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Old 10-14-2009, 11:09 PM
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Default Oct. 15

October 15, 2009

Conflict Resolution

READ: Philippians 4:1-9

I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. —Philippians 4:2

Today is observed in many countries as International Conflict Resolution Day. Its purpose is to encourage people to use mediation and arbitration rather than the legal system to settle their differences. Because we as followers of Christ are not immune to conflict, we need to learn how to resolve our disagreements in ways that honor the Lord.

It has been said that “church fights are the worst fights,” perhaps because they break out among people who profess to believe in unity and love. Many Christians have been so hurt by a fellow believer that they walk away from the church and never return.

Euodia and Syntyche are mentioned by name in the Bible and urged to resolve their differences: “Be of the same mind in the Lord” (Phil. 4:2). Instead of leaving them alone to settle their dispute, Paul appealed to a trusted fellow worker to “help these women who labored with me in the gospel” (v.3). In this same context, Paul urged the Philippians to bring their requests to God, noting that prayer brings the peace of God (v.7) and a sense of His abiding presence (v.9).

Fractured relationships in a Christian community are a community responsibility. In the midst of hurts and differences, we can encourage, listen, and pray. — David C. McCasland

For Further Study
For biblical advice on reconciling relationships, read What Do You Do With A Broken Relationship? on the Web at www.discoveryseries.org/q0703

Forgiveness is the glue that repairs broken relationships.
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  #402  
Old 10-16-2009, 03:27 AM
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Default Oct. 16

October 16, 2009

The Defeat Of Death

READ: 1 Thess. 4:15-18

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. —1 Corinthians 15:57

Christian faith ought to make a difference in how we live from day to day. But the final test of our trust in the gospel is how we react in the face of death. When we attend a memorial service for a departed friend who loved the Lord Jesus, we gather to honor a believer whose stalwart trust has richly blessed the lives of those who knew him. The words spoken are more an expression of praise to God than a tribute to an admired fellow pilgrim. The service is a God-glorifying testimony to our Savior’s victory over death and the grave (1 Cor. 15:54-57).

How different from the funeral service of Charles Bradlaugh, a belligerent British atheist. Writer Arthur Porritt recalls: “No prayer was said at the grave. Indeed, not a single word was uttered. The remains, placed in a light coffin, were lowered into the earth in a quite unceremonious fashion as if carrion were being hustled out of sight. . . . I came away heart-frozen. It only then dawned on me that loss of faith in the continuity of human personality after death gives death an appalling victory.”

Christians, however, believe in a face-to-face fellowship with our Lord after death and the eventual resurrection of our bodies (1 Cor. 15:42-55; 1 Thess. 4:15-18). Does your faith rejoice in victory over death? — Vernon C. Grounds

From earth’s wide bounds and ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl stream in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost— Alleluia! Alleluia! —How

Because Christ is alive, we too shall live.
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  #403  
Old 10-17-2009, 02:40 AM
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Default Oct. 17

October 17, 2009

On Shoulders Of Giants

READ: Joshua 1:1-9

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. —Joshua 1:5

Giants hold a special place in our lore—both historical and literary. From the real giant Goliath to the fictional giant of Jack and the Beanstalk fame, we are fascinated by these larger-than-life characters.

Sometimes we use the word giant to honor ordinary-size people who have done extraordinary things. One example is the 17th-century physicist Sir Isaac Newton. A committed Christian, he credited his success to other “giants” who had gone before. “If I have seen a little further,” he said, “it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Indeed, Newton became a giant on whose shoulders later scientists stood—even as they used his observations in the conquest of space flight.

When God commanded Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, Joshua certainly had a giant’s shoulders to stand on. He had watched Moses’ leadership for 40 years, and now he would put what he had learned into action.

Joshua had another advantage—his walk with God sustained his life’s mission. Therefore, he had both Moses’ example and God’s promised presence as he led Israel.

Looking for help as you face the future? Look for a giant to follow. And never underestimate the importance of your walk with God. — Dennis Fisher

There is a destiny that makes us brothers:
None goes his way alone;
All that we send into the lives of others
Comes back into our own. —Markham

A good example is someone who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
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  #404  
Old 10-18-2009, 05:17 PM
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October 18, 2009

Teach Your Children Well

READ: Deuteronomy 11:13-21

You shall teach [God’s Word] to your children . . . when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. —Deut. 11:19

The Sleeping Beauty Waltz, the 1812 Overture, and The Nutcracker Suite were all part of the music of my childhood.

Sometimes a narrator told stories or—as in the case of Tubby the Tuba and Peter and the Wolf—introduced my sisters and me to the sounds of different instruments. In their desire to pass on their love for music, my parents used this method as a teaching tool. It worked! Weaving the classic tales with classical tunes made a powerful impact on us.

When an adult wants to impart important information to a child, it’s often best related in a story because it is more easily understood and enjoyed. Telling children the stories in God’s Word is especially crucial because the Bible’s enduring truth can shape character and show consequences of actions (1 Cor. 10:11). Tiny seeds of faith can be cultivated in fertile soil and help children to see how God has worked in the lives of His followers throughout history. Bible stories also show how God is intimately involved in our lives.

What we have seen God do for us and what He has done for His people throughout history must be passed on to the next generation (Deut. 11:1-21). Their future depends on it. Teach your children well. — Cindy Hess Kasper

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard! —Crosby

The character of your children tomorrow depends on what you put into their hearts today.
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  #405  
Old 10-19-2009, 11:14 PM
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Default Oct. 19

October 19, 2009

Retirement Time

READ: Matthew 16:24-28

Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. —Matthew 16:25

After working for 40 years as a teacher, Jane Hanson retired. She and her husband were looking forward to the arrival of their first grandchild.

Retirement is that time of life when many people simply relax, travel, or enjoy hobbies. But Jane heard about a ministry to at-risk youth in a city near her home, and she knew she had to get involved. “I realized there are kids just waiting, and I could make a difference,” she said. She began teaching English to a young Liberian man who had been forced to flee his home country because of civil war. Though he was in a safe environment, he didn’t understand the new language. Of this ministry opportunity, Jane said with a smile, “I could just go shopping to stay busy, but what fun would that be?”

Jane is making a difference. Perhaps she has learned a little of what Jesus meant when He said, “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25). Giving ourselves to the Lord through helping others takes self-denial, yet one day Jesus will reward that effort (v.27).

Let’s follow Jane’s example of love for God and others—no matter what our stage of life may be. — Anne Cetas

Oh, let us be faithful to Jesus,
The faith we confessed let’s renew,
And ask Him this question each morning:
“Lord, what will You have me to do?” —Pangborn

Work for the Lord—His retirement plan is out of this world.
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  #406  
Old 10-19-2009, 11:15 PM
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October 20, 2009

How To Help Those Who Hurt

READ: 1 Corinthians 13

Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. —1 Corinthians 13:13

When I have asked suffering people, “Who helped you?” not one person has mentioned a PhD from a prestigious seminary or a famous philosopher. All of us have the same capacity to help those who hurt.

No one can package or bottle the “appropriate” response to suffering. If you go to the sufferers themselves, some will recall a friend who cheerily helped distract them from their illness. Others think such an approach insulting. Some want honest, straightforward talk; others find such discussion unbearably depressing.

There is no magic cure for a person in pain. Mainly, such a person needs love, for love instinctively detects what is needed. Jean Vanier, who founded the L’Arche movement for the developmentally disabled, says: “Wounded people who have been broken by suffering and sickness ask for only one thing: a heart that loves and commits itself to them, a heart full of hope for them.”

Such a love may be painful for us. But real love, the apostle Paul reminds us, “Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7).

As is so often His pattern, God uses very ordinary people to bring about His healing. Those who suffer don’t need our knowledge and wisdom, they need our love. — Philip Yancey

O brother man, fold to thy heart thy brother!
Where pity dwells, the peace of God is there;
To worship rightly is to love each other,
Each smile a hymn, each kindly deed a prayer. —Whittier

They do not truly love who do not show their love. —Shakespeare
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  #407  
Old 10-20-2009, 11:07 PM
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Default Oct. 21

October 21, 2009

Who Goes There?

READ: John 10:1-6

When he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him. —John 10:4

Last fall my wife, Carolyn, and I were driving up a winding mountain road near our home in Idaho when we came across a large flock of sheep moving down the road toward us. A lone shepherd with his dogs was in the vanguard, leading his flock out of summer pasture into the lowlands and winter quarters.

We pulled to the side of the road and waited while the flock swirled around us. We watched them until they were out of sight, then I wondered: Do sheep fear change, movement, new places?

Like most older folks, I like the “fold”—the old, familiar places. But all is shifting and changing these days; I’m being led out, away from familiar surroundings and into a vast unknown. What new limits will overtake me in the coming days? What nameless fears will awaken? Jesus’ words from John 10 come to mind: “When he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them” (v.4).

We may well be dismayed at what life has for us this year and next, but our Shepherd knows the way we’re taking. And He goes before. He will not lead us down paths too dangerous or too arduous where He cannot help us. He knows our limits. He knows the way to green pasture and good water; all we have to do is follow. — David H. Roper

Child of My love, fear not the unknown morrow,
Dread not the new demand life makes of thee;
Thy ignorance doth hold no cause for sorrow
Since what thou knowest not is known to Me. —Exley

Our unknown future is secure in the hands of our all-knowing God.
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  #408  
Old 10-21-2009, 11:08 PM
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October 22, 2009

Failing Memory

READ: Psalm 119:33-40

Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way. —Psalm 119:37

A New York Times article linked the increase of computer storage with the decrease of data in the human mind. Our electronic aids now remember phone numbers, driving directions, and other information we used to learn by repeated use. In schools, memorization and oral recitation are disappearing from the curriculum. We have become, according to the Times, “products of a culture that does not enforce the development of memory skills.”

Yet never have we as followers of Christ been in greater need of hiding God’s Word in our hearts (Ps. 119:9-11). Scripture memory is more than a helpful mental exercise. The goal is to saturate our minds with God’s truth so that our lives will conform to His ways. The psalmist wrote: “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. . . . Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way” (Ps. 119:33,37).

Why not begin committing Scripture to memory? Daily consistency and review are keys to success. And just like physical exercise, this spiritual discipline is enhanced when done with a small group or with a friend.

Let’s not forget to remember and follow the life-giving wisdom of God’s Word. — David C. McCasland

God’s Word will change your life
If you will do your part
To read, to study, and obey,
And hide it in your heart. —Sper

Let the Bible fill your mind, rule your heart, and guide your life.
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  #409  
Old 10-22-2009, 11:13 PM
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October 23, 2009

Close On His Heels

READ: Matthew 4:18-25

Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. —Matthew 4:19

Stan and Jennifer were speaking at a mission conference in Marion, North Carolina, after their first term of service on the field.

Jennifer told of a Bible study she had held with one woman. The two were discussing Matthew 4:19, and the woman told Jennifer about a word in her native language, which means follow. She said, “It is the word for following closely, not at a distance.”

To illustrate, Jennifer held up slippers used by the native women, showing one far behind the other. Then she moved one slipper right up against the back of the other one, and said that the word means “to follow right on one’s heels.” It suggests that we are to follow Jesus as closely as possible.

Later, when Jennifer was reading over the journal she had been keeping, she was surprised to see that she had often questioned, “Is Jesus enough?” She had been working her way through culture shock, loneliness, illness, and childlessness. At times she had felt far from Christ. But when through prayer and faith she had drawn as close to Him as she could, walking “right on His heels,” He had calmed her soul, restored her strength, and given her peace.

Are you feeling far from the Lord—empty, weak, and afraid? It’s time to follow close on His heels. — David C. Egner

God, give me the faith of a little child!
A faith that will look to Thee—
That never will falter and never fail,
But follow Thee trustingly. —Showerman

The closer we walk with God, the clearer we see His guidance.
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  #410  
Old 10-24-2009, 04:16 PM
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October 24, 2009

Secrets Exposed

READ: Psalm 32:1-7

I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. . . . And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. —Psalm 32:5

For many years, Lake Okeechobee hid its secrets in thick waters and layers of muck. But in 2007, drought shrank the Florida lake to its lowest level since officials began keeping records in 1932, unveiling hundreds of years of history. Raking through the bottom of the lake, archaeologists found artifacts, pottery, human bone fragments, and even boats.

After King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and planned the death of her husband, Uriah, he covered his sins by denying them and not confessing them. He probably went many months conducting business as usual, even performing religious duties. As long as David cloaked his sinful secrets, he experienced God’s crushing finger of conviction and his strength evaporated like water in the heat of summer (Ps. 32:3-4).

When the prophet Nathan confronted David about his sin, God’s conviction was so great that David confessed his sins to God and turned away from them. Immediately the Lord forgave David and he experienced His mercy and grace (2 Sam. 12:13; Ps. 32:5; Ps. 51).

Let’s be careful not to hide our sin. When we uncover our sins by confessing them to God, we are covered with His forgiveness. — Marvin Williams

Lord, help me to expose my sin,
Those secret faults that lurk within;
I would confess them all to Thee;
Transparent I would always be. —D. De Haan

Give God what He desires most— a broken and repentant heart.
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