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  #191  
Old 04-15-2009, 04:10 AM
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Default Apr. 15

April 15, 2009

Check Your Attitude

READ: John 3:22-31

He must increase, but I must decrease. —John 3:30

A music professor with a well-trained voice usually sang the major male solo parts in the choir of a large church. A young man named Bob who had no training sometimes took a few shorter solos. As the choir director prepared for the Christmas cantata, she felt that Bob’s voice and style made him a natural for the lead role. However, she didn’t know how she could give it to him without offending the older man.

Her anxiety was unnecessary. The professor had the same thoughts as she did, and he told her that Bob should take the part. He continued to sing faithfully in the chorus and was a source of much encouragement to Bob.

People who can set aside selfish ambition and genuinely seek the good of others have an attitude that pleases God. Do you remember how John the Baptist reacted when the crowds left him and began following Jesus? He said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

What did John the Baptist and the music professor have in common? They were able to set aside “selfish ambition.” They were happy to see others elevated above themselves when it was for the common good. Can the same be said about us? — Herbert Vander Lugt

This is the highest learning,
The hardest and the best—
From self to keep still turning
And honor all the rest. —MacDonald


When we forget about ourselves, we do things others will remember.
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  #192  
Old 04-16-2009, 04:02 AM
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April 16, 2009

Gatekeepers

READ: 1 Corinthians 3:1-17

The temple of God is holy, which temple you are. —1 Corinthians 3:17

In journalism, the term gatekeeper refers to reporters, editors, and publishers who consider various news items and determine which stories are newsworthy. Some long-time news professionals warn that the Internet allows information to get through without being checked at the gate.

In Old Testament times, gatekeepers guarded the temple to prevent those who were unclean from entering (2 Chron. 23:19). In ad 70, the temple was destroyed by the Roman armies of Emperor Titus. But the destruction began years earlier when the Levites assigned to guard it failed to do so after coming under the corrupt influence of the Syrian king Antiochus iv.

Paul called our bodies God’s “temple” (1 Cor. 3:16-17), and many forces are at work to assault God’s new dwelling. Evil may gain a foothold through unfortified areas of our spiritual life—places where envy, strife, or divisions may undermine us (3:3). Each of us must be on guard against the enemy of our souls and never give place to the devil (Eph. 4:27).

The criteria for what may enter is found in Philippians 4:8—whatever is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. The resulting peace will guard the gate of our hearts and minds. — Julie Ackerman Link

Help me to guard my troubled soul
By constant, active self-control.
Clean up my thought, my speech, my play;
Lord, keep me pure from day to day. —Thomas


If you’re not on guard against evil you’ll be influenced by evil.
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  #193  
Old 04-17-2009, 05:28 PM
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April 17, 2009

The Bus Driver

READ: 1 John 4:7-12

Be imitators of God . . . and walk in love. —Ephesians 5:1-2

In the middle of carting 70 pieces of luggage, an electronic piano, and other equipment through airports and on and off a tour bus, it’s easy to wonder, “Why are we doing this?”

Taking 28 teenagers on an 11-day ministry trip to a land across the ocean is not easy. But at the end of the trip our bus driver, who had carted us all over England and Scotland, grabbed the bus microphone and in tears thanked the kids for how wonderful they had been. Then after we got home, he e-mailed us to say how much he appreciated the thank you cards the kids had written to him—many of which contained the gospel.

Although the students ministered to hundreds through song during the trip, perhaps it was the bus driver who most benefited from their Christlikeness. In Ephesians we are told to be imitators of God and to walk in love (Eph. 5:1-2). Others see God in us when we show love to one another (1 John 4:12). The bus driver saw Jesus in the students and told them that they might just convert him to faith in Christ. Maybe it was for this man that we took that trip.

Why do you do what you do? Whose life are you affecting? Sometimes it’s not our target audience that we impact most. Sometimes it’s the bus drivers of the world. — Dave Branon

Lord, may I be a shining light
For all the world to see
Your goodness and Your love displayed
As You reach out through me. —Sper


Witnessing is not just something a Christian says, but what he is.
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  #194  
Old 04-18-2009, 04:47 AM
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Default Apr. 18

April 18, 2009

What’s Next?

READ: Philippians 3:7-16

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 3:14

In the television series The West Wing, fictional president Josiah Bartlet regularly ended staff meetings with two words—“What’s next?” It was his way of signaling that he was finished with the issue at hand and ready to move on to other concerns. The pressures and responsibilities of life in the White House demanded that he not focus on what was in the rear-view mirror—he needed to keep his eyes ahead, moving forward to what was next.

In a sense, the apostle Paul had a similar perspective on life. He knew that he had not “arrived” spiritually, and that he had a long way to go in becoming like Christ. What could he do? He could either fixate on the past, with its failures, disappointments, struggles, and disputes, or he could learn from those things and move on to “what’s next.”

In Philippians 3, Paul tells us how he chose to live his life: “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (vv.13-14). It’s a perspective that speaks of moving on—of embracing what’s next. It is where we too must focus as we seek to be shaped into the image of the Savior while we look forward to eternity with Him. — Bill Crowder

Onward and upward your course plan today,
Seeking new heights as you walk Jesus’ way;
Heed not past failures, but strive for the prize,
Aiming for goals fit for His holy eyes. —Brandt


Keep your eyes fixed on the prize.
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  #195  
Old 04-19-2009, 05:33 AM
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Default Apr. 19

April 19, 2009

The Best Eraser

READ: Luke 16:19-31

I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions. —Isaiah 44:22

What is memory? What is this faculty that enables us to recall past feelings, sights, sounds, and experiences? By what process are events recorded, stored, and preserved in our brain to be brought back again and again? Much is still mystery.

We do know that memories can be blessings—full of comfort, assurance, and joy. Old age can be happy and satisfying if we have stored up memories of purity, faith, fellowship, and love. If a saint looks back on a life of Christian service and remembers the faithfulness of Him who promised: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5), his or her sunset years can be the sweetest of all.

But memory can also be a curse and a tormentor. Many people as they approach the end of life would give all they possess to erase from their minds the past sins that haunt them. What can a person do who is plagued by such remembrances? Just one thing. He can take them to the One who is able to forgive them and blot them out forever. He’s the One who said, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Heb. 10:17).

You may not be able to forget your past. But the Lord offers to blot out, “like a thick cloud, your transgressions” (Isa. 44:22). — M.R. De Haan

The deep remorse that’s in the soul
No human eye may trace;
But Jesus sees the broken heart,
And can its woes erase. —Bosch


The best eraser is honest confession to God.
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  #196  
Old 04-19-2009, 06:04 PM
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April 20, 2009

Faithful Gaius

READ: 3 John

Beloved [Gaius], you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers. —3 John 1:5

Third John presents a sharp contrast between the way two members of the church welcomed believers who visited them. The letter is addressed to “the beloved” Gaius, whom John loved “in truth” (v.1). The truth was in him as he walked with God (v.3). Whatever he did for his “brethren”—itinerant missionaries and teachers such as Paul—he did it faithfully and with love (vv.5-6).

Diotrephes was another story. He was proud and domineering (v.9), and he spoke against those who came in the name of Christ (v.10), probably even Paul. In addition, he drove out of the church anyone who wanted to accept them. No doubt he did this to protect his position and self-interests and to keep the focus on himself.

My wife, Shirley, and I, along with our granddaughter Bree, recently visited a country once closed to the gospel. The believers welcomed us with trust, openness, hospitality, and genuine love. Though they had little, their generosity was astounding. What an encouragement to us! They truly followed the example of faithful Gaius.

May God give us a loving and faithful spirit that enables us to treat our fellow believers in “a manner worthy of God” (v.6). — David C. Egner

A time for fellowship that’s sweet,
A time for sacred song;
But never is there time to treat
A human being wrong. —Isenhour


Christlike hospitality is an open heart and an open home.
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  #197  
Old 04-21-2009, 03:50 AM
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Default Apr. 21

April 21, 2009

Thunderstorm Thoughts

READ: Matthew 8:23-27

The God of peace will be with you. —Philippians 4:9

I laugh every time I hear the radio commercial that has a woman shouting to her friend in conversation. She’s trying to talk above the sounds of the thunderstorm in her own head. Ever since a storm damaged part of her home, that’s all she hears because her insurance company isn’t taking care of her claims.

I’ve heard thunderstorms in my head, and maybe you have too. It happens when a tragedy occurs—to us, to someone close to us, or to someone we hear about in the news. Our minds become a tempest of “what if” questions. We focus on all the possible bad outcomes. Our fear, worry, and trust in God fluctuate as we wait, we pray, we grieve, and we wonder what the Lord will do.

It’s natural for us to be fearful in a storm (literal or figurative). The disciples had Jesus right there in the boat with them, yet they were afraid (Matt. 8:23-27). He used the calming of the storm as a lesson to show them who He was—a powerful God who also cares for them.

We wish that Jesus would always calm the storms of our life as He calmed the storm for the disciples that day. But we can find moments of peace when we’re anchored to the truth that He’s in the boat with us and He cares. — Anne Cetas

Fierce drives the storm, but wind and waves
Within His hand are held,
And trusting His omnipotence
My fears are sweetly quelled. —Brown


To realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the stress of the storm.
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  #198  
Old 04-22-2009, 04:00 AM
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April 22, 2009

Too Old?

READ: Genesis 17:15-22

My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. —Genesis 17:4

When God promised Abraham and his wife Sarah that they would have a son, Abraham laughed in unbelief and replied, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” (Gen. 17:17).

Later, Sarah laughed for the same reason: “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” (18:12).

We too grow old and wonder if the Lord can fulfill His promises to us. We no longer have prominence or status. Our minds are not as nimble as they once were. We’re hampered by physical problems that limit our mobility and keep us close to home. Every day we seem to lose more of the things we have spent a lifetime acquiring. Robert Frost underscores something that we sometimes ask ourselves: “The question . . . is what to make of a diminished thing.”

Not much—if we are left to ourselves. But God is able to do more with us than we can imagine. He asks us, as He asked Sarah, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (18:14). Of course not!

We’re never too old to be useful if we make ourselves available to God for His purposes. — David H. Roper

Growing old but not retiring,
For the battle still is on;
Going on without relenting
Till the final victory’s won. —Anon.


As God adds years to your life, ask Him to add life to your years.
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  #199  
Old 04-22-2009, 11:58 PM
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Cory, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate you taking time out of your schedule to post these devotionals for us. Lately I've been getting into reading Scripture on a daily basis every morning and at night and these devotionals really help me to seek God's word more and more every day.


Thank you brother.
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  #200  
Old 04-23-2009, 12:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adenine View Post
Cory, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate you taking time out of your schedule to post these devotionals for us. Lately I've been getting into reading Scripture on a daily basis every morning and at night and these devotionals really help me to seek God's word more and more every day.


Thank you brother.
Its the least I can do, its times like these that all of us need to draw closer to the Lord, glad they're helping you.
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