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  #1501  
Old 09-13-2012, 03:39 AM
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Default Sep. 13

Flying Solo

September 13, 2012

Read: John 14:15-27

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? —1 Corinthians 3:16

May 20-21, 1927, marked a turning point in aviation history as Charles Lindbergh made the first-ever solo, nonstop, trans-Atlantic flight. There had been other flights across the Atlantic, but none were accomplished by a pilot flying alone. It was a historic achievement. When Lindbergh landed at Le Bourget Field in Paris, he was thronged by thousands of admirers applauding his success. And when he returned to America, he was further honored with parades and awards in celebration of his individualistic courage and spirit.

Even though Lindbergh’s solo flight was dangerous, living in this fallen world of ours can be far more so. Followers of Christ, however, can be encouraged and comforted that we never have to “fly solo.” The night before His crucifixion, Jesus promised that He would not abandon us but would send His Spirit to be with us and in us (John 14:16-17). The apostle Paul later affirmed this, saying, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16).

In a world filled with despair and trouble, we can take courage. The Holy Spirit lives within us, providing us with His peace and comfort (John 14:26-27). Aren’t you thankful that you never have to fly solo?
Father, allow me today to rest in You, to walk with
Your Son, and to lean on Your Spirit.
Thank You for Your never-failing presence,
helping me in all the challenges of life. Amen.
The Spirit within us guarantees that we’re never alone.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #1502  
Old 09-14-2012, 02:50 AM
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Default Sep. 14

Family Togetherness

September 14, 2012

Read: Ephesians 4:1-16

Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. —Ephesians 4:3

My husband, children, and I have a fun family tradition. It happens when we are at home and someone calls out “family hug!” We usually rendezvous in the kitchen; I hug the kids and my husband wraps his arms around all of us. It’s our way of expressing love and enjoying a brief moment of family togetherness.

Although we enjoy an occasional group hug, it’s not always easy to maintain that sense of unity. After all, each person in our family is unique. We have different needs, abilities, and viewpoints—much like the family of God (Eph. 4:11-12).

Despite inevitable differences with other believers, Paul calls us to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (v.3). Harmony with other Christians is important because it reflects the unity between Jesus and His heavenly Father. Jesus prayed this for believers: “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You” (John 17:21).

When problems arise within the family of God, the Bible says we are to respond “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2). This is the way to experience family togetherness with people who share the fundamentals of our faith.
I pray, O Lord, reveal to me
If I have caused disunity,
For You would have Your children one
In praise and love for Your dear Son. —Branon
Our hearts are linked through the love of Christ.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #1503  
Old 09-15-2012, 01:51 AM
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Default Sep. 15

What We Need

September 15, 2012

Read: 2 Corinthians 1:1-7

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. —2 Corinthians 1:3

The heartbreaking stories keep coming. The friend whose grown daughter has left her husband and kids. The dads I recently met who lost their teen sons in car accidents. The pillar of the church whose retirement years have been marked by a string of bad medical news. You know the stories. You may have your own.

Where do we go for help when struggles and pain threaten to shake our faith and steal our last ounce of joy?

Second Corinthians 1:3 may be just the right destination. It is full of hope, help, and possibilities.

Examine what that verse tells us: Paul lifts praise to God on two levels (and remember, Paul had more struggles and trouble than most of us could stand). First, he simply sends praise to God, who is not just our God but the God and Father of Jesus Himself. Think about the power and the love behind that!

Then he gives us even better news: Our heavenly Father is the God of mercy and compassion. He cares for us with an everlasting, gracious love. And there’s more—He is also the God of all comfort.

Need compassion? Need comfort? Go to God. He has an endless supply and is ready to pour it out on you in abundance. He is what we need in times of trouble!
I must have the Savior with me,
For my faith at best is weak;
He will whisper words of comfort,
That no other voice can speak. —Anon.
God’s whisper of comfort helps quiet the noise of our trials.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #1504  
Old 09-16-2012, 05:38 PM
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Default Sep. 16

From Duty To Delight

September 16, 2012

Read: Psalm 119:41-48

I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I love. —Psalm 119:47

Because of my wife’s busy schedule, sometimes she can commit only a limited amount of time every week to each of our grandchildren. When possible, however, she will rearrange her schedule to spend more time with them—not out of duty, but because she loves them. When I see her with them, I understand what the word delight means. In Psalm 119, David tells of his “delight” in God’s Word. He uses the word delight eight times (vv.16,24, 35,47,70,77,92,174). He says: “I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your Word. . . . I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I love” (vv.16,47). The psalmist’s words, “I will delight,” indicate that it is a deliberate act of his will. However, it is not a burden for him to delight in God’s Word because he loves it. David’s close relationship with God created in him a desire to know what his Beloved had to say. In the same way, for us to move from duty to delight in God’s Word, we need to strengthen our relationship with Him. When we remember how much He loves and cherishes us, we will respond with love and we will delight to spend time with Him. “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (v.97).

Then let me love my Bible more And take a fresh delight By day to read these wonders o’er And meditate by night. —Watts

Whether morning, noon, or night, make God’s Word your delight.
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  #1505  
Old 09-17-2012, 04:17 AM
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Default Sep. 17

Correct Them

September 17, 2012

Read: 1 Samuel 2:12,27-36

Why do you . . . honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people? —1 Samuel 2:29

Therapist and mother Lori Gottlieb says that parents who are obsessed with their children’s happiness may actually contribute to their becoming unhappy adults. These parents coddle their children, do not equip them to deal with the real world, look the other way when their children do wrong, and neglect disciplining them. In 1 Samuel, we read that the high priest Eli sometimes looked the other way. We don’t know what he was like as a father when his boys were young. But he failed to properly deal with their behavior as grown men serving in God’s temple. They were selfish, lustful, and rebellious, putting their own needs ahead of God’s Word and the needs of the people. At first, Eli rebuked them but they would not listen. Instead of removing them from service, he looked the other way and let them continue in their sin. As a result of his sons’ sins and because Eli honored his sons above the Lord (1 Sam. 2:29), the Lord warned Eli that his family would suffer judgment (v.34; 4:17-18). As Christian parents, we have the awesome responsibility to lovingly discipline our children (Prov. 13:24; 29:17; Heb. 12:9-11). As we impart God’s wisdom to them, we have the blessing of helping them develop into responsible, God-fearing adults.

They are buds of hope and promise, Possessed by Him whose name is Love; Lent us here to train and nourish For a better life above. —Crosby

Failure to discipline our children is a failure to love them
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  #1506  
Old 09-18-2012, 03:54 AM
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Default Sep. 18

The Lure Of A Message

September 18, 2012

Read: 1 Samuel 3:1-10

Speak, for Your servant hears. —1 Samuel 3:10

You’re sitting in a darkened theater enjoying a concert, a play, or a film, when suddenly a smartphone screen lights up as a person reads an incoming text and perhaps takes time to reply. In his book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr says that in our connected world, “The sense that there might be a message out there for us” is increasingly difficult to resist.

Samuel was a young boy when he heard a voice call his name and thought it was Eli the priest in the tabernacle where he served the Lord (1 Sam. 3:1-7). When Eli realized that God was calling Samuel, he told the boy how to respond. When God called his name a fourth time, “Samuel answered, ‘Speak, for Your servant hears’” (v.10). This attentiveness to God’s voice became the pattern of Samuel’s life as “the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord” (v.21).

Are we listening for God’s voice in our lives today? Are we more drawn by the vibration of a smartphone than the still, small voice of the Lord through His Word and His Spirit?

May we, like Samuel, learn to discern God’s voice and say, “Speak, Lord. I’m listening.”
May we listen, Lord, to You
As You speak to us today
Through Your Spirit and Your Word—
Help us follow and obey. —Sper
Don’t let the noise of the world keep you from hearing the voice of the Lord.
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  #1507  
Old 09-19-2012, 02:51 AM
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Default Sep. 19

Standing In The Fire

September 19, 2012

Read: Daniel 3:10-25

Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace. —Daniel 3:17

Wrapped in blankets in my grandparents’ pickup, I watched as fire consumed our home. My father says I slept soundly as he carried my brother and me and our puppies out to safety. When I woke up and saw the huge blaze, I was already safe. I was too curious and too young to be scared. I remember several things from that night. Even inside the truck, the heat was intense and the fire was mesmerizing. I remember too the fear on the faces of everyone else, checking and re-checking to see if loved ones were safe. Later I learned that in the chaos my father raced into the fire to look for my grandfather, which prompted my grandfather (who was not inside the house) to race in to get my father. Their courage affected all who saw it that night. I’m reminded of that fire every time I read the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. When challenged with the decree to bow to the king or face execution (Dan. 3:10-12), these three bravely faced the fire for the One they loved (vv.16-18). And the Lord stood with them in the flames (v.25). When life’s “flames” test us, may those who observe our choices recognize our love for each other and for our God.

For Further Thought Read more of Daniel and his friends in Daniel 1–3. How do their lives encourage you to stand firm for God? Ask the Lord to help you make courageous choices today.

Trials are the soil in which faith grows.
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  #1508  
Old 09-20-2012, 02:55 AM
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Default Sep. 20

Words In Space

September 20, 2012
_
Read: Ephesians 3:8-13

In [Christ] we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. —Ephesians 3:12

True confession: When I found out that astronaut Rex Walheim would be taking a copy of Our Daily Bread with him into space for the last mission of the shuttle Atlantis, I looked ahead to find out which devotionals I had written that he would be reading. The idea of having my words read in outer space seemed, well, pretty amazing for this small-town kid. No sooner had I satisfied my curiosity, however, than I had another thought. Why do I consider this such a big deal? My words are heard in heavenly places whenever I pray. What has happened to me that I take for granted the concept that the God who created the universe listens to my words? In Christ, I can approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3:12). Why be more awestruck at having a human read what I have written than having Almighty God hear what I pray? If that idea isn’t enough to rouse me from complacency, there’s this: The Lord is using the church to make known His wisdom to the “principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (v.10). Imagine. God not only hears our prayers, but He uses us earthlings to teach heavenly beings the plan of redemption He has accomplished through Christ. Now that’s a big deal!

God is waiting in the silence—Oh, to know that He is near! Earth recedes and heaven opens, God is waiting, God is here. —O. Smith

God is always available to hear the prayer of His child.
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  #1509  
Old 09-21-2012, 03:25 AM
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Default Sep. 21

Much Trouble

September 21, 2012

Read: Joshua 1:1-7

I will not leave you nor forsake you. —Joshua 1:5

A young boy named Riley started a fight with Avery on the school playground after a soccer match. The teacher broke it up, and both boys were sent to the principal’s office. Later, Avery said, “And of course, like always, we both got in trouble.” But he shared that he learned a lesson: “God is always with us, even if we get in as much trouble as this.” The nation of Israel was in big trouble. Yet the Lord promised the nation’s new leader: “I will not leave you nor forsake you” (Josh. 1:5). Joshua was taking over leadership of the Israelites after Moses’ death, just before they were to enter the Promised Land. Trouble was on the horizon with numerous military campaigns against their enemies coming up (8:3; 9:1-2). Without God’s presence, they couldn’t begin to acquire the land. Joshua had a strong faith in the Lord, as seen when he spied out the land of Canaan (Num. 14:6-9). But God graciously gave him the reminder as he took over the leadership role that he could be courageous because of His presence. He promises the same to His children today (Heb. 13:5-6). It’s a comforting lesson for God’s children of all ages to know: The Lord is always with us. Even when we’re in “as much trouble as this.”

Dear Lord, we’re so thankful to be Your children, and that You’ll never leave us. Help us to hold on to that promise when trouble seems to threaten on every side. Amen.

When troubles call on you, call on God.
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  #1510  
Old 09-22-2012, 03:50 PM
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Default Sep. 22

I Just Saw Jesus

September 22, 2012

Read: 2 Corinthians 4:1-10

Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. —2 Corinthians 4:10

Years ago I lost my job in my chosen profession due to circumstances beyond my control. So I took on two lesser-paying jobs in order to try to make ends meet. Yet it still was very difficult to earn enough to pay my monthly expenses. Then I reconnected with Joel and Dave, two friends from my past. Joel had become the pastor of a growing church in the suburbs. Dave had become an overseas missionary, but he was visiting in the US at the time. Both of them, recognizing my predicament, gave me money to help pay the rent. I was deeply moved. As I thought of my friends’ actions, I said to myself: “I have just seen Jesus Christ!” Just as I saw Jesus in my friends, sometimes others can see Him in us. Paul speaks of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). He confessed: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). And he also understood that different circumstances can be opportunities for “the life of Jesus [to] be manifested in our body” (2 Cor. 4:10). Do you know someone struggling with physical or financial burdens? Why not let the indwelling Christ express His love through you by meeting that person’s need.

If I can do some good today, If I can help in what I say, If by my deeds Your love convey—Dear Lord, just show me how. —Brandt

Real love is helping others for Jesus’ sake even if they can never return the favor.
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