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  #1051  
Old 06-25-2011, 03:35 PM
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Default Jun. 25

Recalculating

June 25, 2011

Read: 2 Timothy 3:10-17

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. —2 Timothy 3:16

On a road trip with a friend, we used his GPS navigation device to guide us as we drove each day. After entering our destination on the screen, a voice told us which road to follow, as well as when and where to make each turn. When we left the route, whether accidentally or deliberately, the voice would say, “Recalculating.” Then it would tell us how to get back on the right road.
Second Timothy 3:16 describes the Bible as a spiritual navigation system for our journey through life. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Doctrine tells us which road to travel; reproof tells us when we are off the road; correction tells us how to get back on; instruction in righteousness tells us how to stay on God’s road.
The mistakes and choices that detour us from the Lord are not to be taken lightly. But failure is seldom fatal and few decisions are final. The moment we veer off on our own, the Holy Spirit is “recalculating” and urging us to return to the Father’s way.
If we’ve drifted off course, there’s no better time than right now to heed God’s voice and return to His road.


We need God’s guidance from above,
His daily leading and His love;
As we trust Him for direction,
To our course He’ll give correction. —Fitzhugh


To stay on course, trust the compass of God’s Word.
__________________
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #1052  
Old 06-26-2011, 04:38 AM
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Default Jun. 26

Rest Into It

June 26, 2011

Read: Romans 8:31-39

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. —Matthew 11:28

The most enjoyable part of the stretch-and-flex exercise class I attend is the last 5 minutes. That’s when we lie flat on our backs on our mats with the lights down low for relaxation. During one of those times, our instructor said softly, “Find a place where you can rest into.” I thought of the best place to “rest into” mentioned in the words of a hymn by Cleland B. McAfee, “Near to the Heart of God.”
There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.
O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God.
This hymn was written in 1901 after the death of McAfee’s two nieces from diphtheria. His church choir sang it outside the quarantined home of his brother, offering words of hope about God’s heart of care.
The apostle Paul tells us that God has a heart of love for us (Rom. 8:31-39). Nothing—tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, death, life, angels, principalities, powers, height, nor depth—is able to separate us from the enduring love of our Lord. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (v.31).
Whatever our stresses or concerns, the heart of God is the place to “rest into.” Leave it all with Him, “for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

*
*
*
*
When you’re weary in life’s struggles, find your rest in the Lord.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #1053  
Old 06-27-2011, 03:27 AM
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Default Jun. 27

What Are You Known For?

June 27, 2011

Read: Philippians 2:25-30

Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier. —Philippians 2:25

In the Roman Empire, pagans would often call on the name of a god or goddess as they placed bets in a game of chance. A favorite deity of the gambler was Aphrodite, the Greek word for Venus, the goddess of love. During the roll of the dice, they would say “epaphroditus!” literally, “by Aphrodite!”
In the book of Philippians we read of a Greek convert to the Christian faith by the name of Epaphroditus. He was a close companion of Paul who served him well in his missionary enterprise. Of his friend, Paul wrote: “Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier” (Phil. 2:25).
Epaphroditus was a spiritual brother in Christ, a faithful worker who shared ministry efforts, a brave soldier of the faith, and the carrier of the inspired letter to the church at Philippi. He modeled brotherhood, a work ethic, spiritual endurance, and service. Certainly, Epaphroditus had a well-deserved reputation that showed he did not live by a pagan deity but by faith in Jesus Christ.
Even more important than our name are the Christian qualities that are seen in our life: dependability, care, encouragement, and wisdom. What words would you like others to use to describe you?

*
O Lord, You see what’s in my heart—
There’s nothing hid from You;
So help me live the kind of life
That’s loving, kind, and true. —D. De Haan
*
*
If we take care of our character,
our reputation will take care of itself!
*
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #1054  
Old 06-28-2011, 02:51 PM
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Default Jun. 28

Looking Ahead

June 28, 2011

Read: Hebrews 11:23-31

Moses . . . refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction. —Hebrews 11:24-25

During the Cold War (1947–1991), a time of tension between the world’s superpowers, Albert Einstein said, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” It was a moment of clarity that focused on the consequences of the choice to fight a nuclear war. Regardless of the motives for making such a choice, the results would be devastating.
Unfortunately, we don’t always see ahead with such clarity. Sometimes the implications of our choices are hard to anticipate. And sometimes we are thinking only in the moment.
According to Hebrews 11:24-26, Moses looked ahead and made a choice based on possible consequences. “By faith Moses, when he became of age, . . . [chose] rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.”
Moses’ choice wasn’t easy, but its rightness was made clear because he knew that the troubles he faced for godly living were made bearable by his coming reward. As we look ahead, are we willing to bear “the reproach of Christ”—the tough times that come with being associated with Jesus—in exchange for the promised reward of pleasing God?


Press on in your service for Jesus,
Spurred on by your love for the Lord;
He promised that if you are faithful,
One day you’ll receive your reward. —Fasick


If we depend on Christ for everything, we can endure anything.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #1055  
Old 06-29-2011, 03:39 AM
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Default Jun. 29

No Hope But God

June 29, 2011

Read: Romans 5:1-5

But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. —Romans 8:25

In his book Through the Valley of the Kwai, Scottish officer Ernest Gordon wrote of his years as a prisoner of war during World War II. The 6′ 2″ man suffered from malaria, diphtheria, typhoid, beriberi, dysentery, and jungle ulcers, and the hard labor and scarcity of food quickly plunged his weight to less than 100 pounds.
The squalor of the prison hospital prompted a desperate Ernest to request to be moved to a cleaner place—the morgue. Lying in the dirt of the death house, he waited to die. But every day, a fellow prisoner came to wash his wounds and to encourage him to eat part of his own rations. As the quiet and unassuming Dusty Miller nursed Ernest back to health, he talked with the agnostic Scotsman of his own strong faith in God and showed him that—even in the midst of suffering—there is hope.
The hope we read about in Scripture is not a vague, wishy-washy optimism. Instead, biblical hope is a strong and confident expectation that what God has promised in His Word He will accomplish. Tribulation is often the catalyst that produces perseverance, character, and finally, hope (Rom. 5:3-4).
Seventy years ago, in a brutal POW camp, Ernest Gordon learned this truth himself and said, “Faith thrives when there is no hope but God” (see Rom. 8:24-25).

*
Faith looks beyond this transient life
With hope for all eternity—
Not with some vague and wistful hope,
But with firm trust and certainty. —D. De Haan
*
*
Christ, the Rock, is our sure hope.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #1056  
Old 06-30-2011, 03:17 AM
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Default Jun. 30

Lost And Found

June 30, 2011

Read: Luke 15:1-10

Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost! —Luke 15:6

Until the day I was found, I didn’t know I was lost. I was going about business as usual, moving from task to task, distraction to distraction. But then I received an e-mail with the heading: “I think you’re my cousin.” As I read my cousin’s message, I learned that she and another cousin had been searching for my branch of the family for nearly 10 years. The other cousin promised her father, shortly before he died, that she would find his family.
I hadn’t done anything to get lost, and I didn’t have to do anything to be found except acknowledge that I was the person they had been looking for. Learning that they had spent so much time and energy searching for our family made me feel special.
This led me to think about the “lost and found” parables of Luke 15—the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Whenever we wander away from God, whether intentionally like the prodigal son or unintentionally like the sheep, God looks for us. Even though we may not “feel” lost, if we have no relationship with God, we are. To be found, we need to realize that God is looking for us (Luke 19:10) and admit that we are separated from Him. By giving up our waywardness, we can be reunited with Him and restored to His family.

*
The Lord has come to seek and save
A world that is lost in sin;
And everyone who comes to Him
Will be restored and changed within. —Sper
*
*
To be found, you must admit you are lost.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #1057  
Old 07-01-2011, 04:03 AM
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Default Jul.

A Matter Of Opinion?

July 1, 2011

Read: Matthew 16:13-20

[Jesus] said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” —Matthew 16:15

We live in an age dominated by all kinds of public opinion polls. Decisions are being driven by the crowd, and some of that is good. Surveys can inform us about people’s experiences with products, helping us make wiser purchases. Opinion polls can give government officials a sense of how their policy initiatives will be received. While information gleaned is a matter of personal opinion, it can be helpful in shaping decision-making on a variety of levels.
But when it comes to the most important question for all eternity, a public opinion poll cannot give us the answer. We must answer for ourselves. In Matthew 16, Jesus took His disciples to Caesarea Philippi and asked a question about public opinion: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (v.13). The answers were varied, and all were complimentary—but none was adequate. That’s why Jesus then asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” (v.15). Peter got the answer right: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v.16).
Public opinion can help answer certain questions, but not the one question that will determine your eternity: Who do you say that Jesus is? If you agree with Scripture, and place your trust in Christ, you will have eternal life.

*
It doesn’t matter what the crowd
Believes about the Lord.
What matters is: Do you believe
What God says in His Word? —Sper
*
*
Opinion is no substitute for the truth of God’s Word.
*
__________________
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #1058  
Old 07-02-2011, 04:20 AM
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Default Jul. 2

“Whatcha Doin’?”

July 2, 2011

Read: Colossians 3:12-17

Walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise. —Ephesians 5:15

While staying at our house for a while, my granddaughter Addie began asking, “Whatcha doin’ Grandpa?” over and over. Whether I was working at my computer, putting on my shoes to go outside, sitting down to read, or helping in the kitchen, she sidled up to me and asked what I was doing.
After answering her a few dozen times with, “Paying bills,” “Going to the store,” “Reading the paper,” “Helping Grandma,” I came to the conclusion that she was asking a key question.
Answering to a curious little girl about everything we do is one thing, but answering to God about our actions is infinitely more important. Wouldn’t it be helpful to think of God coming alongside us at any time to ask, “What are you doing?” Imagine how often our answers would seem meaningless or empty.
“I’m spending the entire evening watching TV.” “I’m eating more food than I should.” “I’m going another day without talking to You.” “I’m arguing with my spouse.” The list could go on—to our embarrassment.
We are told to use our time carefully—with God’s glory in sight (1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:23). Paul said, “Be very careful, then, how you live” (Eph. 5:15 NIV). So, it’s a good question. God wants to know: “Whatcha doin’?”

*
We’re all accountable to God
For how we use our time each day;
Are moments chosen carefully,
Or wasted mindlessly away? —Sper
*
*
Beware of spending too much time
on matters of too little importance.
*
__________________
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  #1059  
Old 07-03-2011, 03:37 AM
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Default Jul. 3

Open Wide!

July 3, 2011

Read: 1 Peter 2:1-5

As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby. —1 Peter 2:2

Early in the spring, my wife and I watched a fascinating bird show outside our kitchen window. A couple of blackbirds with straw in their beaks entered a small vent in the house next door. A couple of weeks later, to our delight, we saw four baby birds stick their heads out of the vent. Mom and Dad took turns feeding their hungry babies.
Seeing the babies’ wide-open mouths reminded me of how important it is for followers of Christ to eagerly desire spiritual food. In 1 Peter 2:2, the apostle Peter uses the analogy of babies longing to be fed: “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby.” The Greek word translated “desire” speaks of an intense yearning. It is a compound word meaning to “earnestly desire” or to “long after.”
It might seem strange to be commanded to earnestly long for something. But unlike hungry birds and babies, we need to be reminded of our need for spiritual nourishment. Even though we may have fed on the Word in the past (v.3), we need to realize that our need is ongoing and that without more nourishment we will grow spiritually weak. God is eager to feed His dear children. So, open wide!

*
My hunger for the truth He satisfies;
Upon the Word, the Living Bread, I feed:
No parching thirst I know, because His grace,
A pool of endless depth, supplies my need. —Sanders
*
*
Neglecting the Word will famish your soul;
meditating on the Word will feed it.
*
__________________
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #1060  
Old 07-04-2011, 03:46 AM
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Default Jul. 4

Controversy Of The Cross

July 4, 2011

Read: 1 Corinthians 1:17-25

The message of the cross is . . . the power of God. —1 Corinthians 1:18

A case before the US Supreme Court focused on whether a religious symbol, specifically a cross, should be allowed on public land. Mark Sherman, writing for the Associated Press, said that although the cross in question was erected in 1934 as a memorial to soldiers who died in World War I, one veteran’s group that opposed it called the cross “a powerful Christian symbol” and “not a symbol of any other religion.”
The cross has always been controversial. In the first century, the apostle Paul said that Christ had sent him “to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:17-18). As followers of Christ, we see the cross as more than a powerful Christian symbol. It is the evidence of God’s power to free us from the tyranny of our sin.
In a diverse and pluralistic society, the controversy over religious symbols will continue. Whether a cross can be displayed on public property will likely be determined by the courts. But displaying the power of the cross through our lives will be decided in our hearts.

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Christ takes each sin, each pain, each loss,
And by the power of His cross
Transforms our brokenness and shame
So that our lives exalt His name. —D. De Haan
*
*
Nothing speaks more clearly of God’s love than the cross.
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-Colossians 3:23

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