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  #21  
Old 01-25-2009, 04:28 AM
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Default Jan. 25

January 25, 2009

Benediction Blessing

READ: Numbers 6:22-27

The Lord bless you and keep you. —Numbers 6:24

Our church introduced a new practice for the close of our traditional morning worship service. We turn to one another and sing the familiar Aaronic blessing the Lord gave to Moses to give to Israel: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you . . .” (Num. 6:24-26). Our hearts are uplifted as we mutually catch the eye of a fellow believer and extend our blessing to him or her.

One Sunday, I noticed a heartwarming and special exchange that has now become a weekly event. In a pew near the front sat Oscar and Marian Carlson, faithful followers of Jesus Christ and devoted partners for the 62 years of their married life. When we began to sing, Oscar reached over and took Marian’s hands in his. They sang the opening words of this special blessing to each other before looking to others. Everyone nearby sneaked a peek at the look of love and tenderness on their faces.

A benediction is not simply a ritualistic closing; it’s a genuine prayerful wish for God’s goodness to follow the other person. In offering it to one another, Oscar and Marian exemplify its warmest and deepest meaning. In blessing others, we express gratitude for what God has done for us through Christ’s death (Heb. 13:20-21). — David C. Egner

Bless me, Lord, and make me a blessing;
I’ll gladly your message convey;
Use me to help some poor needy soul,
And make me a blessing today. —Anon.


God gives blessing to us so we can be a blessing to others.
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  #22  
Old 01-25-2009, 11:06 AM
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Very nice. Thank you Cory.
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  #23  
Old 01-26-2009, 01:37 AM
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Default Jan. 26

January 26, 2009

Cod Liver Oil Coercion

READ: John 16:8-11

When the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. —John 15:26

A woman bought a bottle of cod liver oil to give to her dog so he could have a healthier and shinier coat. Every morning, she pried the dog’s jaws open and forced the liquid down his throat. He struggled, but she persisted. He doesn’t know what’s good for him! she thought. Faithfully, each day she repeated the process.

One day, however, the bottle tipped over and she released her grip on the dog for just a moment to wipe up the mess. The dog sniffed at the fishy liquid and began lapping up what she had spilled. He actually loved the stuff. He had simply objected to being coerced!

Sometimes we use a similar method in telling others about Christ. Called buttonholing, it’s an intense, in-your-face kind of confrontation. While earnestly desiring to share the gospel, we may end up repelling people instead. In our sincere but overly enthusiastic attempt, we create resistance.

We are called to share the good news, but we are not responsible for someone’s acceptance or rejection of Christ. It’s not our job to try to convict someone of sin. That’s the Holy Spirit’s responsibility (John 16:8).

As you tell others of Christ’s sacrifice, be sensitive. Know when to slow down and let God and His Word do the convicting and drawing to Himself. — Cindy Hess Kasper

The Spirit’s role is to convict
The world of all their sin
So they will seek forgiveness and
Be cleansed and changed within. —Sper


The Spirit convicts so that Christ might cleanse.
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  #24  
Old 01-27-2009, 03:33 AM
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Default Jan. 27

January 27, 2009

Prayer Circles

READ: Luke 18:9-14

Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled. —Luke 18:14

Around the circle the 6th-grade girls went, taking turns praying for each other in the Bible-study group. “Father in heaven,” Anna prayed, “please help Tonya not to be so boy-crazy.” Tonya added with a giggle, “And help Anna to stop acting so horrible in school and bothering other kids.” Then Talia prayed, “Lord, help Tonya to listen to her mother instead of always talking back.”

Although the requests were real, the girls seemed to enjoy teasing their friends by pointing out their flaws in front of the others instead of caring about their need for God’s help. Their group leader reminded them about the seriousness of talking to almighty God and the importance of evaluating their own hearts.

If we use prayer to point out the faults of others while ignoring our own, we’re like the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable. He prayed, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector” (Luke 18:11). Instead, we’re to be like the man who asked God to be merciful to him, “a sinner” (v.13).

Let’s be careful not to let our prayers become a listing of others’ flaws. The kind of prayer God desires flows out of a humble evaluation of our own sinful hearts. — Anne Cetas

Lord, teach us how to pray aright,
Oh, lead us in Your way;
Humbly we bow in Your pure light;
Lord, teach us how to pray. —Anon.


The highest form of prayer comes from the depths of a humble heart.
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  #25  
Old 01-28-2009, 02:05 AM
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Default Jan. 28

January 28, 2009

Murphy’s Laws

READ: Exodus 20:1-17

You shall have no other gods before Me. —Exodus 20:3

Murphy’s Laws are observations about life that seem to have the weight of experience behind them. You’ve probably heard this one: “If anything can go wrong, it will.” Here’s another one: “You can’t do just one thing; everything has its consequences.”

My own experience seems to confirm many of Murphy’s Laws, but it’s that second one that I would hang on the wall as a motto. Wrong choices have their consequences. For example, if we choose to live for pleasure, that will affect our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (Ex. 20:4-5). If we walk away from God, we may discover that our children have taken that trip with us. Later, even if we return to Him, they may not.

But there is also good news. Devotion to the Lord has its consequences too. Men and women who live in faith before God can have a strong influence on their children and their children’s children. If they live a long life, they can witness the effect their faith has had on several generations. What satisfaction it brings to older people to see their posterity living for Christ!

Murphy and the Bible agree on this point: “Everything has its consequences.” — Haddon W. Robinson

If you sow seeds of wickedness,
Sin’s harvest you will reap;
But scattered seeds of righteousness
Yield blessings you can keep. —Sper


People who follow Christ lead others in the right direction.
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  #26  
Old 01-28-2009, 07:01 PM
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1 Corinthians 16:13 (New International Version)

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.
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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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  #27  
Old 01-29-2009, 03:36 AM
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I journal daily with a technique I was taught last summer, throughout the days I come across some good scripture and from time to time I'll share it with some thoughts.

"And the words of the LORD are flawless,
like silver refined in a furnace of clay,
purified seven times."

PSALMS 12:6

We've all experience what David was talking about here. We meet a lot of people who aren't genuine, and it gets to the point where you wonder whose word you can trust. David explains that God's word is ALWAYS genuine. So the next time gossip starts at work, just think of God's word, and push yourself to be as sincere as humanly possible.

P.S. if anyone is interested in my journaling technique let me know.
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  #28  
Old 01-29-2009, 03:38 AM
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Default Jan. 29

January 29, 2009

The Aging Process

READ: Psalm 71

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength fails. —Psalm 71:9

I was having breakfast with a friend who had recently celebrated his 60th birthday. We discussed the “trauma” of the number 6 being the first digit in his age and all that the age of 60 implies (retirement, social security, etc.). We also pondered the fact that he felt so much younger than such a “large” number would seem to indicate.

Then the conversation turned to the lessons, joys, and blessings he’d found in living those 60 years, and he said, “You know, it isn’t really that bad. In fact, it’s pretty exciting.” The lessons of the past had brought a change in how he viewed the present.

Such is the aging process. We learn from our past in order to live in our present—a lesson reflected on by the psalmist: “For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth” (Ps. 71:5). He continued, “By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You” (v.6). As the psalmist looked back, he clearly saw the faithfulness of God. With confidence in that faithfulness, he could face the future and its uncertainties—and so can we.

May we say with the psalmist, “I will praise You—and Your faithfulness, O my God!” (v.22). — Bill Crowder

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be. —Chisholm
© Renewal 1951 Hope Publishing Company.


As the years add up, God’s faithfulness keeps multiplying.
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  #29  
Old 01-29-2009, 06:50 PM
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Highlights from Romans 6 NIV

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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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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  #30  
Old 01-30-2009, 04:35 AM
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"The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name."

Acts 5:41

To think that Peter and the rest of the apostles were just brutally flogged, yet they left celebrating, because God considered them worthy to suffer in Jesus' name. This is really the level of believer that all of us should strive for in our lifetime. Where we consider it an honor to be persecuted because of our belief in Jesus Christ. I don't know about you guys, I can honestly say that I haven't acheived this yet, but its definitely a goal I will achieve in my lifetime.
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