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  #1161  
Old 10-12-2011, 12:59 AM
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Default Oct. 12

Drained Of All Strength

October 12, 2011

Read: Isaiah 40:25-31

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. —Isaiah 40:29

When I was a teenager, my dad and I went on many hunting and fishing trips together. Most became happy memories, but one fishing expedition was nearly a disaster. We drove up into a high mountain range and set up camp in a remote area. Then Dad and I trudged a long way down the mountain to get to a stream to fish. After a long day fishing in the hot sun, it was time to return to camp. But as we began to head back, Dad’s face grew pale. He was dizzy and nauseated, and he had almost no strength.

Trying not to panic, I had him sit down and drink liquids. Then I prayed aloud to God for help. Bolstered by prayer, rest, and nourishment, Dad improved, and we began to go slowly back up the mountain. He held on to my loosened belt as I crawled upward—leading the way back to camp.

Sometimes we find ourselves in what feels like a hopeless valley without the strength to go on. When this happens, it’s important to recall God’s promise: “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength” (Isa. 40:29).

Do you feel drained? Exhausted? Ask God for help. Depend on Him for the power to go on and the strength to make it through the valley.

When circumstances overwhelm
And seem too much to bear,
Depend upon the Lord for strength
And trust His tender care. —Sper

When we have nothing left but God,
we discover that God is enough.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #1162  
Old 10-12-2011, 10:48 PM
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Default Oct. 13

Too Busy To Know God?

October 13, 2011

Read: Luke 10:38-42

She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. —Luke 10:39

One day when I was waiting to board a plane, a stranger who had overheard me mention that I was a chaplain began to describe to me his life before he met Christ. He said it was marked by “sin and self-absorption. Then I met Jesus.”

I listened with interest to a list of changes he had made to his life and good deeds he had done. But because everything he told me was about his busyness for God and not his fellowship with God, I wasn’t surprised when he added, “Frankly, chaplain, I thought I’d feel better about myself by now.”

I think the New Testament character Martha would have understood that stranger’s observation. Having invited Jesus to be a guest at her home, she set about doing what she thought were the important things. But this meant she couldn’t focus on Jesus. Because Mary wasn’t helping, Martha felt justified asking Jesus to chide her. It’s a mistake many of us make: We’re so busy doing good that we don’t spend time getting to know God better.

My advice to my new airplane friend came from the core of Jesus’ words to Martha in Luke 10:41-42. I said to him: “Slow down and invest yourself in knowing God; let His Word reveal Himself to you.” If we’re too busy to spend time with God, we’re simply too busy.

Savior, let me walk beside Thee,
Let me feel my hand in Thine;
Let me know the joy of walking
In Thy strength and not in mine. —Sidebotham

Our heavenly Father longs to spend time with His children.
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  #1163  
Old 10-14-2011, 12:29 AM
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Default Oct. 14

The Way We Walk

October 14, 2011

Read: Deuteronomy 11:13-23

Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. —Romans 6:4

A television program that I enjoy watching has a segment called Ambush Makeover. Two women are chosen to undergo 3 hours of pampering to update their hair, makeup, and wardrobe. The change is often dramatic. When the women step from behind a curtain, the audience gasps. Friends and family members sometimes start to cry. After all of this, the person with the new look finally gets to see herself. Some are so shocked that they keep looking in the mirror as if to find proof that it’s really them.

As the women walk across the set to join their companions, the former self becomes evident. Most do not know how to walk in their new shoes. Although they look chic, their clumsy walk gives them away. Their transformation is incomplete.

This is true in our Christian lives as well. God does the work in us to give us a new start, but to walk in the way of the Lord (Deut. 11:22) requires time, effort, and lots of practice. If we just stand still and smile, we can pass as being transformed. But the way we walk tells how far along we are in living out that transformation. Being changed means giving up our previous way of life and learning a new way to walk (Rom. 6:4).

The new life in Christ has begun—
The past with its darkness is gone;
Look closer to see what the Savior has done,
For change is beginning to dawn. —Hess

A change in behavior begins with a change in the heart.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #1164  
Old 10-14-2011, 11:25 PM
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Default Oct. 15

A Debt Of Gratitude

October 15, 2011

Read: Romans 16:1-16

[They] risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. —Romans 16:4

Dave Randlett was someone of whom I can say, “Because of him, my life will never be the same.” Dave, who went to heaven in October 2010, became a mentor to me when I was a new follower of Jesus in my college years. He not only invested time in me, but he took risks by giving me opportunities to learn and grow in ministry. Dave was God’s instrument to give me the opportunity to be a student preacher and travel with a college music team. As a result, he helped shape and prepare me for a life of teaching God’s Word. I’m glad I was able to express thanks to him on a number of occasions.

Just as I am thankful for Dave’s influence in my life, the apostle Paul was grateful for Aquila and Priscilla, who served the Lord with him. He said they “risked their own necks for my life.” In gratitude, he thanked them, as did “all the churches of the Gentiles” (Rom. 16:4).

You too may have people in your life who have taken risks by giving you opportunities to serve or who have greatly influenced you spiritually. Perhaps pastors, ministry leaders, friends, or family members have given of themselves to move you further along for Christ. The question is, have you thanked them?

Consider what the Lord has done
Through those who’ve shown you love;
And thank Him for each faithful one—
A blessing from above. —Sper

For those who have helped you, take time to give them thanks.
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  #1165  
Old 10-16-2011, 06:07 AM
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Default Oct. 16

The Wooden Rule

October 16, 2011

Read: 1 Corinthians 12:14-26

The body is not one member but many. —1 Corinthians 12:14

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden had an interesting rule for his teams. Whenever a player scored, he was to acknowledge the person on the team who had assisted. When he was coaching high school, one of his players asked, “Coach, won’t that take up too much time?” Wooden replied, “I’m not asking you to run over there and give him a big hug. A nod will do.”

To achieve victory on the basketball court, Wooden saw the importance of teaching his players that they were a team—not “just a bunch of independent operators.” Each person contributed to the success of everyone else.

That reminds me of the way the body of Christ should work. According to 1 Corinthians 12:19-20, each of us is a separate part of one body. “If they were all one member, where would the body be? But . . . there are many members, yet one body.” Is the success of a pastor, a Bible study, or a church program based solely on one person’s accomplishments? How many people contribute to the smooth operation of a church, a Christian organization, a family?

Coach Wooden’s rule and 1 Corinthians 12 are both rooted in the principle of seeing our need for one another. Let’s use our gifts within the body of Christ to build up, strengthen, and help to carry out God’s purposes (vv.1-11).

All Christians have been gifted
By grace from God above,
Equipped to build and strengthen
The church in faith and love. —Fitzhugh

There are no unimportant people in the body of Christ.
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  #1166  
Old 10-16-2011, 11:50 PM
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Default Oct. 17

Character At Play

October 17, 2011

Read: 2 Peter 1:1-11

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. —2 Peter 1:3

A college football coach in the Bronx (New York) built his team around good character qualities. Instead of displaying their names on the back of their jerseys, the Maritime College players displayed words like family, respect, accountability, and character. Before each game, coach Clayton Kendrick-Holmes reminded his team to play by those principles on the field.

The apostle Peter had his own list of Christian qualities (2 Peter 1:5-7) that he encouraged believers to add to their life of faith:

Virtue. Fulfilling God’s design for a life with moral excellence.

Knowledge. Studying God’s Word to gain wisdom to combat falsehood.

Self-control. Revering God so much that we choose godly behavior.

Perseverance. Having a hopeful attitude even in difficulties because we’re confident in God’s character.

Godliness. Honoring the Lord in every relationship in life.

Brotherly kindness. Displaying a warmhearted affection for fellow believers.

Love. Sacrificing for the good of others.

Let’s develop these qualities in increasing measure and integrate them into every part of our life.

Just as the body grows in strength
With exercise each day,
Our spirit grows in godliness
By living life God’s way. —D. De Haan

Godly exercise is the key to godly character.
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  #1167  
Old 10-17-2011, 10:34 PM
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Default Oct. 18

Papa Didn’t Say “Oh!”

October 18, 2011

Read: Ephesians 5:1-10

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion. —Psalm 145:8

I have a friend who was working in his home office one evening, trying to get some necessary paperwork done. His little girl, who was about 4 years old at the time, was playing around his desk, puttering about, moving objects here and there, pulling out drawers, and making a good deal of noise.

My friend endured the distraction with stoic patience until the child slammed a drawer on one of her fingers and screamed in pain. Reacting in exasperation he shouted, “That’s it!” as he escorted her out of the room and shut the door.

Later, her mother found her weeping in her bedroom and tried to comfort her. “Does your finger still hurt?” she asked. “No,” the little girl sniffled. “Then why are you crying?” her mother asked. “’Cause,” she whimpered, “when I pinched my finger, Papa didn’t say, ‘Oh!’”

Sometimes that’s all we need, isn’t it? Someone who cares and who will respond with kindness and compassion, someone who will say, “Oh!” We have One named Jesus who does that for us.

Jesus loves us, understands our sorrows, and gave Himself for us (Eph. 5:2). Now we are to “walk in love” and imitate Him.

Knowing God—what comfort there,
Drawn by His eternal care;
Love from God—what joy we share,
Drawn into His mercies rare. —Branon

God’s whisper of comfort quiets the noise of our trials.
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  #1168  
Old 10-18-2011, 06:44 PM
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Thanks for continuing to do this Cory.
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James 1:16-17 ESV
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights
With God's help...Mens sana in corpore sano
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  #1169  
Old 10-19-2011, 01:38 AM
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Default Oct. 19

Investing In The Future

October 19, 2011

Read: Matthew 6:19-24

Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. —Matthew 6:20

Jason Bohn was a college student when he made a hole-in-one golf shot that won him a million dollars. While others may have squandered that money, Bohn had a plan. Wanting to be a pro golfer, he used the money as a living-and-training fund to improve his golf skills. The cash became an investment in his future—an investment that paid off when Bohn won the PGA Tour’s 2005 B.C. Open. Bohn’s decision to invest in the future instead of living for the moment was a wise one indeed.

In a sense, that is what Jesus calls us to do. We have been entrusted with resources—time, ability, opportunity— and we decide how to use them. Our challenge is to see those resources as an opportunity to invest long-term. “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” is how Jesus put it in Matthew 6:20. Those protected treasures cannot be destroyed nor taken away, Jesus assures us.

Think of your resources: talent, time, knowledge. These are temporal and limited. But if you invest them with an eye toward eternity, these temporary things can have enduring impact. What is your focus? Now or forever? Invest in the future. It will not only have an eternal impact, but it will also change the way you view life each day.

Whatever is done in love for Christ
Will one day have heaven’s reward;
Today let’s do what we can for Him,
Our loving Savior and Lord. —Hess

The richest people on earth
are those who invest their lives in heaven.
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  #1170  
Old 10-20-2011, 02:26 AM
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Default Oct. 20

ernails Or His Hand?

October 20, 2011

Read: Psalm 37:23-26

The Lord upholds him with His hand. —Psalm 37:24

Tough times can cause us to get our perspective turned around. I was reminded of this recently as I talked to a fellow-griever—another parent who, like Sue and me, lost a teenage daughter to death suddenly and without warning.

She told me she had been missing her daughter terribly, and she told God she felt as if she were hanging on by her fingernails. Then she felt as if God reminded her that His hand of protection was there to hold her up—that she could let go, and He would catch her.

That’s a better perspective, isn’t it? This picture reminds us that when troubles come and we feel least able to hold on to our faith, it’s not up to us. It’s up to God to support us with His mighty hand.

Psalm 37:23-24 says: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord . . . . Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” And Psalm 63:8 tells us: “My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.”

In tough times, we can become so preoccupied with our role in “clinging to God” that we forget about His promised protection. It’s not our fingernails that sustain us—it’s His loving, upholding hand.

God’s hand that holds the ocean’s depths
Can hold my small affairs;
His hand that guides the universe,
Can carry all my cares. —Anon.

No one is more secure than the one who is held in God’s hand.
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