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  #1121  
Old 08-31-2011, 11:14 PM
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Default Sep. 1

Find The Book

September 1, 2011

Read: 2 Kings 22:8–23:3

I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord. —2 Kings 22:8

One Sunday at the church where I pastor, I invited three children to find several scrolls with Bible verses written on them that I had hidden in our worship center. I told them that once they found them and read the words aloud, I would give them a prize. You should have seen those kids! They ran, moved chairs, and looked under plants and in purses (with permission). Their search for the scrolls was intense, but exciting. Their diligent search and subsequent discovery of the scrolls led to joy in the children, affirmation from our congregation, and a renewed sense of the importance of God’s Word.

In 2 Kings 22–23, we read how King Josiah and the people of Judah rediscovered the joy and importance of God’s Word. During the repairing of the temple, Hilkiah the high priest found the Book of the Law. It must have been lost or hidden during the reign of Manasseh. Then when the scroll was read to King Josiah, he listened and responded to it (vv.10-11). He sought further understanding of it (vv.12-20), and he led the people to renew their commitment to its importance in their lives (23:1-4).

Many today have unprecedented access to God’s Word. Let’s renew our commitment to “find” it every day and by our lives show its prominence.



O Book divine, supreme, sublime

Entire, eternal, holy, true;

Sufficient for all men and time—

We pledge our faith to thee anew. —Anon.




To know Christ, the Living Word,

is to love the Bible, the written Word.
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  #1122  
Old 09-01-2011, 11:24 PM
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Default Sep. 2

The Trouble With Heroes

September 2, 2011

Read: Psalm 139:1-14

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

When I was a kid, I had a hero: Pete Maravich, a high-scoring basketball player who handled the ball like a magician.

Problem was, my desire to be like Pistol Pete blocked my satisfaction with who God made me to be. When I realized I could never play like Pete, I grew discouraged. I even quit my college team briefly because I couldn’t measure up to the Maravich standard.

Kids still do that kind of thing. They grow unhappy with who God made them to be because they measure themselves by their “perfect” heroes.

Christian singer Jonny Diaz recognized this and wrote a song called “More Beautiful You.” The song begins: “Little girl fourteen flipping through a magazine; says she wants to look that way.” Some young girls wish they could be like Disney star Selena Gomez or another star the way I wanted to be like Maravich. Diaz sings, “There could never be a more beautiful you; don’t buy the
lies . . . ; you were made to fill a purpose that only you could do.” Diaz is saying what another songwriter said under the inspiration of God thousands of years ago: “[We are] fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14).

God made us the way He wants us to be. Believe it. There could never be a more beautiful you.







Lord, we are Yours, You are our God;

We have been made so wondrously;

This human frame in every part

Your wisdom, power, and love we see. —Anon.













We are beautiful masterpieces designed by God.
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  #1123  
Old 09-02-2011, 11:19 PM
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Default Sep. 3

The Need For Tears

September 3, 2011

Read: Luke 19:37-44

As He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it. —Luke 19:41

Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, we were all overwhelmed by the images of devastation and hardship endured by the people of that tiny nation. Of the many heartbreaking pictures, one captured my attention. It showed a woman staring at the massive destruction—and weeping. Her mind could not process the suffering of her people, and as her heart was crushed, tears poured from her eyes. Her reaction was understandable. Sometimes crying is the only appropriate response to the suffering we encounter.

As I examined that picture, I thought of the compassion of our Lord. Jesus understood the need for tears, and He too wept. But He wept over a different kind of devastation—the destruction brought on by sin. As He approached Jerusalem, marked by corruption and injustice and the pain they create, His response was tears. “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it” (Luke 19:41). Jesus wept out of compassion and grief.

As we encounter the inhumanity, suffering, and sin that wreak havoc in our world, how do we respond? If the heart of Christ breaks over the broken condition of our world, shouldn’t ours? And shouldn’t we then do everything we can to make a difference for those in need, both spiritually and physically?



Lord, when I learn that someone is hurting,
Help me know what to do and to say;
Speak to my heart and give me compassion,
Let Your great love flow through me today. —K. De Haan





Compassion offers whatever is necessary
to heal the hurts of others.
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  #1124  
Old 09-04-2011, 03:16 AM
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Default Sep. 4

Ant World

September 4, 2011

Read: 2 Timothy 4:9-18

Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world. —2 Timothy 4:10

One of the highlights of my work as a college president is commencement. One year, while walking to the graduation ceremony, I was excited by the thought that our graduates were ready to go out to engage the world with the transforming power of the kingdom of Christ. On my way, I noticed some industrious ants busily going about their routine. I thought, There are much greater things happening than the building of sand piles!

It’s easy for us to get lost in “ant world”—to be so busy with our routines that we miss the joy of personally embracing the bigger picture of God’s great work around the world. The work of the Spirit is sweeping across South America, thousands in Africa are coming to know Christ daily, persecuted Christians are thriving, and the Asian Rim is throbbing with the pulse of the gospel! Do those thoughts ever capture your heart? Your prayer life? Your checkbook?

Our preoccupation with lesser things reminds me of Paul’s report that “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2 Tim. 4:10). I wonder if Demas regretted abandoning the gospel for the sand piles of this world?

Let’s get out of “ant world” and engage our hearts and lives in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.



Lord, I love You and want to be a part of Your work
around the world. Give me an open heart to know which
opportunities You want me to be a part of and wisdom
in knowing how to carry that out. Amen.





Don’t let smaller things distract you from
the bigger work of God around the world.
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  #1125  
Old 09-05-2011, 01:10 AM
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Default Sep. 5

The Goodness Of Work

September 5, 2011

Read: Genesis 1:26-31

God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” —Genesis 1:26

Some Christians grow up believing work is bad—that it’s a curse brought about by Adam and Eve’s sin. Left uncorrected, this mistaken belief can cause people to feel that what they do in their jobs every day isn’t important to God—or at the very least, isn’t as important as the work of missionaries and pastors. This is not true, as Genesis 1:26-31 teaches us.

First, we learn that God Himself works, as evidenced by the labor involved in creation and by the fact that He rested on the seventh day. Then we discover that we were made in His image (v.26) and that we were granted dominion over creation. This implies that we are to work to tend creation. Clearly, the tending of God’s creation is work—noble work, for God looked upon His labors and declared them “very good” (v.31).

It mustn’t escape our notice either that work was declared good before sin entered the picture. In other words, work didn’t result from the fall and therefore is not a curse. We see this idea again in Genesis 2, when God “took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (v.15).

Let’s approach each day’s labor—whether at a job or doing another activity to help our family—with an awareness of the dignity and nobility God granted it in creation.



Our daily work is used by God
To help us care for daily needs;
And work that’s done as to the Lord
Gives witness to our words and deeds. —D. De Haan





God, give me work till my life shall end—
and life till my work is done.
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  #1126  
Old 09-06-2011, 12:09 AM
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Default Sep. 6

Measuring Growth

September 6, 2011

Read: Ephesians 4:1-16

Till we all come to the unity of the faith and . . . to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. —Ephesians 4:13

When a high school student tried using a thermometer to measure a table, his teacher was dumbfounded. In 15 years of teaching, Dave had seen many sad and shocking situations. But even he was amazed that a student could make it to high school without knowing the difference between a ruler and a thermometer.

When a friend told me this story, my heart broke for that student and others like him who have fallen so far behind in their education. They can’t move forward because they haven’t yet learned basic lessons of everyday life.

But then a sobering thought came to me: Don’t we sometimes do the same thing when we use wrong spiritual measuring devices? For example, do we assume that churches with the most resources are the most blessed by God? And do we ever think that popular preachers are more godly than those with few followers?

The proper measure of our spiritual condition is the quality of our lives, which is measured by such attributes as lowliness, gentleness, and longsuffering (Eph. 4:2). “Bearing with one another in love” (v.2) is a good indication that we are moving toward God’s goal for us: “the measure of . . . the fullness of Christ” (v.13).



Our spiritual maturity
Is measured by the quality
Of attributes that others see
Produced in us by Christ. —Sper





Our love for God can be measured by our love for others.
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  #1127  
Old 09-06-2011, 11:03 PM
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Default Sep. 7

A Focus On Fairness

September 7, 2011

Read: Proverbs 1:1-9

Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate. —Amos 5:15

During the past 135 years of Major League Baseball, only 20 pitchers have thrown a perfect game. On June 2, 2010, Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers would have been number 21 but an umpire’s mistake denied him what every pitcher dreams of. The video replay showed the truth. Even though the umpire later acknowledged his error and apologized to Galarraga, the call made on the field could not be changed.

Through it all, Galarraga remained calm, expressed sympathy for the umpire, and never criticized him. Armando’s refusal to retaliate amazed fans, players, and sportswriters alike.

If we insist on fair treatment for ourselves, we can become angry and frustrated. But when we embrace the Bible’s wisdom, we will seek the welfare of others. Proverbs calls us “to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity” (1:2-3). Oswald Chambers said of our personal dealings with others, “Never look for justice, but never cease to give it; and never allow anything you meet with to sour your relationship to men through Jesus Christ.”

When we experience unfairness, it is our privilege and responsibility as followers of Christ to respond with honesty and integrity, doing what is right, just, and fair.



How others handle justice
May not be up to me;
But when I react to others,
I must show integrity. —Branon





Life is not fair, but God is always faithful.
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  #1128  
Old 09-08-2011, 12:13 AM
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Default Sep. 8

Grandfather’s Clock

September 8, 2011

Read: Psalm 90:1-12

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. —Psalm 90:12

In 1876, Henry Clay Work wrote the song “My Grandfather’s Clock.” The song describes a grandfather’s clock that faithfully ticks its way through its owner’s life. Childhood, adulthood, and old age are all viewed in relationship to his beloved timepiece. The refrain says:

Ninety years without slumbering,

Tick, tock, tick, tock,

His life’s seconds numbering,

Tick, tock, tick, tock,

But it stopped, short,

Never to go again,

When the old man died.

The relentless ticking of the clock reminds us that our time on earth is limited. Despite the joys and pains of life, time always marches on. For the believer, our time on earth is an opportunity for gaining wisdom. The psalmist writes, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12).

One way of numbering our days is to ask ourselves these kinds of questions: How can I become more like Christ? Am I reading the Word regularly? Am I devoting time to prayer? Am I meeting together with other believers? The way we answer these questions is an indicator of the progress we’re making in gaining wisdom and becoming more like Christ.

No matter the phase of life—childhood, youth, middle age, or our senior years—life always affords us opportunities to grow in faith and wisdom. Numbering our days is the wise response to life’s inevitable progress.

How are you progressing on your journey?









Don’t spend your time—invest it.
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  #1129  
Old 09-08-2011, 11:41 PM
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Default Sep. 9

You Never Know

September 9, 2011

Read: Mark 4:26-32

For the earth yields crops by itself. —Mark 4:28

During my seminary years, I directed a summer day camp for boys and girls at the YMCA. Each morning, I began the day with a brief story in which I tried to incorporate an element of the gospel.

To help illustrate that becoming a Christian means to become a new creation in Christ, I told a story about a moose that wanted to be a horse. The moose had seen a herd of wild horses, thought them elegant creatures, and wanted to be like them. So he taught himself to act like a horse. However, he was never accepted as a horse because he was . . . well, a moose. How can a moose become a horse? Only by being born a horse, of course. And then I would explain how we can all be born again by believing in Jesus.

One summer I had a staff counselor named Henry who was very hostile to the faith. I could do nothing but love him and pray for him, but he left at the end of the summer hardened in unbelief. That was more than 50 years ago. A few years ago I received a letter from Henry. The first sentence said: “I write to tell that I have been born again and now, at last, I am a ‘horse.’ ” This confirmed to me that we need to keep praying and planting the seed of the Word (Mark 4:26) so that it may bear fruit one day.



You think your word or deed is very small,
That what you say will hardly count at all;
But God can take the seed that you have sown
And nourish it until it’s fully grown. —Hess





We sow the seed—God produces the harvest.
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  #1130  
Old 09-10-2011, 01:22 AM
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Default Sep. 10

Good Neighbors

September 10, 2011

Read: Hebrews 13:1-6

Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. —Luke 6:36

When US airspace was closed after the September 11, 2001, attacks, planes had to land at the closest airport available. Nearly 40 planes landed in Gander, Newfoundland. Suddenly this small Canadian community almost doubled in size when thousands of frightened passengers arrived. People opened their homes, and officials converted high schools, lodges, churches, and meeting halls into places to stay. Stranded passengers were overwhelmed with neighborly generosity and kindness.

The people of Gander showed the kind of love described in Hebrews 13: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels” (v.2). This is probably referring to Abraham when he entertained three men who came to tell him that he would soon have a son (Gen. 18:1-16). Two of the “men” were angels, and one was the Angel of the Lord. Bible commentator F. F. Bruce says about Abraham, “Among the Jews, Abraham was regarded as outstanding for his hospitality as [he was] for his other virtues; a true son of Abraham must be hospitable too.”

God calls believers to show their love and gratefulness for Him in their good works of hospitality and compassion.

How will you answer His call today?



How many lives shall I touch today?
How many neighbors will pass my way?
I can bless so many and help so much,
If I meet each one with a Christlike touch. —Jones





Christlike love is seen in good works.
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