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  #1541  
Old 10-29-2012, 04:29 AM
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Default Oct. 29

Making A Difference

October 29, 2012

Read: Matthew 9:27-38

[Jesus] was moved with compassion for them. —Matthew 9:36

Elizabeth’s story was moving, to say the least. Following a terribly humiliating experience in Massachusetts, she caught a bus to New Jersey to escape her embarrassment. Weeping uncontrollably, she hardly noticed that the bus had made a stop along the way. A passenger sitting behind her, a total stranger, began making his way off the bus when he suddenly stopped, turned, and walked back to Elizabeth. He saw her tears and handed her his Bible, saying that he thought she might need it. He was right. But not only did she need the Bible, she needed the Christ it speaks of. Elizabeth received Him as a result of this simple act of compassion by a stranger who gave a gift. Jesus is our example of compassion. In Matthew 9, we read, “When He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (v.36). Not only did our Lord notice the pain and hurt of broken people, He responded to it by challenging His followers to pray for the Father to send out workers to respond to the hurts and needs of this dying world (v.38). As we follow Christ’s example, a heart of compassion for shepherdless people can compel us to make a difference in the lives of others.

Father, open my eyes to see the hurts and struggles of others. Then open my heart to respond to them, so that through me they may see You and Your love. Amen.

A world in despair needs Christians who care.
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  #1542  
Old 10-30-2012, 04:53 AM
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Default Oct. 30

Stand Fast

October 30, 2012

Read: 1 Kings 11:1-13

Shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life. —Philippians 2:15-16

As I waited to make a right-hand turn at a busy intersection, an ambulance appeared over the crest of a hill, speeding in my direction. Someone behind me honked, urging me into the crossroads. I knew the ambulance would be unlikely to stop and that it could have been disastrous to make my turn. So I kept my foot on the brake pedal and stayed put. Spiritually speaking, we need to “stay put” and remain faithful to God despite pressure from others. King Solomon had to learn this the hard way. He began his reign by asking God for wisdom (1 Kings 3:9), and his prayer at the dedication of the temple revealed his loyalty (8:23,61). But he did not remain committed. He married many foreign women who eventually influenced him to worship other gods. By the end of his life, his “heart was not loyal to the LORD” (11:1-6; Neh. 13:26). Today, just as in ancient times, people may prompt us to shift our loyalty away from God and His truth. Yet with God’s help we can hold fast to the word of life (Phil. 2:16). If you feel pressured to enter a dangerous intersection of beliefs, study God’s Word, put on His armor (Eph. 6:10-18), and ask the Holy Spirit for help (1 Cor. 2:10-12). Then stand fast with your fellow believers in Christ.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Stand in His strength alone; The arm of flesh will fail you—Ye dare not trust your own. —Duffield

To avoid being pulled into error, keep a firm grip on the truth.
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  #1543  
Old 10-31-2012, 12:50 PM
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Default Oct. 31

Something To Hide

October 31, 2012

If you have something to hide, Mike Slattery may have the solution. Several years ago, a cell-phone company wanted to erect an antenna on his property and disguise it as a pine tree. Mike had a better idea and built a fake barn with vinyl panels that allow the radio waves to pass through them. He developed that concept into a company that builds structures to hide antennas for aesthetic and security reasons. Slattery is convinced that many of his neighbors still have no idea what’s inside his barn (The Gazette, Colorado Springs).

Most of us are trying to keep something out of sight. It may be as harmless as clutter in a basement or as toxic as the moral and spiritual failings we try to hide from others, ourselves, and even from God.

In Psalm 32, David described the futility of trying to conceal his sin (vv.3-4) and the relief of opening his soul to the Lord: “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (v.5).

Confessing our sins to God and forsaking them brings a sense of freedom to our souls and the awareness that we have nothing to hide.

Lord Jesus, help me come to You When I would rather run and hide My sinfulness and foolish ways; Forgive and make me clean inside. —Sper

Whenever we’re ready to uncover our sins, God is ready to cover them.
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  #1544  
Old 11-01-2012, 11:11 AM
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Default Nov. 1

Forsaken?

November 1, 2012

Read: Psalm 22:1-8,19-26

Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever! —Psalm 22:26

Do you know which psalm is quoted most often in the New Testament? You may have guessed the familiar and beloved 23rd Psalm, but actually it is Psalm 22. This psalm begins with David’s poignant, heart-breaking words that were quoted by Jesus on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34). Imagine the situation David must have found himself in that caused him to cry out to God in this way. Notice that he felt forsaken and abandoned: “Why are You so far from helping me?” (Ps. 22:1). He also felt ignored: “O my God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear” (v.2). Ever been there? Have you ever looked up into the heavens and wondered why it seemed that God had abandoned you, or was ignoring you? Welcome to David’s world. But for every plaintive cry David expresses, there is a characteristic of God mentioned that rescues him from despondency. Through it all, David discovers that God is holy (v.3), trustworthy (vv.4-5), a deliverer and rescuer (vv.8,20-21), and his strength (v.19). Do you feel forsaken? Seek the Lord. Rehearse His character. And “let your heart rejoice with everlasting joy” (v.26 NLT).

Lord, sometimes I feel as if You don’t care about my life. When those times come, please remind me of Your character as You did David. Help me to lean on You again and know that You are there.

Even when we don’t sense God’s presence, His loving care is all around us.
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  #1545  
Old 11-08-2012, 03:13 PM
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Default Nov. 8

The Legacy

November 8, 2012

Read: Colossians3:8-17

Holyand beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering. —Colossians 3:12


One day my wife called me at work and said, “Something’s going on next door. Lots of cars are there.” Because of my neighbor’s occupation, I feared the worst, and soon those fears were realized. Our neighbor, policeman Trevor Slot, had just been killed in the line of duty, trying to stop the escape of two bank robbers. Our community was stunned. Trevor had no time to prepare for his death. Yet he was ready. His faith in Christ was secure, and his reputation as a remarkable man was intact. At his funeral, attended by hundreds of fellow officers, his colleague Detective Brandyn Heugel said, “He was a dedicated police officer, but first and foremost he was a loving husband to Kim and a doting father to Kaitlyn and Abbie.” Indeed the theme of Trevor’s tributes all centered on his great personality and his love and care for his family. Trevor’s life exemplified the words of Colossians 3:12-13, “Put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another.” Those traits leave an inspiring legacy. We don’t know when God will call us home, but we do know this: Each day is an opportunity to leave a testimony worthy of our faith.

Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful; May the fire of our devotion light their way; May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe, And the lives we live inspire them to obey. —Mohr

Each day we add to our legacy—good or bad.
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  #1546  
Old 11-14-2012, 04:29 PM
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Default Nov. 14

Nowhere To Hide

November 14, 2012

Read: Genesis 3:6-13,22-24

To Him who loved usand washed us from our sins in His own blood. —Revelation 1:5

I smelled something burning, so I hurried to the kitchen. Nothing was on the stove or in the oven. I followed my nose through the house. From room to room I went, eventually ending up downstairs. My nose led me to my office and then to my desk. I peeked beneath it and there, peering back at me with big eyes pleading for help, was Maggie, our dog, our very “fragrant” dog. What smelled like something burning when I was upstairs, now had the distinct odor of skunk. Maggie had gone to the farthest corner of our house to escape the foul smell, but she couldn’t get away from herself. Maggie’s dilemma brought to mind the many times I have tried to run away from unpleasant circumstances only to discover that the problem was not the situation I was in but me. Since Adam and Eve hid after sinning (Gen. 3:8), we’ve all followed their example. We run away from situations thinking we can escape the unpleasantness—only to discover that the unpleasantness is us. The only way to escape ourselves is to stop hiding, acknowledge our waywardness, and let Jesus wash us clean (Rev. 1:5). I am grateful that when we do sin, Jesus is willing to give us a brand-new start.

From the wondrous cross on Calvary Flows the stream that still avails, Cleansing hearts and bringing victory Through that love which never fails. —Elliott

Sin’s contamination requires the Savior’s cleansing.
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  #1547  
Old 11-15-2012, 02:36 PM
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Default Nov. 15

God’s Description

November 15, 2012

Read: Exodus 34:1-8

The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious. —Exodus 34:6

The prayers of young children show us what they think of God. Here are two I read recently: “Dear God, what does it mean that You are a ‘jealous’ God? I thought You had everything.” “I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset You made on Tuesday. That was cool.” These children are right to think of God as the owner and creator of everything, the One who can paint beautiful sunsets. But how does God describe Himself? Moses needed an answer to that question when he was about to lead the Israelites into the wilderness. He wanted to be assured of God’s presence and leading, so he asked Him to reveal Himself (Ex. 33:13,18). In response, God came down in a cloud and said: “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, . . . by no means clearing the guilty” (34:5-7). He is good; He is just. We too can know this God and be assured of His presence. He has revealed Himself in His creation and in His Word. As we ask Him to make Himself known to us, we’ll learn that He is even more than the owner and creator of everything!

Sing praise to God who reigns above, The God of all creation, The God of power, the God of love, The God of our salvation. —Schutz

In a world of superlatives, God is the greatest.
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  #1548  
Old 11-16-2012, 04:48 PM
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Default Nov. 16

Each Day

November 16, 2012

Read: Matthew 6:5-15

Give us thisday our dailybread. —Matthew 6:11

In 1924, a boy named Johnny, who loved to play basketball, completed the eighth grade in a small rural school. His father, rich in love but short on money for a graduation gift, gave Johnny a card on which he had written his own 7-point creed, which he encouraged his son to start following daily. Three of the points were: Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible. Make each day your masterpiece. Pray for guidance, and give thanks for your blessings every day. Jesus, in what we often call the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13), taught us to approach our heavenly Father each day; it’s not something to be said once and forgotten. Through it we offer God praise (v.9); seek His kingdom and His will (v.10); trust His provision (v.11); and ask for His forgiveness, power, and deliverance (vv.12-13). Throughout his life, Johnny sought the Lord’s strength to live each day for Him. He became a three-time All-American basketball player at Purdue University and one of the greatest college coaches of all time. When Coach John Wooden died at the age of 99, he was honored most of all for his character, his faith, and the many lives he touched. By God’s grace, may we make each day our masterpiece for Him.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing and privilege of being able to drink deeply from Your Word. Give me guidance as I seek You. I want to know You and to have my life bring a smile to Your face.

Commitment to Christ is a daily calling.
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  #1549  
Old 11-17-2012, 04:34 PM
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Default Nov. 17

Eye In The Sky

November 17, 2012

Read: Psalm 139:1-10

The LORD will guide you continually. —Isaiah 58:11

Creating a system by which an “eye in the sky” can help guide cars and planes and boats all the time is complicated. For instance, the Global Positioning System (GPS) that most people are familiar with works because there are always 24 to 32 satellites orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 12,500 miles. These satellites must maintain a constant speed and altitude if the guidance they provide is to be accurate. Today’s complicated GPS is just a tiny analogy of what God can do. God promised the nation of Israel: “The LORD will guide you continually” (Isa. 58:11). The psalmist was aware that there was no place he could go without God knowing where he was (Ps. 139:7-8). Long before GPS, God sat “above the circle of the earth” (Isa. 40:22) and saw everything. The knowledge that there is someone who tracks you wherever you are can bring fear to those who are trying to get away. But for the Christian, this brings great joy and assurance. No matter where he was, the psalmist was confident that God’s hand would lead him (Ps. 139:10). God has promised to guide and lead you today. He’s the best Guide you could have, and He wants to lead you along the right paths.

We need God’s guidance from above; And as we trust Him for direction, His daily leading and His love, He’ll give to us His full protection. —Fitzhugh

To avoid going wrong, follow God’s leading.
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  #1550  
Old 11-19-2012, 03:25 PM
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Default Nov. 19

Falling Short

November 19, 2012

Read: Romans 3:19-28

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. —Romans 3:23


One of the fads of 1970s America was the motorcycle jump. This trend reached its high (and low) point on September 8, 1974. Thousands of spectators gathered around the Snake River Canyon in Idaho to see if Evel Knievel could jump across the chasm in a specially designed “sky cycle.” In the end, however, it was unsuccessful. Knievel made it only part of the way across the gulf before his parachute deployed and he dropped to the canyon floor below. Some spectators asked, “How far across the canyon did he get?” But that wasn’t the point. He didn’t make it all the way across, so he fell short of his goal. This scene is a good illustration of sin. The Bible talks about sin in Romans 3:23, where Paul declared, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No one is capable of bridging the gap between God and ourselves by our own efforts, but the Savior came to do just that on our behalf. Christ perfectly fulfilled God’s standards, then gave His life on the cross to pay for our failure and wrongdoing. Where we could only fall short, Christ’s work, offered in love, accomplished all that was needed. Our response is to trust Him and receive this matchless gift of salvation.

There is no other name on earth By whom salvation’s given Save Jesus Christ the Lamb of God, God’s precious gift from heaven. —Stairs

The cross of Christ bridges the gap we could never cross on our own.
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