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  #411  
Old 10-25-2009, 05:18 PM
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Default Oct. 25

October 25, 2009

Five People You Meet In Heaven

READ: 2 Corinthians 5:6-11

We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. —2 Corinthians 5:10

Mitch Albom, author of The Five People You Meet in Heaven, said that he got the idea for his book when he speculated: What would heaven be like if it were a place where some of the people you impacted on earth explained your life when you met them in heaven?

Albom’s book does give insight into how we unintentionally affect others’ lives. But for the Christian, our ultimate joy in eternity does not stem from other people but from our Lord and Savior. Heaven is a real place that Jesus is now preparing for us. And when we get there, we’ll rejoice to meet the living Christ (John 14:2-3; 2 Peter 3:13).

This encounter with Jesus, however, will also include accountability for the life we lived on earth. Believers are told: “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). His wise and just evaluation will show us how well we have loved God and our neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40).

We don’t know who will be the first five people we meet in heaven. But we do know who the first One will be—the Lord Jesus. — Dennis Fisher

When we stand with Christ in glory,
Looking o’er life’s finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe. —McCheyne

To be with Jesus forever is the sum of all happiness.
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  #412  
Old 10-26-2009, 03:11 AM
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Default Oct. 26

October 26, 2009

Is That Jesus?

READ: Romans 8:26-29

Whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. —Romans 8:29

As I walked into church one Sunday morning, a little boy looked at me and said to his mother, “Mom, is that Jesus?” Needless to say, I was curious to hear her response. “No,” she said, “that’s our pastor.”

I knew she would say no, of course, but I still wished she could have added something like, “No, that’s our pastor, but he reminds us a lot of Jesus.”

Being like Jesus is the purpose of life for those of us who are called to follow Him. In fact, as John Stott notes, it is the all-consuming goal of our past, our present, and our future. Romans 8:29 tells us that in the past we were “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” In the present, we “are being transformed into the same image” (the likeness of Christ), as we grow from “glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). And, in the future, “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

Being like Jesus is not about keeping the rules, going to church, and tithing. It’s about knowing His forgiveness, and committing acts of grace and mercy on a consistent basis. It’s about living a life that values all people. And it’s about having a heart of full surrender to the will of our Father.

Be like Jesus. You were saved for it! — Joe Stowell

Be like Jesus—this my song—
In the home and in the throng;
Be like Jesus all day long!
I would be like Jesus. —Rowe

Live in such a way that others see Jesus in you.
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  #413  
Old 10-26-2009, 11:05 PM
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Default Oct. 27

October 27, 2009

“Light” Of Creation

READ: Job 37:1-18

[God] does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number. —Job 5:9

Among the wonders of Jamaica is a body of water called Luminous Lagoon. By day, it is a nondescript bay on the country’s northern coast. By night, it is a marvel of nature.

If you visit there after dark, you notice that the water is filled with millions of phosphorescent organisms. Whenever there is movement, the water and the creatures in the bay glow. When fish swim past your boat, for example, they light up like waterborne fireflies. As the boat glides through the water, the wake shines brightly.

The wonder of God’s creation leaves us speechless, and this is just a small part of the total mystery package of God’s awesome handiwork as spelled out in Job 37 and 38. Listen to what the Lord’s role is in nature’s majesty: “Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes His lightning flash?” (37:15 niv); “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside?” (38:19 niv). God’s majestic creations—whether dazzling lightning or glowing fish—are mysteries to us. But as God reminded Job, all of the wonders of our world are His creative handiwork.

When we observe God’s amazing creation, our only response can be that of Job: These are “things too wonderful for me” (42:3). — Dave Branon

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful;
The Lord God made them all. —Alexander

When we cease to wonder, we cease to worship.
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  #414  
Old 10-28-2009, 03:49 AM
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October 28, 2009

Almost-Perfect Disguise

READ: Revelation 12:7-12

The accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. —Revelation 12:10

Radovan Karadzic, once the leader of the Bosnian Serbs and accused of genocide, had been one of the most wanted men in the world. By growing a long, white beard, carrying false papers, and practicing alternative medicine, he fooled everyone—for a while. After 13 years in hiding, he was finally arrested.

The Bible tells us that Satan is also in the business of fooling people with disguises. Right from the beginning of human history, he pretended to be an enlightened advisor, telling Eve that God was not honest with her (Gen. 3:4). He “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14 NIV), but the Lord Jesus Christ has unmasked him as “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).

People often err at two extremes in their view of Satan. Some dismiss him while others attribute more power to him than he deserves. Let us not be deceived. Satan is powerful as the “god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4). But Christians need not cower before him in fear, because “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The day is coming when Satan will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).

Until that day, let’s not be deceived but rather live godly lives that reflect the image of Christ, for He is “a man of truth; there is nothing false about Him” (John 7:18 NIV). — C. P. Hia

In our day-to-day existence,
Evil often wears a mask;
Trust the Lord for true discernment—
He gives wisdom when we ask. —Hess

Satan offers nothing but tricks and deceit.
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  #415  
Old 10-28-2009, 10:57 PM
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October 29, 2009

Lost And Found

READ: Luke 15:4-24

This my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. —Luke 15:24

A Wall Street Journal article by Jennifer Saranow chronicled the extraordinary efforts of middle-aged American men who are trying to find the favorite car they once owned and loved, but lost. They are searching on-line car ads, phoning junkyards, and even hiring specialists who charge $400 an hour to help them search for an automobile that once symbolized their youth. These men want the actual car they owned, not one just like it.

Some would call their efforts frivolous—a waste of time and money. But the value of a car, like many things, is in the eye of the beholder.

In Luke 15, people who were despised by their society came to hear Jesus. But some religious leaders complained, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them” (v.2). To affirm how valuable these “sinners” are to God, Jesus told three memorable stories about a lost sheep (vv.4-7), a lost coin (vv.8-10), and a lost son (vv.11-32). Each parable records the anguish of losing, the effort of searching, and the joy of finding something of great worth. In every story, we see a picture of God, the loving Father, who rejoices over every lost soul who is found.

Even if you feel far from God today, you are highly valued by Him. He’s searching for you. — David C. McCasland

I once was lost, but now I’m found;
Praise God! Christ died for me;
He valued me, redeemed my soul;
From sin, He set me free. —Sper

Those who have been found should seek the lost.
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  #416  
Old 10-30-2009, 03:45 AM
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October 30, 2009

Be A Stander

READ: 2 Timothy 4:9-18

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. —Proverbs 17:17

Western novelist Stephen Bly says that in the days of America’s Old West there were two types of friends (and horses): runners and standers. At the first sign of trouble, the runner would bolt—abandoning you to whatever peril you were facing. But a stander would stick with you no matter the circumstances. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t know which kind of friend you had until trouble came. And then it was too late—unless your friend was a stander.

Rather than being concerned with what kind of friends we have, however, we ought to consider what kind of friends we are. In the final days of Paul’s ministry, as he awaited death, some who had ministered with him turned into runners and abandoned him to face execution alone. In his last letter, he listed some (like Demas) who had run off, then simply stated, “Only Luke is with me” (2 Tim. 4:11). Luke was a stander. While undoubtedly disappointed by those who had deserted him, Paul must have been deeply comforted to know he was not alone.

Proverbs tells us that “a friend loves at all times” (17:17). During times of adversity, we need friends we can rely on. When the people we know face trouble, what kind of friend will we be—a runner or a stander? — Bill Crowder

Dear Lord, help us to be the kind of friend who doesn’t run when our friends are in need. Give us the courage to stand by them, the wisdom to know what to say, and the ability to serve them. Amen.

A true friend stands with us in times of trial.
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  #417  
Old 10-31-2009, 04:46 AM
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Default Oct. 31

October 31, 2009

Hallowing Halloween

READ: 2 Timothy 2:19-26

He will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. —2 Timothy 2:21

The word hallow isn’t used much anymore, and when it is, the uses have a broad range of meaning. Christians use the word when we say the Lord’s prayer, as in “Hallowed be Thy name.” Often the word is associated with the last day of October, which we in the US refer to as Halloween, a shortened form of All Hallows’ Eve.

In Scripture, the word hallow is a synonym for the word sanctify. When we hallow or sanctify something, we set it apart as being holy.

The name of God is not the only thing that we are to hallow. We too are to be hallowed. Paul urged Timothy to be a vessel sanctified and useful for God by pursuing “righteousness, faith, love, [and] peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” and by avoiding “foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife” (2 Tim. 2:21-23).

On this last day of October, children in the US will be carrying bags filled with sweets. Thinking of them can remind us to ask: “What is filling the vessel of my life? Is it a bitter attitude that leads to foolish disputes and strife, or is it a sweet spirit that leads to righteousness, faith, love, and peace?”

We can hallow today, and every day, by setting ourselves apart for God to be used by Him. — Julie Ackerman Link

Lord, may our lives be set apart
And useful in Your hands,
Pursuing righteousness and faith
As we fulfill Your plans. —Sper

A Christian’s greatest joy is to be used by God.
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  #418  
Old 11-01-2009, 03:38 AM
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November 1, 2009

An Urge To Be Anonymous

READ: Matthew 6:1-4

When you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your . . . deed may be in secret. —Matthew 6:3-4

The urge to misbehave and the desire to be anonymous always visit me together. Like partners making a sales call, they do their best to convince me that I can afford to do something wrong because I won’t have to pay.

Human nature tells us to use the cover of anonymity to avoid taking the blame for the bad things we do. God, however, tells us something else. He wants us to use anonymity to avoid taking credit for the good that we do (Matt. 6:4). Why is it that the urge to remain anonymous seldom accompanies my desire to do good!

The Bible says we’re not to let one hand know the good that the other is doing (vv.3-4). In other words, within the body of Christ our deeds of charity should be done without calling attention to ourselves. This does not mean, however, that God wants good deeds to remain hidden; it just means that they should be done in a way that makes a good name for God, not ourselves (5:16).

When we volunteer our services or make donations to churches and organizations that do good work in the name of Jesus, we receive something much better than honor from our peers. We receive rewards from God, and God receives glory from others! (1 Peter 2:12). — Julie Ackerman Link

God bless you and keep you and give you His love;
God prosper your labor with help from above.
Be His strength in your arm and His love in your soul,
His smile your reward and His glory your goal. —Anon.

When we serve in Jesus’ name, He gets the glory.
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  #419  
Old 11-02-2009, 04:26 AM
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November 2, 2009

Prisoners Of Sin

READ: Galatians 3:19-29

The Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. —Galatians 3:22

A 2008 report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said, “At any given time there are more than 10 million people imprisoned worldwide.” Since some prisoners are being released while new ones are being sentenced every day, there are more than 30 million total prisoners worldwide each year. Statistics like these have caused many people to work for prison reform and a reexamination of sentencing laws.

From a spiritual perspective, the Bible offers an even more staggering statistic: “The Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin” (Gal. 3:22 niv). In what is sometimes considered a difficult passage to understand, Paul says that although the Old Testament law could not impart life (v.21), it was an effective teacher in showing us that we need a Savior who can give life (v.24). The bad news is that “the Scripture has confined all under sin,” and the good news is “that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” (v.22).

When we give our lives to Christ, who has fulfilled the requirements of the law, we are no longer imprisoned by sin. Instead, we enter a fellowship of people from every nationality and social status.

In Christ, we are free indeed! — David C. McCasland

The law reveals the mind of God,
The prophets too made clear His will;
But Christ alone brings life and peace,
His words our deepest needs fulfill. —D. De Haan

Deliverance from sin is the greatest of all freedoms.
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  #420  
Old 11-03-2009, 12:05 AM
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November 3, 2009

Helped By Fear

READ: Proverbs 9:1-12

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. —Proverbs 9:10

Fear means different things to different people. To professional golfer Padraig Harrington, it is a motivator to help him perform his very best. In 2008, when he won both the British Open and the PGA Championship, Harrington said, “Yes, fear is a big part of me. I’d like to say that I have all the trust and patience and I’m relaxed. No, that’s not my makeup. [Fear] pushes me on. Keeps me getting to the gym. I have to work with it and use it.”

Maybe it’s the fear of failure, or the fear of losing his edge, but Harrington finds fear to be a useful thing in his professional life.

The follower of Christ can also be helped by fear. We are challenged in the Scriptures to a reverential fear of God, which is the best type of fear that there is. It causes us to be concerned about disobeying Him or living in opposition to His ways. It’s being in awe of our great God, bowing to His perfect will, and seeking His wisdom for living. To that end, the proverb declares, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10).

By fearing God rightly, we can live wisely in an uncertain world. — Bill Crowder

God dwells in light and holiness,
In splendor and in might;
And godly fear of His great power
Can help us do what’s right. —D. De Haan

Fear God, and you’ll have nothing else to fear.
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