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  #591  
Old 04-08-2010, 12:59 AM
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Default Apr. 8

April 8, 2010

Clean Up The Environment

READ: Ephesians 4:17-32

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification. —Ephesians 4:29

What a frustrating problem pollution is! Everybody suffers with it, yet everybody contributes to it.

Pollution takes many forms, but one type is often overlooked. Charles Swindoll calls it “verbal pollution,” passed around by grumblers, complainers, and criticizers. “The poison of pessimism,” Swindoll writes, “creates an atmosphere of wholesale negativism where nothing but the bad side of everything is emphasized.”

A group of Christian friends became concerned about this form of pollution and their personal part in it. So they made a pact to avoid critical words for a whole week. They were surprised to find how little they spoke! As they continued the experiment, they actually had to relearn conversation skills.

In Ephesians 4, Paul called believers to that sort of decisive action. He said we are to “put off” the old self and its conduct that grieves the Holy Spirit (vv.22,30) and “put on” the new self that builds up others (v.24). As we rely on the help of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), we can make those changes in our conduct, our thinking, and our speaking.

If we want to be rid of verbal pollution, we must choose to change and ask for God’s help. It’s a great way to start cleaning up our spiritual environment. — Joanie Yoder

What! Never speak one evil word,
Or rash, or idle, or unkind!
O how shall I, most gracious Lord,
This mark of true perfection find? —Wesley

Help stamp out pollution—clean up your speech!
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  #592  
Old 04-09-2010, 02:59 AM
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Default Apr. 9

April 9, 2010

The Fear Of Falling

READ: Psalm 46

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. —Deuteronomy 33:27

Have you ever dreamed that you were falling out of bed or from some great height, and you awoke in fright? I remember that as a boy I would often be awakened by such a terrifying feeling.

I heard about a man who had this sensation as soon as he slipped into sleep. He was so rudely awakened by his sense of falling that he was afraid to go back to sleep. He feared he would die, and he imagined he was falling into a bottomless pit.

Then one evening as he was strolling through a cemetery, he saw this phrase engraved on a tombstone:

Underneath Are The Everlasting Arms

These words reminded him that when believers die, they are safely carried by the Lord to their home in heaven. He recalled the assurance of the psalmist, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me” (Ps. 23:4).

The once-fearful man realized that in life and in death— and even in sleep—the “everlasting arms” of our loving Lord are there to catch and hold us. That night he was able to sing what he was taught in childhood, “Teach me to live that I may dread the grave as little as my bed!” At last he could fall asleep without fear. — M.R. De Haan

I can trust my loving Savior
When I fear the world’s alarms;
There’s no safer place of resting
Than His everlasting arms. —Hess

You can trust God in the dark as well as in the light.
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  #593  
Old 04-10-2010, 02:48 AM
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Default Apr. 10

April 10, 2010

Gloating At The Enemy

READ: Obadiah 1:1-14

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls. —Proverbs 24:17

Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament. Yet hidden away in its brief record is a vital question that affects us all: How should we respond when we see an enemy experience misfortune?

The prophet Obadiah ministered during the time that the city of Jerusalem was under fierce attack by the armies of Babylon. The neighbors of Jerusalem, the Edomites, were actually cheering on the enemy armies to destroy and kill (Ps. 137:7-9). Ironically, these hurtful jeers were spoken by blood relatives of the Jews. They were descendants of Jacob, and the Edomites were descendants of Esau.

Obadiah condemned the Edomites for gloating: “You should not have gazed on the day of your brother in the day of his captivity; nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction” (Obad. 1:12).

If someone has repeatedly been hurtful to us, it is easy to give in to vindictive pleasure when they experience misfortune. But Scripture admonishes us, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles” (Prov. 24:17). Instead, we are to maintain an attitude of compassion and forgiveness, and trust God to bring justice in His time. — Dennis Fisher

For Further Thought How to handle people-problems (Romans 12): Be patient (v.12), bless persecutors (v.14), be humble (v.16), don’t take revenge (v.19), defeat evil with good (v.21).

Love for God can be measured by the love we show for our worst enemy.
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  #594  
Old 04-11-2010, 01:49 AM
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Default Apr. 11

April 11, 2010

A Memorial

READ: 1 Cor. 11:23-30

As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. —1 Corinthians 11:26

The Taj Mahal in India is a magnificent mausoleum. Built entirely of white marble, it was commissioned by the Emperor Shah Jehan in memory of his wife, who died suddenly. It took 22 years to complete. Millions of tourists visit this memorial annually in order to see this grand structure the emperor ordered to be built in memory of the woman he loved.

Millions of people also throng to Jerusalem to look at another site—a tomb that some say may have been where Jesus was buried. No matter what tomb He lay in, Jesus occupied it for only a few days. It has been empty for 2,000 years.

Jesus doesn’t need us to build a memorial to Him. Instead, He gave us the Lord’s Supper (communion) as a memorial to remember Him. On the night He was betrayed, Jesus took bread and the cup and gave thanks to His Father before offering them to His disciples (Luke 22:14-21). Each time we partake of those elements in church, we are first to examine ourselves and our relationship with God (1 Cor. 11:28). “As often as [we] eat this bread and drink this cup” we are to do so in remembrance of the One we love, till He comes (vv.25-26).

The Lord has given us an enduring memorial to remind us of what He has done for us. — C. P. Hia

I’ll take the bread and cup, dear Lord,
That speak of love sublime,
And give myself afresh to Thee.
My life, my all is Thine! —Anon.

The Lord’s Supper—Christ’s memorial that He left for us.
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  #595  
Old 04-11-2010, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by HardCory View Post
April 10, 2010

Gloating At The Enemy

READ: Obadiah 1:1-14
This chapter also seems to tell me that the United States (and other countries) should continue to support Israel over its enemies and that we need to be very careful about providing support for the muslem countries around Israel that seek to destroy it.
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  #596  
Old 04-12-2010, 01:34 AM
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Default Apr. 12

April 12, 2010

The Wrong Stuff

READ: John 14:1-6

There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. —Acts 4:12

It was a simple task, but I was in over my head. One of the items on the grocery list was soy. Problem was, I didn’t know what kind of soy my wife, Sue, had in mind when she made the list. After searching the aisles and asking the advice of a worker who was stacking soup cans, I grabbed a bottle of soy sauce, placed it in the cart, and went on my way.

Only after I unloaded my bags at home did I discover that Sue didn’t want soy sauce. She wanted soy milk for our granddaughter Eliana. I was sincere in my search. I even asked for help and confidently pulled my selection off the shelf. But it didn’t do me (or Eliana) any good. I had the wrong stuff.

Sadly, some people are walking through the grocery store of life with “heaven” on their list, but they are not getting what they need. Despite their sincerity and the intended help of others, they grab something that won’t get them to heaven because they find a “different gospel” (2 Cor. 11:4).

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). And Peter said, “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Trust Jesus. Don’t settle for the wrong gospel. — Dave Branon

Not all roads lead to God,
As many people claim;
There’s only one true way—
Christ Jesus is His name. —Sper

Christ is the only door into heaven.
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  #597  
Old 04-13-2010, 01:03 AM
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Default Apr. 13

April 13, 2010

He Never Sleeps

READ: Psalm 121

He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. —Psalm 121:3

Giraffes have the shortest sleep cycle of any mammal. They sleep only between 10 minutes and 2 hours in a 24-hour period and average just 1.9 hours of sleep per day. Seemingly always awake, the giraffe has nothing much in common with most humans in that regard. If we had so little sleep, it would probably mean we had some form of insomnia. But for giraffes, it’s not a sleep disorder that keeps them awake. It’s just the way God has made them.

If you think 1.9 hours a day is not much sleep, consider this fact about the Creator of our tall animal friends: Our heavenly Father never sleeps.

Describing God’s continual concern for us, the psalmist declares, “He who keeps you will not slumber” (Ps. 121:3). In the context of this psalm, the writer makes it clear that God’s sleepless vigilance is for our good. Verse 5 says, “The Lord is your keeper.” God keeps us, protects us, and cares for us—with no need for refreshing. Our Protector is constantly seeking our good. As one song puts it: “He never sleeps, He never slumbers. He watches me both night and day.”

Are you facing difficulties? Turn to the One who never sleeps. Each second of each day, let Him “preserve your going out and your coming in” (v.8). — Bill Crowder

The Rock of Ages stands secure,
He always will be there;
He watches over all His own
To calm their anxious care. —Keith

The One who upholds the universe will never let you down.
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  #598  
Old 04-14-2010, 03:28 AM
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Default Apr. 14

April 14, 2010

Unseen Workers

READ: Romans 12:1-10

We have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function. —Romans 12:4

As I was giving myself a manicure, I started feeling sorry for my right hand. It does the most work, but my left hand gets the most attention. My right hand applies nail polish smoothly to my left-hand nails, but my left hand, lacking skill and coordination, does not return the favor. The polish on my right hand is always smeared and messy. One hand does the better work, but the other hand gets all the attention and honor.

As I worked on my fingernails, my thoughts turned toward something much more important—the people in my church, many of whom are highly skilled at tasks that make others look good. These hardworking folks, however, seldom get noticed, because their work puts the attention on someone else. It seems unfair that those who do such good work get little appreciation.

Truly servant-minded believers, though, don’t see it that way. They give preference to others (Rom. 12:10) because they know that God sees what others do not—and that He will reward those whose work is unseen by others (Matt. 6:4,6,18; 1 Cor. 12:24).

Is someone else reaping the benefit of your hard work? Be encouraged. God rewards those who work “invisibly” to make Christ visible to the world. — Julie Ackerman Link

The service that we do for God
May go unpraised by men;
But when we stand before the Lord,
He will reward us then. —Sper

No service for Christ goes unnoticed by Him.
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  #599  
Old 04-15-2010, 01:26 AM
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Default Apr. 15

April 15, 2010

Agents Of Change

READ: 2 Timothy 2:19-26

If anyone cleanses himself . . . , he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. —2 Timothy 2:21

With 4 years of seminary under my belt, I walked into my first ministry with a long agenda. As a new pastor, I thought I was there to change that place. Instead, God used that place to change me.

The board members were supportive, but they relentlessly kept my feet to the fire in administrative details. I needed to learn how to work with lay leadership, how to be careful in my work, and how to dream with others.

We often think God has assigned us to change the world around us when in reality He is interested in changing us. Why? To make each of us “a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21). God often uses the most unlikely people in the most unlikely places to teach us some of life’s most difficult lessons. And just when we think we’ve arrived, He is instructing us further.

Not long ago I entered a new season of ministry. I may be a “seasoned veteran,” but I’m still learning, still growing, and still amazed at how God continues to shape this vessel for His noble purposes.

If you want to be an agent of change, don’t resist the true Agent of Change. He has your best interest—and His—at heart! — Joe Stowell

What changes we would love to make
In others’ lives, for Jesus’ sake!
But first we must learn at His feet
The things that will make us complete. —Branon

Only when we are changed can we be agents of change.
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  #600  
Old 04-16-2010, 02:59 AM
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Default Apr. 16

April 16, 2010

The Treasure And The Pots

READ: 2 Corinthians 4:1-11

We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. —2 Corinthians 4:7

It has been said that the Roman Empire ran on olive oil. It was used in cooking, bathing, medicine, ceremonies, lamps, and cosmetics. For decades, olive oil from southern Spain was shipped to Rome in large clay jugs called amphorae. Those jugs, not worth sending back, were discarded in a growing heap of broken shards known as Monte Testaccio. The fragments of an estimated 25 million amphorae created that man-made hill, which stands today on the bank of the Tiber River in Rome. In the ancient world, the value of those pots was not their beauty but their contents.

Because of this, the first-century followers of Christ would have clearly understood Paul’s illustration of the life of Jesus in every believer. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Cor. 4:7).

Our bodies, like amphorae, are temporary, fragile, and expendable. In our modern world that highly values outward beauty, we would be wise to remember that our greatest treasure is the life of Jesus within us. By God’s grace and power, may we live so that others can see Christ in us.

We are just the clay pots. Jesus is the true treasure within us. — David C. McCasland

Although my outward shell decays,
I’m inwardly renewed each day,
Because the life and power of Christ
Indwells this fragile jar of clay. —Sper

Christ is seen most clearly when we remain in the background.
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