  #501  
Old 01-16-2010, 02:23 AM
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Default Jan. 17

January 17, 2010

Respect For Life

READ: Psalm 139:13-16

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. —Psalm 139:14

In Psalm 139, David describes God as fashioning his tiny body together in the darkness of his mother’s womb. God loved David before he ever existed.

God designed the person David was to be, and He brought that person into being according to His predetermined plan. In this psalm, David used the intriguing metaphor of a journal in which God first wrote His plan and then brought that plan into fruition through His handiwork in the womb: “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written” (v.16).

Put another way, David was shaped by his heavenly Father’s love into a unique creation. He came from the inventive heart and hand of God. What was true of David is true of you. You are special—along with everyone else in the world.

This being true, we must be pro-life in the purest sense of the word. We are to respect and cherish all human life: the born and those still in the womb; winsome children and weary seniors; the wealthy executive and the financially destitute. All persons are unique productions of our Creator’s genius. With David, let’s exclaim: “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (139:14). — David H. Roper

By God’s wise designing
We are wonderfully made,
Every part essential
And in perfect balance laid. —Anon.
All life is created by God and bears His autograph.

All life is created by God and bears His autograph.
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  #502  
Old 01-16-2010, 02:24 AM
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I'll be out of town wrestling Sat and Sunday so I posted both tonight.
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  #503  
Old 01-19-2010, 12:07 AM
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Default Jan. 18

January 18, 2010

It Is My Business

READ: Leviticus 19:11-18

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge . . . , but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. —Leviticus 19:18

In 1955, when the South was still highly segregated, Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago, visited relatives in Mississippi. After Emmett “dared” to talk to a white woman, two white men brutally murdered him. An all-white, male jury found the two “not guilty”—after deliberating for barely an hour. The two men later confessed to the crime in a Life magazine article.

Following the verdict, Emmett’s mother said, “Two months ago I had a nice apartment in Chicago. I had a good job. I had a son. When something happened to Negroes in the South, I said, ‘That’s their business, not mine.’ Now I know how wrong I was. The murder of my son has shown me that what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of us all.”

Making another’s concerns our own is what Leviticus 19:18 calls us to do: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus quotes this verse and interprets it as not placing any limitations on loving those around us (Matt. 22:39; Luke 10:25-37). Our neighbor doesn’t just mean someone close by; it’s anyone who has a need. We are to care for others as we care for ourselves.

To love our neighbor means to make the persecution, suffering, and injustice of our fellow human beings our own. It is the business of all who follow Christ. — Marvin Williams

For Further Thought
How can we be a good neighbor? Be respectful to all. Lend a hand. Volunteer. Join a neighborhood association. Speak up when others are treated unjustly.

Compassion puts love into action.
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  #504  
Old 01-19-2010, 12:08 AM
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Default Jan. 19

January 19, 2010

Never Satisfied But Always Content

READ: Philippians 3:7-14

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 3:14

Tiger Woods is clearly the greatest golfer of his generation. His ability to perform under pressure and win is becoming legendary. Yet what motivates Woods is not just winning, it’s his passion for excellence. Despite his great success, Tiger has repeatedly refined his swing in an ongoing effort to improve his game and be a better golfer. His desire for excellence leaves him never satisfied.

The apostle Paul was also driven by a desire for excellence—but in his relationship with Christ. Paul, however, taught that we’re to have balance. While we’re never to be satisfied with our spiritual progress, we’re always to be content in Christ.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul expressed both realities. While writing from prison, he declared his contentment with life’s circumstances, entrusting them to God’s care (Phil. 4:11). Nevertheless, he refused to be satisfied with his own spiritual progress. He did not count himself to have “apprehended” (to have arrived and achieved it all). Instead, he was committed to pressing on toward the goal (3:13-14).

Learning to balance contentment with a desire for excellence may be the forgotten key to our ongoing spiritual growth and advancement. — Bill Crowder

I give my life to You, O Lord,
To follow and obey;
Grant me contentment as I strive
For excellence each day. —Sper

Godliness with contentment is great gain. —1 Timothy 6:6
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  #505  
Old 01-20-2010, 02:50 AM
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January 20, 2010

Redirected

READ: Genesis 39:1-10

The Lord was with Joseph. —Genesis 39:2

At the age of 16, pianist Leon Fleisher made his formal debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic. He went on to win prestigious international competitions and played in the world’s finest concert halls. But at the age of 37, Fleisher was struck with dystonia, a neurological condition that crippled his right hand. After a period of despondency and withdrawal, he turned to teaching and conducting, because, as he said, he loved music more than he loved the piano.

When our dreams are shattered, how do we react? After Joseph, the favored son of Jacob, was sold as a slave by his brothers (Gen. 37:12-36), he could have given in to self-pity and self-indulgence. Instead, Joseph remained true to the Lord. Four times in Genesis 39, we read that “the Lord was with” Joseph (vv.2-3,21,23), and his actions revealed his own faithfulness to God. By his exemplary life, those he served in Egypt recognized God’s presence with him.

Do we love God more than our own dreams? Although Joseph must have grieved the loss of his past and what his life could have been, the Lord led him to a calling he had never imagined. Today, the Lord longs to lead us. Are we willing to be redirected by Him? — David C. McCasland

My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away;
But still I’ll trust my Lord to lead,
For He doth know the way. —Overton

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. —Proverbs 16:9
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  #506  
Old 01-21-2010, 02:07 AM
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January 21, 2010

A Mutual Friend

READ: John 15:9-17

I have called you friends. —John 15:15

Imagine being a visitor in a foreign land, showing up unannounced at a gathering of people you have never met and who have never heard of you—and then being allowed to address that group just a few minutes later. That can happen only if something breaks down barriers— something like mutual friends.

It happened when I took a missions team to a church service in Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Before we left the US, my friend Dorant Brown, a Jamaican pastor, recommended a church to attend. So when we arrived at the church, and I mentioned Pastor Brown, we were not only welcomed, but I was also asked to speak briefly and our team was asked to sing.

While sharing Dorant’s name was vital, I really don’t think it was that mutual friend who got us such a warm welcome. I think it was our shared Friend and Savior Jesus who opened our Jamaican friends’ hearts to our visit.

Have you experienced a connection with someone you just met when you tell them you too know Jesus? He’s a friend who laid down His life for us (John 15:13), and He makes brothers and sisters of all who believe (1 Peter 2:17).

Jesus. Our Savior. Our mutual Friend. He joins hearts around the world under the banner of His love. — Dave Branon

Join hands, then, brothers of the faith,
Whate’er your race may be;
Who serves my Father as a son
Is surely kin to me. —Oxenham

Those who are drawn to Christ are drawn to each other.
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  #507  
Old 01-21-2010, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HardCory View Post

Tiger Woods is clearly the greatest golfer of his generation. His ability to perform under pressure and win is becoming legendary. Yet what motivates Woods is not just winning, it’s his passion for excellence.
I'd argue there was a passion for something else as well.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. But maybe it's a good time to point out that I'm a sinner too.
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With God's help...Mens sana in corpore sano
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  #508  
Old 01-22-2010, 02:10 AM
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January 22, 2010

Neighborly Love

READ: Luke 10:29-37

You shall love the Lord your God . . . and your neighbor as yourself. —Luke 10:27

It would have been simpler just to buy a new hair dryer. But determined to save a buck, I decided to fix it myself. In order to loosen the screw that was buried deep in the handle, I took out the ultimate handyman’s helper—my pocket knife. As I put pressure on the knife to turn the screw, the blade folded back—on my finger.

I learned a lesson that day: I love myself. And I am urgent about meeting my needs. There was no thought of, “Well, I don’t really have time to stop the bleeding now. I’ll get to it later.” Also, there was a tenderness about how the need was met. I instructed my first-aid team (my wife and kids) to wash my finger gently and then to put the bandage on in a way that would avoid having the hairs on my finger pulled up when it was removed. My thoughts, words, and actions were driven by my love for myself.

To love “your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27) requires the same urgent kind of love. It’s a love that notices the need of another person and won’t rest until it’s been met. It’s a gentle, tender love that thinks and acts carefully. It’s the sacrificial and compassionate love that a nameless Samaritan had for a fallen traveler. It’s the kind of love God wants to share with your neighbors through you. — Joe Stowell

Lord, help me see the heartfelt needs
Of those within my care,
And grant that through my words and deeds
Your love with them I’ll share. —D. De Haan

You cannot touch your neighbor’s heart with anything less than your own.
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  #509  
Old 01-23-2010, 03:32 AM
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January 23, 2010

Giving Up?

READ: 1 Kings 19:11-18

I alone am left; and they seek to take my life. —1 Kings 19:10

Have you ever felt like giving up? Elijah did. The Lord had just used him to show the nation of Israel that the Lord is God (1 Kings 18). Yet, the threats of Queen Jezebel so alarmed him that he ran to Beersheba, 100 miles south (19:3). Then he walked another 150 miles south to Horeb, the mountain of God.

Twice God asked Elijah what he was doing there (vv.9,13). Both times he answered with identical words—“I alone am left; and they seek to take my life” (vv.10,14). He had become so preoccupied with his own fears that he had forgotten what God had done through him at Mount Carmel. Despite his great victory, Elijah plunged into the depths of discouragement. How easy it is for us to do the same.

God did not accept Elijah’s notice that he was quitting. Instead, He commissioned his tired servant to handle three major tasks (vv.15-17). And by the way, Elijah was wrong when he said he was the only faithful one left. God had 7,000 others who had not bowed to Baal (v.18).

Perhaps, like Elijah, you are despairing at the circumstances in your life. Let God speak to you (v.12). Instead of allowing you to quit, He will show you what you can do through His strength. — C. P. Hia

Our strength and hope is in the Lord—
We rest secure in His sure Word;
And though we’re tempted to despair
We know we’re kept within His care. —D. De Haan

When you’re working for Jesus, it’s always too soon to quit.
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  #510  
Old 01-24-2010, 04:42 AM
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January 24, 2010

A Powerful Word

READ: Hebrews 4:12-13

The Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. —Hebrews 4:12

When a teenager named Poh Fang learned about Jesus’ love for her and received Him as her Savior, her parents weren’t sure about the merits of Christianity. So they sent her older sister with her to church to keep an eye on her. But something happened that they didn’t expect. The powerful Word of God penetrated the heart of the older sister, and she accepted Jesus as her Savior as well.

The psalmist said of the Word of God, “Your precepts . . . have given me life” (Ps. 119:93). That’s the testimony of Poh Fang and her sister and of all who know Christ as Savior. His Word is “powerful . . . and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

God’s Word shows us our sin and its consequences: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23); “the wages of sin is death” (6:23). It tells us of God’s love and salvation: “God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, . . . made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Eph. 2:4-5). And it gives wisdom for daily living: “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105).

Thank You, Lord, for Your powerful Word, which gives us life and direction for daily living. — Anne Cetas

The Bible stands like a rock undaunted
’Mid the raging storms of time;
Its pages burn with the truth eternal,
And they glow with a light sublime. —Lillenas

Many books inform, but only one transforms— the Bible.
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