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  #351  
Old 08-27-2009, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by HardCory View Post
READ: 2 Samuel 6:12-23
This is a great story, I lead worship with 1st through 5th graders, naturally, the older ones start to get slightly embarrassed to jump and dance for the Lord. So I shared this story to encourage them to "dance with all of their might" and "celebrate before the Lord." It definitely helped.
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  #352  
Old 08-29-2009, 03:17 AM
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Default Aug. 28

August 28, 2009

“Cast Down” Sheep

READ: Psalm 23

He restores my soul. —Psalm 23:3

In his classic book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, W. Phillip Keller gives a striking picture of the care and gentleness of a shepherd. In verse 3 when David says, “He restores my soul,” he uses language every shepherd would understand.

Sheep are built in such a way that if they fall over on their side and then onto their back, it is very difficult for them to get up again. They flail their legs in the air, bleat, and cry. After a few hours on their backs, gas begins to collect in their stomachs, the stomach hardens, the air passage is cut off, and the sheep will eventually suffocate. This is referred to as a “cast down” position.

When a shepherd restores a cast down sheep, he reassures it, massages its legs to restore circulation, gently turns the sheep over, lifts it up, and holds it so it can regain its equilibrium.

What a picture of what God wants to do for us! When we are on our backs, flailing because of guilt, grief, or grudges, our loving Shepherd reassures us with His grace, lifts us up, and holds us until we’ve gained our spiritual equilibrium.

If you’ve been cast down for any reason, God is the only one who can help you get on your feet again. He will restore your confidence, joy, and strength. — Marvin Williams

This Shepherd of mine knows each trial, each snare,
And at just the right moment my Lord will be there,
On His shoulders to carry each burden for me—
Yes, the Lord is my Shepherd, and always shall be. —Henry


The weak and the helpless are in the Good Shepherd’s special care.
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  #353  
Old 08-29-2009, 03:17 AM
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Default Aug. 29

August 29, 2009

The Power Of Love

READ: Zephaniah 3:14-20

The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love. —Zephaniah 3:17

The documentary film Young@Heart gives a rollicking look at a senior chorus of 24 singers whose average age is 80. Filled with humor and poignant moments, the film includes this remarkable singing group’s deeply moving performance at a New England prison. When the concert concludes, the singers walk into the audience, greeting the surprised prisoners with handshakes and hugs.

The inmates’ unexpected amazement at this personal touch reminds me of the book of Zephaniah in which the prophet brings a powerful message of God’s presence and love to His people during a dark time: “The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (3:17).

According to Bible teacher Henrietta Mears, Zephaniah “begins with sorrow but ends with singing. The first of the book is full of sadness and gloom, but the last contains one of the sweetest songs of love in the Old Testament.”

God’s love for us is always astonishing, especially when it touches us at a low ebb of life. During our darkest times, the Lord comes to us with His joy, His love, and His song. — David C. McCasland

If your heart is filled with sadness,
Or you struggle with despair,
Turn to God, who’ll bring you gladness
When you sense His love and care. —Sper


In God’s garden of love, you are His forget-me-not.
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  #354  
Old 08-30-2009, 01:49 AM
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Default Aug. 30

August 30, 2009

Like A Diamond In The Sky

READ: Psalm 8

You have crowned him with glory and honor. —Psalm 8:5

Astronomers discovered a star in the sky that has cooled and compressed into a giant diamond. The largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found on Earth is the Cullinan Diamond—at over 3,100 carats. So how many carats are in the cosmic diamond?—10 billion trillion trillion carats!

In our world, diamonds are prized for their rarity, beauty, and durability, and we often hear it said, “Diamonds are forever.” But God isn’t enamored with diamonds. To Him there is something far more precious.

Thousands of years ago, David marveled at the great value God had set on human beings: “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor” (Ps. 8:4-5).

In fact, God placed such a high value on us that it cost Him dearly to buy our redemption. The purchase price was the precious blood of His Son, Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19).

If God places such a high value on us, we should also place a high value on the people He has brought into our lives. Bring them before the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to show you how each is more priceless than the most costly jewel in the universe. — Dennis Fisher

Oh, teach me what it cost Thee
To make a sinner whole;
And teach me, Savior, teach me
The value of a soul! —Bennett


We are more precious to Jesus than the costliest diamond.
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  #355  
Old 08-31-2009, 02:21 AM
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Default Aug. 31

August 31, 2009

Reminders Of Love

READ: John 19:1-7, 16-18

God is love. —1 John 4:8

After the US entered World War II in 1941, Estelle tried to talk her boyfriend Sidney out of joining the Army. But he enlisted and began his training in April of the following year. For the next 3 years he wrote her love letters—525 in all. Then in March 1945, she learned that her beloved fiancé had been killed in combat.

Although Estelle did eventually marry, the memories of her first love lived in her heart. To honor that love, she published a book of Sidney’s wartime correspondence more than 60 years later.

Like those letters, the Lord has left us with reminders of His love—the Scriptures. He says: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you” (Jer. 31:3).

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love” (John 15:9).

The Bible also tells us that “Christ . . . loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Eph. 5:25).

“[Jesus] gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us” (Titus 2:14).

“God is love” (1 John 4:8).

Read God’s Word often and be reminded that Jesus loves you and died for you. — Anne Cetas

With lovingkindness I have drawn you,
Proving that My love is true;
Do not neglect to read of that love,
Written in My Word for you. —Verway


Nothing can compare to the love of God.
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  #356  
Old 09-01-2009, 01:42 AM
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Default Sep. 1

September 1, 2009

Running A Marathon

READ: Philippians 3:12-21

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

The Comrades Marathon, which began in 1921, is the oldest ultra-marathon. Covering 90 km (56 miles), it is held annually in South Africa. Bruce Fordyce completely dominated this marathon in the 1980s, winning it nine times between 1981 and 1990. His 1986 record of 5 hours 24 minutes and 7 seconds stood for 21 years before it was finally broken in 2007. It’s amazing to me that he has continued to run in this race every year.

In a sense, we as Christians are all in a marathon. It takes endurance to run and finish the race of life. When the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, he spoke of how he was “reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (3:13) and pressing on “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (v.14).

Our Lord Jesus has set an example of how to run life’s marathon. The Bible tells us that Jesus “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). Despite “hostility from sinners,” He completed His race (v.3).

The secret to finishing well is to look forward to the joy that awaits us after life’s race—eternal life with Him. — C. P. Hia

I ran to meet Him when I heard His call—
The Savior’s arms were open to receive;
And I’m still running since I gave my all,
Inviting others also to believe. —Hess

The Christian’s race is not a competitive event but an endurance run.
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  #357  
Old 09-02-2009, 03:41 AM
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September 2, 2009

Patience In Prison

READ: Genesis 40:1-14,23

[God] Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” —Hebrews 13:5

Have you ever noticed that other people’s forgetfulness can try your patience? As a college professor, I find my patience stretched when a student forgets to do an assignment that’s clearly spelled out in the syllabus.

In the Old Testament story of Joseph, we see a far worse example of forgetfulness—and we can only imagine how he struggled to be patient as a result.

While in prison, Joseph interpreted a dream of the king’s butler, which led to the man’s release. Joseph told him, “Remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house” (Gen. 40:14). It would seem that after Joseph had helped the butler gain freedom, remembering him would have been high on his “to do” list. But it was 2 years before the butler spoke to Pharaoh about Joseph (41:9). Finally, Joseph was freed.

Imagine the impatience Joseph felt as he waited each day in that dungeon (40:15)—perhaps thinking his only chance at freedom had passed. Yet Joseph had a resource: He had God’s presence (39:21), as do we (Heb. 13:5). When you’re feeling impatient, lean on the God who is always with you. He’ll turn your impatience into patient trust. — Dave Branon

Tune your anxious heart to patience,
Walk by faith where sight is dim;
Loving God, be calm and trustful
And leave everything to Him. —Chambers

Patience means awaiting God’s time without doubting God’s love.
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  #358  
Old 09-03-2009, 03:18 AM
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September 3, 2009

Journeys

READ: Philippians 1:8-18

I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel. —Philippians 1:12

On a map in the back of my Bible, each of Paul’s missionary journeys is shown by a colored line with arrows indicating his direction of travel. On the first three, the arrows lead away from his place of departure and back to a point of return. On the fourth journey, however, Paul was traveling as a prisoner, bound for trial before Caesar, and the arrows point only one direction, ending in Rome.

We might be tempted to call this an unfortunate time in Paul’s life, if it were not for his view that God was leading and using him just as much on this journey as He did on the previous three.

He wrote: “I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the Word without fear” (Phil. 1:12-14).

Even when our journey in life is marked by confinement and limitations, we can be sure that the Lord will encourage others through us as we speak His Word and trust in Him. — David C. McCasland

The journeys that we take in life,
Though unexpected they may be,
If we commit to follow Christ,
His work through us the world will see. —Sper

For the Christian, what looks like a detour may actually be a new road to blessing.
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  #359  
Old 09-04-2009, 03:33 AM
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September 4, 2009

Einstein’s God

READ: Psalm 19:1-6

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. —Psalm 19:1

When the great physicist Albert Einstein was asked if he believed in God, he responded: “We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. . . . That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human beings toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.” Although Einstein marveled at the design he saw in nature, he did not believe in a personal Creator.

The psalmist shared Einstein’s sense of awe about nature but took the next step and believed in the Designer behind the design: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Ps. 19:1).

The wonder we feel as we behold our universe should serve as a road sign pointing to the One who created it. The Scriptures tell us, “All things were made through [Christ], and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3).

Are you struggling in your beliefs? Look up at the stars tonight. In the sky is crafted an amazing road sign pointing to the Designer behind the design. — Dennis Fisher

God wrote His autograph
Upon the sky last night,
In the stars I never saw
A signature so bright! —Schoeberlein

Creation’s design points to the Master Designer.
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  #360  
Old 09-05-2009, 04:09 AM
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Default Sep. 5

September 5, 2009

Life Is Good

READ: Romans 8:31-39

I am persuaded that [nothing] shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38-39

While shopping in a nearby tourist town, I wandered into a small store stuffed with clothing and other items all marked with the slogan “Life is good.” Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that simple truth.

When the work of earning a living, raising a family, maintaining health and fitness, and managing relationships starts to overwhelm us, it’s good to think about how small our part in the universe really is. While we obsess over our work, God quietly does His. He keeps the earth rotating, the planets revolving, and the seasons changing. Without any help from us, He makes the sun rise every morning and set every evening. Every night He changes the pattern of lights in the sky. He turns out the light so we can sleep, and turns it on again so we can see to work and play. Without lifting a finger, we get to enjoy sunrises and sunsets. Every year the seasons change on schedule. We don’t need to pray about it or tell God that it’s time to send spring. All that He does reminds us He is good (Acts 14:17).

Life will at times be difficult, often it is painful, and for now it is imperfect. But still it is good, for in all these things nothing can separate us from God’s lavish expressions of love (Rom. 8:39). — Julie Ackerman Link

Thank You, loving Father, for the good gift of life. Forgive me for making it complicated for myself and others. I thank You and praise You for all You do so that I can enjoy so much. Amen.

God’s grace is immeasurable; His mercy inexhaustible; His peace inexpressible.
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