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  #301  
Old 07-16-2009, 03:20 AM
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Default Jul. 16

July 16, 2009

Behind The Building

READ: 1 Peter 4:8-11

Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. —1 Corinthians 15:58

Where we were working was hot, dirty, and it smelled bad. We had traveled thousands of miles to do some work projects, and on this day we were painting the back of a classroom building at a school for the deaf. The only people who would ever see this part of the building would be the guy who cut the grass and any unfortunate person who would have to work on the septic pit.

Yet, as the young adults diligently painted away, one of the girls, Melissa, put it in perspective by saying, “Nobody will ever come back here to see this, but God will see it. So let’s make it look nice.” And so we did.

Sometimes we sit at our desk and think no one sees our work. Or we stand at a line assembling item after endless item. Perhaps we take care of crying babies in the church nursery. Or we live the best Christian life we can—without anyone noticing.

Often our work is “behind the building.” But if that is what God has called us to do, we need to work with all our heart. As part of our calling to love others deeply (1 Peter 4:8), offer hospitality (v.9), and use our gifts to serve others (v.10), our task is to work with God’s strength to bring praise and glory to God, not ourselves. The important thing is that God likes what He sees. — Dave Branon

Though others may not observe us
And see how we serve God today,
Our job as servants of Jesus
Is to please Him in every way. —Branon


No service for Christ goes unnoticed by Him.
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"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men"
-Colossians 3:23

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  #302  
Old 07-17-2009, 02:41 AM
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Default Jul. 17

July 17, 2009

When The Ground Shakes

READ: Psalm 18:1-6

In my distress, I called upon the Lord. —Psalm 18:6

Several days after a devastating earthquake in the San Francisco area, a young boy was seen rocking and swaying on the school playground. His principal asked him if he was okay, and the boy nodded yes and said, “I am moving like the earth, so if there’s another earthquake I won’t feel it.” He wanted to prepare himself for another shaking of the ground.

Sometimes after a trauma, we brace ourselves for what might be coming next. If we’ve had a phone call that brought bad news, every time the phone rings we feel panicky and wonder, What has happened now?

The “ground was shaking” for the psalmist David after King Saul tried to kill him (1 Sam. 19:10). He ran and hid. He thought death was next and told his friend Jonathan, “There is but a step between me and death” (20:3). He wrote, “The pangs of death surrounded me, and the floods of ungodliness made me afraid” (Ps. 18:4).

David cried to the Lord in his distress (v.6) and found that He was a stabilizer, One he could trust would always be with him. He said, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; . . . my stronghold” (v.2). The Lord will be that for us also when the ground shakes under us. — Anne Cetas

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,
A shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,
A shelter in the time of storm. —Charlesworth


To survive the storms of life, be anchored to the Rock of Ages.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #303  
Old 07-18-2009, 04:09 AM
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Default Jul. 18

July 18, 2009

A Donkey In Lion’s Clothing

READ: Matthew 7:15-23

Beware of false prophets . . . in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. —Matthew 7:15

In the final book of C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle, a devious ape named Shift finds an old lion’s skin and persuades a simpleminded donkey to put it on. Shift then claims that the disguised donkey is Aslan (the Lion who is the rightful king of Narnia) and forms an alliance with Narnia’s enemies. Together they set out to control and enslave the subjects of Narnia. Young King Tirian, however, can’t believe that Aslan would actually be involved with such brutal practices. So, with the help of the real Aslan, he defeats Shift and his counterfeit lion.

The Bible tells us that the devil is in the business of imitating God. His goal is “to be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:12-15). Through deception, Satan tries to replace Christ with a substitute. Jesus Himself warned us of false prophets and false christs: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matt. 24:4-5).

How can we tell the real Christ from the counterfeit? The only authentic Christ is the one described in Scripture. Anyone or anything that portrays a different Jesus than the One presented in the Bible is promoting “a donkey in lion’s clothing.” — Dennis Fisher

Beware of anyone who claims
To speak directly from the Lord
If what he says does not agree
With everything that’s in God’s Word. —Sper


God’s Word gives wisdom to discern what is false.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #304  
Old 07-19-2009, 05:06 AM
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Default Jul. 19

July 19, 2009

Till He Became Strong

READ: 2 Chronicles 26:3-15

His fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped till he became strong. —2 Chronicles 26:15

In George MacDonald’s fairy tale Lilith, giants live among normal people. These giants must conduct their daily affairs very carefully. When they sleep, their snoring is disruptive. When they turn over, houses may be crushed under their weight.

In the Bible, Uzziah became a “giant” of a man after becoming king at age 16. The keys to his success are recorded in 2 Chronicles 26. His father Amaziah set a good example for him (v.4). The prophet Zechariah instructed him (v.5). He had an army of fighting men and capable generals who helped him (vv.11-15). And God prospered him (v.5).

Clearly, King Uzziah became a “giant” through the Lord’s blessing. But after attaining success, he grew careless and stumbled badly. The clue to his demise is found in the phrase “he was marvelously helped till he became strong” (v.15).

Those last four words serve as a dire warning to us all. Uzziah’s “heart was lifted up, to his destruction” (v.16). He usurped the priestly duties and became leprous (vv.16-21).

We have all been marvelously helped—by our Lord God, by those He has given to set an example for us, and by those who serve alongside us. When we become strong, we must take heed, or we too will stumble. — Albert Lee

When all goes well and I feel strong,
Oh, help me, Lord, to see
That I must place my confidence
In You and not in me. —Anon.


I have never met a man who has given me as much trouble as myself. —D. L. Moody
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #305  
Old 07-20-2009, 05:25 AM
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Default Jul. 20

July 20, 2009

Small Step—Giant Leap

READ: Ephesians 4:17-24

Be renewed in the spirit of your mind. —Ephesians 4:23

In July 1969, I was at Fort Benning, Georgia, training to become a US Army officer. Infantry Officer Candidate School was intense and highly regimented with only rare moments of free time. Surprisingly, on the evening of July 20, we were ordered to our company Day Room, seated in front of a flickering television set, and told simply, “This is history.”

Amazed, we watched Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong become the first human to set foot on the moon as he said, “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” Our usual curfew was suspended and we talked late into the night—not only about what we had witnessed but about life, God, and eternity. Our demanding routine had been interrupted, and our attention was shifted to what truly matters.

All of us need to shift our focus on a daily basis. Maintaining a regular time alone with God allows us to step away from our demanding jobs, break the routine, and concentrate on Him through the Bible and prayer. Our thoughts and actions will change as we follow Paul’s urging to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Eph. 4:23).

What may seem like a small step can be a giant leap each day in our life of faith in Christ. — David C. McCasland

A small step is a giant leap
In growth and faith each day
If this step is your time with God
To read His Word and pray. —Sper


Each small step of faith is a giant step of growth.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #306  
Old 07-21-2009, 03:36 AM
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Default Jul. 21

July 21, 2009

Eternity In Our Hearts

READ: Ecclesiastes 3:9-17

He has put eternity in their hearts. —Ecclesiastes 3:11

I once came across a scene of beauty outside Anchorage, Alaska. Against a slate-gray sky, the water of an ocean inlet had a slight greenish cast, interrupted by small whitecaps. Soon I saw these were not whitecaps at all but whales—silvery white beluga whales in a pod feeding no more than 50 feet offshore. I stood with other onlookers, listening to the rhythmic motion of the sea, following the graceful, ghostly crescents of surfacing whales. The crowd was hushed, even reverent. For just a moment, nothing else mattered.

The author of Ecclesiastes would have understood the crowd’s response. He sees with dazzling clarity the beauty in the created world and that God “has put eternity in their hearts” (3:11). Such an elegant phrase applies to much in human experience. Surely it hints at a religious instinct. Our hearts perceive eternity in ways other than the religious.

Ecclesiastes presents both sides of life on this planet: the promise of pleasures so alluring that we may devote our lives to their pursuit, and the haunting realization that these pleasures ultimately do not satisfy. God’s tantalizing world is too big for us. Unless we acknowledge our limits and subject ourselves to God’s rule, unless we trust the Giver of all good gifts, we will end up in despair. — Philip Yancey

Amid the measured music
What watchful ear can hear
God’s voice amidst the garden?
Yet hush! for He is here! —Charles


To make the most of today, keep eternity in mind.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #307  
Old 07-22-2009, 03:41 AM
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July 22, 2009

Who Is Deaf?

READ: Isaiah 42:1-4,23-25

The Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save . . . . [But] your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. —Isaiah 59:1-2

A man told his doctor that he thought his wife was going deaf. The doctor told him to conduct a simple test. When the man reached the front door of his home, he called out, “Darling, is dinner ready?” Hearing no response, he walked inside and repeated himself. Still no reply. On the third try, when he was just behind her, he finally heard her say, “For the third time, yes!”

Similarly, the ancient Israelites thought God was deaf when the problem was actually with them. Isaiah was a prophet sent to warn God’s people about impending judgment, but his message fell on deaf ears. Instead of being God’s covenant people, who were to bring light to those in darkness and release them from the dungeons of sin (42:7), they refused to hear Him. “They would not walk in His ways, nor were they obedient to His law” (v.24).

The prophet explained why their prayers seemed to fall on deaf ears: “The Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God” (Isa. 59:1-2). One reason for not receiving answers from God is that sin may be blocking our hearing. Let’s examine ourselves carefully.

Our God isn’t hard of hearing. — C. P. Hia

Nothing between my soul and the Savior,
Naught of this world’s delusive dream;
I have renounced all sinful pleasure,
Jesus is mine; there’s nothing between. —Tindley


God speaks through His Word to those who listen with their heart.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #308  
Old 07-23-2009, 04:03 AM
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Default Jul. 23

July 23, 2009

Ready To Speak

READ: 1 Peter 3:13-22

Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. —1 Peter 3:15

Lee Eclov and his wife were at a coffee shop in Estes Park, Colorado. At another table sat four men, one of whom was mocking Christianity and the resurrection of Jesus.

Lee could sense the Lord telling him to respond. But his fear kept him from doing so. Finally, he knew he had to make a stand. So he walked over to the men and began giving historical evidence for the resurrection.

How do we respond when we’re in a similar situation? The apostle Peter encouraged his readers to make a commitment to stand up for Jesus, especially during extreme suffering. This commitment meant not remaining speechless when circumstances warranted them to defend their faith. He said, “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). Their readiness to answer required them to know God’s Word. They were to respond in godly meekness and fear, so that their persecutors would be ashamed of their own conduct.

Had Lee Eclov remained silent or responded rudely, the cause of Christ would have suffered. Lee later wrote, “God has a way of flushing us out of our quiet little places, and when He does we must be ready to speak for Him.” — Marvin Williams

When people wonder about our faith,
What answer will we give?
We’ll tell of Jesus who bore our sins
And shows us how to live. —Fitzhugh


To be silent about the Savior and His salvation is a dreadful sin of omission.
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  #309  
Old 07-24-2009, 03:50 AM
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Default Jul. 24

July 24, 2009

Walk The Walk

READ: 1 Timothy 4:6-16

Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. —1 Timothy 4:12

The preacher was speaking tongue-in-cheek when he complained, “My wife is absolutely unreasonable. She actually expects me to live everything I preach!” It’s so much easier to tell someone what is right than to practice it personally.

When my son and I play golf together, I can tell him exactly how to play the hole and hit the shots. But my own ability to hit those shots is sadly limited. I suppose this is what is meant when we refer to athletes who “talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.” Anyone can talk a good game, but actually performing well is far more difficult.

This is particularly true in the challenge of following Jesus Christ. It is not enough for us to talk about faith—we must live out our faith. Perhaps that is why Paul, after giving instructions to his young protégé Timothy about how to preach, included this reminder: “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. . . . Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them” (1 Tim. 4:12,15).

As Christ’s followers, we do not have the luxury of just talking a good game—we must live lives of exemplary faith in Jesus Christ. We must walk the walk. — Bill Crowder

Do others know from how we act
At home, at work, at play,
That we have Jesus in our heart
And live for Him each day? —D. De Haan


We please God when our walk matches our talk.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #310  
Old 07-25-2009, 04:18 AM
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July 25, 2009

Change Your Mind

READ: Acts 26:12-23

. . . repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. —Acts 26:20

One of my favorite Peanuts comic strips features Charlie Brown saying to Snoopy, “I hear you’re writing a book on theology. I hope you have a good title.” Snoopy responds, “I have the perfect title: Has It Ever Occurred To You That You Might Be Wrong?”

Snoopy’s title reminds us that our understanding of God and what He requires of us is sometimes twisted. Because our wrong beliefs lead to wrong behavior, we need to “repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance” (Acts 26:20).

The Greek word translated “repent” is metanoeo, which means “change your mind.” As Paul indicated, repentance does not mean just nodding in polite agreement with God, and continuing the same way we were going. When we turn our thoughts toward God—when we truly agree with Him about what is right—our behavior will follow. Like a car, we go in the direction we are pointed. So, when we truly turn our minds and hearts toward God, our actions change accordingly.

Instead of going happily along, assuming that our choices are right, we need to regularly stop and ask ourselves Snoopy’s question. As Paul taught, it is only when we are willing to admit being wrong that we can be certain of being right with God. — Julie Ackerman Link

We must acknowledge when we’re wrong,
Confessing it as sin,
If we would know God’s power to heal
And cleanse us from within. —Fasick


Either we conform our desires to the truth or we conform the truth to our desires. —Os Guinness
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