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  #371  
Old 09-16-2009, 11:09 PM
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Default Sep. 16

September 16, 2009

Things Said In Secret

READ: Ephesians 4:25-32

The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious. —Ecclesiastes 10:12

Some say that anonymity is the last refuge for cowards. Judging from mail and comments I’ve read that have been submitted anonymously, I would agree. People hiding behind the screen of anonymity or a false identity feel the freedom to launch angry, hurtful tirades. Anonymity allows them to be unkind without having to take responsibility for their words.

Whenever I am tempted to write something anonymously because I don’t want to be identified with my own words, I stop and reconsider. If I don’t want my name attached to it, I probably shouldn’t be saying it. Then I do one of two things: I either toss it out or I rewrite it in a way that makes it helpful rather than hurtful.

According to Ephesians, our words should edify and impart grace (4:29). If I’m unwilling to use my name, there’s reason to believe that my motive is to hurt, not to help.

Whenever you’re tempted to say something in secret—perhaps to a family member, co-worker, or your pastor—consider why you don’t want your name to be identified with your words. After all, if you don’t want to be identified with your words, God probably doesn’t either. He is gracious and slow to anger (Ex. 34:6), and we should be the same. — Julie Ackerman Link

O Lord, help us to turn aside
From words that spring from selfish pride,
For You would have Your children one
In praise and love for Your dear Son. —D. De Haan

Anonymity can be a coward’s way of hiding behind hurtful words.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #372  
Old 09-17-2009, 03:07 AM
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September 17, 2009

The Thinking Christian

READ: 2 Cor. 10:1-11

Casting down arguments and . . . bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. —2 Corinthians 10:5

David McCullough’s biography of John Adams, one of America’s founding fathers and early presidents, describes him as “both a devout Christian and an independent thinker, and he saw no conflict in that.” I am struck by that statement, for it carries a note of surprise, suggesting that Christians are somehow naïve or unenlightened, and that the idea of a “thinking Christian” is a contradiction.

Nothing could be further from the truth. One of the great benefits of salvation is that it causes the believer’s mind to be guarded by the peace of God (Phil. 4:7), which can foster clear thinking, discernment, and wisdom. Paul described this in his second letter to Corinth when he wrote that in Christ we are equipped for “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).

To sift through an argument wisely, to embrace the clarity of the knowledge of God, and to align our thinking with the mind of Christ are valuable skills when living in a world lacking in discernment. These skills enable us to use our minds to represent Christ. Every Christian should be a thinking Christian. Are you? — Bill Crowder

If you grasp the message of God’s Word,
If you’ve learned to think things through,
Then you can defend the Christian faith
With wise words both clear and true. —Branon

Faith was never intended as a substitute for intelligence.
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  #373  
Old 09-18-2009, 12:42 AM
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Default Sep. 18

September 18, 2009

Later On

READ: Genesis 13:10-18

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. —Romans 8:18

It seems there are two kinds of people in this world: those who have an eternal perspective and those who are preoccupied with the present.

One is absorbed with the permanent; the other with the passing. One stores up treasure in heaven; the other accumulates it here on earth. One stays with a challenging marriage because this isn’t all there is; another looks for happiness in another mate, believing this life is all there is. One is willing to suffer poverty, hunger, indignity, and shame because of “the glory which shall be revealed” (Rom. 8:18); another believes that happiness is being rich and famous. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Abraham had an “other world” perspective. That’s what enabled him to give up a piece of well-watered land by the Jordan (Gen. 13). He knew that God had something better for him later on. The Lord told him to look in every direction as far as he could see and then said that his family would someday have it all. What a land grant! And God promised that his descendants would be as numerous “as the dust” (v.16).

That’s an outlook many people can’t understand. They go for all the gusto right now. But God’s people have another point of view. They know that God has something better later on! — David H. Roper

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today. —Miller

Live for Jesus, and you’ll live for eternity.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #374  
Old 09-19-2009, 06:38 AM
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Default Sep. 19

September 19, 2009

A Much Greater Plan

READ: Luke 5:1-11

Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” —Luke 5:10

Recently our family was in Erie, Pennsylvania, visiting a relative. While there, we had a chance to swim in the community swimming pool. It was fun, but our host wanted to take us to Lake Erie to enjoy the sandy beaches, the cresting waves, and the beauty of the setting sun. My children protested because they wanted to swim in the pool. But I tried to get them to see that going to the beaches of Presque Isle would be a much greater plan.

I believe Jesus wanted Simon Peter to see He had something much greater in mind for him—he would “catch men” (Luke 5:10) instead of fish. Jesus told Peter to go to the deeper water and let down his nets for a catch (v.4). Peter had just returned from an unsuccessful night of fishing, but at Jesus’ command he obeyed and said, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net” (v.5). Humbled by the miraculous catch of fish, Peter bowed in awe before the Lord, who then told him that from that point on He wanted him to fish for men. Peter left everything and followed Him.

God’s greater plan for us may not be to leave our occupation. But it’s His plan that we use our time, resources, and careers to bring others into the kingdom. — Marvin Williams

For Further Study
To learn how to share Jesus’ love with others,
read the online booklet The Compassion of Jesus
at www.discoveryseries.org/q0208

The next person you meet may need to meet Christ.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #375  
Old 09-20-2009, 05:31 AM
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September 20, 2009

The Others

READ: Hebrews 11:32-40

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. . . . Great is your reward in heaven. —Matthew 5:11-12

When I was growing up, I often spent a week each summer with my grandparents. Many afternoons I would lie in the backyard hammock and read books I found in Grandpa’s bookcase. One was Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It was heavy reading for a young girl, but I was absorbed by the detailed accounts of Christian martyrs, believers who were told to deny their faith in Christ but refused—thus suffering horrific deaths.

Hebrews 11 tells similar stories. After listing the familiar names of those who demonstrated immense faith in God, the chapter tells of the torture and death of people referred to simply as “others” (vv.35-36). While their names are not mentioned, verse 38 pays them this tribute: “The world was not worthy” of them. They died boldly for their faith in Jesus.

Today, we hear of persecuted Christians around the world, yet many of us have not been tested to that extent. When I examine my own faith, I wonder how I would respond to the prospect of martyrdom. I hope I would have the attitude of Paul, who said that although “chains and tribulations” awaited him (Acts 20:23), he looked forward to finishing life’s race “with joy” (v.24). Are we facing life with that kind of trusting attitude? — Cindy Hess Kasper

When pressures mount because we walk
The path of truth and right,
We can rejoice to know that we
Are pleasing in God’s sight. —D. De Haan

The way to have joy in persecution is to find your joy in Jesus.
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  #376  
Old 09-21-2009, 06:08 AM
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Default Sep. 21

September 21, 2009

Whitewashed Tombs

READ: Matthew 23:1-15

You . . . have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. —Matthew 23:23

As I study the life of Jesus, one fact consistently surprises me: the group that made Jesus angriest was one that He outwardly resembled. Jesus obeyed the Mosaic Law and quoted leading Pharisees (Mark 9:11-12; 12:28-34). Yet He singled out the Pharisees for His strongest attacks. He called them serpents, a brood of vipers, fools, and hypocrites (Matt. 23:13-33).

What provoked such outbursts? The Pharisees devoted their lives to following God, gave away an exact tithe (v.23), obeyed every law in the Torah, and sent out missionaries to gain new converts (v.15). Against the relativists and secularists of the first century, they held firm to traditional values.

Yet Jesus’ fierce denunciations of the Pharisees show how seriously He viewed the toxic threat of legalism. Its dangers are elusive, slippery, hard to pin down. I believe these dangers remain a great threat today.

Jesus condemned the emphasis on externals: “You cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence” (v.25). Expressions of love for God had become ways to impress others.

The proof of spiritual maturity is not how “pure” you are but your awareness of your impurity. That very awareness opens the door to God’s grace. — Philip Yancey

Thinking It Through
According to Romans 7:18-24, what is the
apostle Paul’s view of his own spiritual condition?
What did Paul say is the answer? (Rom. 7:25–8:4).

Legalism destroys our loving relationship with God.
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  #377  
Old 09-21-2009, 11:36 PM
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September 22, 2009

Everyone Sings!

READ: Revelation 5:8-14

Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever! —Revelation 5:13

Each summer I enjoy attending many of the free outdoor concerts presented in our city. During one performance by a brass band, several of the members briefly introduced themselves and told how much they enjoyed practicing and playing together.

The pleasure of sharing music in community has drawn people together for centuries. As followers of Christ, whether we are in small groups, choirs, or congregations, bringing praise to God is one of the key elements in our own expression of faith. And one day, we’ll be singing in a concert that defies imagination.

In a sweeping vision of the tumultuous events at the end of time, John records a chorus of praise that begins with a few and swells to a company beyond number. In honor of the Lamb of God, who with His blood has redeemed people from every tribe and nation (Rev. 5:9), the song begins at the throne of God, is joined by multiplied thousands of angels, and finally includes every creature in heaven, earth, and sea. Together we will sing, “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (v.13).

What a choir! What a concert! What a privilege to start rehearsing today! — David C. McCasland

Give me a spirit of praise, dear Lord,
That I may adore Your name,
Sing praises from a grateful heart
To the One who is always the same. —Dawe

Those who know Christ now will sing His praise forever.
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  #378  
Old 09-22-2009, 11:15 PM
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September 23, 2009

Julie’s Prayer

READ: John 14:12-14

Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. —John 14:13

In 2008, the Day of Discovery film crew traveled to China on a special assignment—to retrace the life of missionary Eric Liddell, the 1924 Olympic gold medalist whose story was told in the movie Chariots of Fire. The crew took with them Eric’s three daughters, Patricia, Heather, and Maureen—allowing them to revisit some of the places where the two older sisters had lived in China. Also along on the trip was their elderly Aunt Louise.

On one occasion, after the entourage had arrived in Beijing, they had to walk quite a distance with their luggage. As they did, Aunt Louise grew short of breath. Julie Richardson, a Day of Discovery crew member, sat down beside her, put her hand on her knee, and prayed simply, “Dear Jesus, help Aunt Louise to breathe.” Immediately, she began to catch her breath.

Later, Heather retold the story and shared that Julie’s prayer had rekindled her faith. Julie’s simple act of faith reminded Heather of the continual connection we have with Jesus—a reality she had set aside in her life.

Sometimes we need reminders that God is near. When trials come and God seems far away, remember Julie’s prayer and the truth that we are just one prayer from connecting with the God of the universe (John 14:13). — Dave Branon

God answers prayer, it is His sovereign way
To freely give His blessings day by day;
One earnest plea and lo! from heaven’s throne
The answer comes, for God has heard His own. —Anon.

God delights in the earnest prayers of His people.
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  #379  
Old 09-23-2009, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HardCory View Post
September 18, 2009

Later On

READ: Genesis 13:10-18

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. —Romans 8:18

It seems there are two kinds of people in this world: those who have an eternal perspective and those who are preoccupied with the present.

One is absorbed with the permanent; the other with the passing. One stores up treasure in heaven; the other accumulates it here on earth. One stays with a challenging marriage because this isn’t all there is; another looks for happiness in another mate, believing this life is all there is. One is willing to suffer poverty, hunger, indignity, and shame because of “the glory which shall be revealed” (Rom. 8:18); another believes that happiness is being rich and famous. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Abraham had an “other world” perspective. That’s what enabled him to give up a piece of well-watered land by the Jordan (Gen. 13). He knew that God had something better for him later on. The Lord told him to look in every direction as far as he could see and then said that his family would someday have it all. What a land grant! And God promised that his descendants would be as numerous “as the dust” (v.16).

That’s an outlook many people can’t understand. They go for all the gusto right now. But God’s people have another point of view. They know that God has something better later on! — David H. Roper

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today. —Miller

Live for Jesus, and you’ll live for eternity.
I fell behind reading these, but even that was God's timing, I needed to read this one this morning.

Thanks HardCory for posting these.
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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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  #380  
Old 09-23-2009, 11:12 PM
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Default Sep. 24

September 24, 2009

Contentment

READ: Matthew 6:24-34

No one can serve two masters. —Matthew 6:24

A gripping photograph of an old woman sitting in a pile of garbage made me ponder. She was smiling as she ate a packet of food she had foraged from the garbage dump. It took so little for the woman to be satisfied.

There is much talk about a struggling economy and the cost of living going higher. And many are getting increasingly anxious about their livelihood. Is it possible to heed our Lord Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:25, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on”?

Our Lord was not saying that we don’t need to work, that we don’t need to eat, or that we shouldn’t bother about how we dress. He was warning against those things becoming so important that we become slaves of money instead of trusting Him. “No one can serve two masters,” He said (v.24).

Seeking first “the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (v.33) is recognizing that no matter how much effort we expend to make a better life for ourselves and our families, ultimately it is the Lord who takes care of our needs. And since God is our heavenly Father, we will have enough. — C. P. Hia

Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there. —Havergal

Money serves us well if we receive it as God’s provision.
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