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  #421  
Old 11-04-2009, 12:21 AM
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Default Nov. 4

November 4, 2009

Seeds And Faith

READ: Galatians 6:7-10

Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. —Galatians 6:7

I read a fable about a man who was browsing in a store when he made the shocking discovery that God was behind a sales counter. So the man walked over and asked, “What are You selling?” God replied, “What does your heart desire?” The man said, “I want happiness, peace of mind, and freedom from fear . . . for me and the whole world.” God smiled and said, “I don’t sell fruit here. Only seeds.”

In Galatians 6, Paul stressed the importance of sowing seeds of God-honoring behavior, for “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (v.7). We can’t expect to experience the fruit of God’s blessings if we don’t recognize the importance of doing our part.

It helps to follow the example of others who have sown good seed. Author Samuel Shoemaker said that a good example can either inspire us or cause us to say, “Oh yes, he (or she) is like that. He is not troubled by temper or nerves or impatience or worry as I am; he is just a happier temperament.” Shoemaker continued, “It may not occur to us that perhaps he had to fight for his serenity, and that we might win if we would do the same.”

Are you weary of the way you are? Ask God for His help and begin sowing seeds of new actions and responses today. In due season the Spirit will give the increase. — Joanie Yoder

We’re always sowing seeds in life
By everything we do and say,
So let’s make sure the fruit we reap
Comes from the good we do each day. —Hess

The seeds we sow today determine the kind of fruit we’ll reap tomorrow.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #422  
Old 11-05-2009, 12:10 AM
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November 5, 2009

A Good Grooming

READ: Psalm 139:1-10, 23-24

Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart. For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes. —Psalm 26:2-3

Our dog, Dolly, is a 7-year-old West Highland Terrier. She loves to dig in the dirt, which means she gets very dirty. We bathe her every week or so at home, but occasionally she gets so grimy and tangled that we have to take her to a professional groomer.

She used to hate to go to the groomer because the woman was always in a rush and inclined to be bad-tempered and harsh. Getting Dolly through the door was a struggle. Just the sight of the shop made her want to run away.

Last year we decided to try another groomer and discovered that our dog, though not always overjoyed at the prospect, was less reluctant to go. That’s because the groomer is kind to her even though she must wash Dolly thoroughly, causing discomfort.

When sin and defilement accumulate in our hearts, we need to be cleansed. Like the psalmist David, we must ask God to “examine” and “try” our minds and hearts, and to point out our wicked thoughts, attitudes, and ways (Ps. 139:23-24). Our Lord may cause discomfort, for exposure is often difficult, but we can approach Him without fear.

The Lord’s examination of us, though sometimes painful, is gentle and kind. — David H. Roper

Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin and set me free. —Orr

Repentance is the hurt that leads to healing.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #423  
Old 11-06-2009, 12:29 AM
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November 6, 2009

Where History Comes Alive

READ: Exodus 13:14-16

When your children say to you, “What do you mean by this service?” . . . you shall say, “It is the Passover.” —Exodus 12:26-27

The movie Night at the Museum portrays the humorous experiences of a security guard at a natural history museum. The excitement begins for him when the displays come to life at night.

Inspired by this movie, directors of a real museum created a similar experience. The staff portrayed historic figures such as knights in armor, Victorian ladies, and Egyptian royalty. When children arrived at the museum, they were told that the people in the exhibits had come alive and needed to be led back to their proper place. As the children responded, history came alive for them.

Children need not be bored by history. This is especially true of Bible stories. Take Moses, for example. He escaped death as a child, was educated as a prince, worked miracles, and received the Ten Commandments on tablets. What exciting story elements that teach children about God!

Biblical stories have been shared with children for generations—all the way back to the times of Exodus (ch.12–13) and Deuteronomy (ch.6). Moses described times when children were retold vital stories from Jewish history.

Why not set a time to read Bible stories to the children in your life? Then watch their excitement as biblical history comes alive! — Dennis Fisher

The stories in the Word of God
Are there for us to see
How God has worked in people’s lives
Throughout all history. —Sper

The Bible’s treasures are found by those who dig for them.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #424  
Old 11-06-2009, 11:22 PM
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November 7, 2009

How Was I To Know?

READ: 1 Thess. 4:1-12

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. —Ephesians 4:30

It was high-school concert season, and the music students were preparing for the big Christmas extravaganza. The teacher had clearly communicated every detail to the students and to the parents—on two different occasions—and the time for mandatory rehearsal was clearly spelled out.

But on rehearsal day one panicky mother called during practice to see what time her teenager was supposed to show up. Another called to say, “Oh, we’re taking Tommy to Grandma’s. It’s okay if he misses rehearsal, right?” When the teacher reminded the parents that this required practice had already started, she heard, “Why didn’t somebody tell me? How was I to know?”

Just as this teacher was troubled that her clear instructions were ignored, is it possible that God is troubled by our tendency to ignore His clear instructions? In 1 Thessalonians, Paul reminds us that his God-inspired message tells us “how to live in order to please God” and that those instructions have “the authority of the Lord Jesus” (4:1-2 niv). The Lord is grieved, Paul explains, when we ignore His teaching and live our own way (Eph. 4:30–5:2).

Let’s make a point to read God’s instructions and then live by them—with no excuses. — Dave Branon

God’s Word was given for our good
And we are to obey,
Not choose the parts that we like best,
Then live in our own way. —Hess

There is no good excuse for ignoring God.
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  #425  
Old 11-08-2009, 09:40 PM
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November 8, 2009

The Persecuted Church

READ: 1 Peter 4:12-19

If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. —1 Peter 4:16

One October morning in 2006, a woman and her six children were forced to witness an attack on their husband and father. His assailants tried to force him to deny Jesus but he refused. He continued to proclaim Christ as Lord and died praying for his family. The family is determined to follow Christ, even in their grief.

Another man was sentenced to 3 years in prison for allegedly insulting another religion. He’s an outspoken Christian with a passion for Christ. He and his wife and children continue to be faithful and refuse to deny Him.

Persecution for the Christian faith is as real in our world as it was for the Jewish believers in the early church to whom Peter wrote. He prayed, “May the God of all grace, . . . after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10).

Today is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. These prayer points from Open Doors USA, a ministry that’s committed to encouraging persecuted Christians, can help guide us as we pray:

• Pray for the safety and faith of the secret believers in countries where it is illegal to share about Christ.

• Pray for the health, perseverance, and encouragement of believers who are imprisoned for the gospel.

• Pray that those whose loved ones have died due to martyrdom will rely on God for their strength.

Together, let’s bring our fellow believers before the Lord in prayer. — Anne Cetas

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. —Tertullian
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  #426  
Old 11-10-2009, 12:06 AM
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November 9, 2009

The Heat Of Our Desire

READ: Psalm 42

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. —Psalm 42:1

Pastor A. W. Tozer (1897–1963) read the great Christian theologians until he could write about them with ease. He challenges us: “Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found Him the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking.”

The writer of Psalm 42 had the kind of longing for the Lord that Tozer spoke about. Feeling separated from God, the psalmist used the simile of a deer panting with thirst to express his deep yearning for a taste of the presence of God. “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (vv.1-2). The heat of his desire for the Lord was so great and his sorrow so intense, he did more weeping than eating (v.3). But the psalmist’s longing was satisfied when he placed his hope in God and praised Him for His presence and help (vv.5-8).

O that we would have a longing and thirsting for Him that is so intense that others would feel the heat of our desire for Him! — Marvin Williams

My heart’s desire is to know You, Lord,
To walk close beside You today;
To know Your grace, Your love, Your power,
For You are my life and my way. —Cetas

Only Jesus, the Living Water, can satisfy the thirsty soul.
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  #427  
Old 11-10-2009, 12:06 AM
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November 10, 2009

God’s Embrace

READ: Romans 12:3-11

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. —Romans 12:10

Soon after her family left for the evening, Carol started to think that her hospital room must be the loneliest place in the world. Nighttime had fallen, her fears about her illness were back, and she felt overwhelming despair as she lay there alone.

Closing her eyes, she began to talk to God: “O Lord, I know I am not really alone. You are here with me. Please calm my heart and give me peace. Let me feel Your arms around me, holding me.”

As she prayed, Carol felt her fears beginning to subside. And when she opened her eyes, she looked up to see the warm, sparkling eyes of her friend Marge, who reached out to encircle her in a big hug. Carol felt as if God Himself were holding her tightly.

God often uses fellow believers to show us His love. “We, being many, are one body in Christ. . . . Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them” (Rom. 12:5-6). We serve others “with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11).

When we show love and compassion in simple, practical ways, we are a part of God’s ministry to His people. — Cindy Hess Kasper

Teach me to love, this is my prayer—
May the compassion of Thy heart I share;
Ready a cup of water to give,
May I unselfishly for others live. —Peterson

We show our love for God when we love His family.
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  #428  
Old 11-11-2009, 12:23 AM
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November 11, 2009

Humble Valor

READ: Philippians 2:19-30

Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem. —Philippians 2:29

A report by the Chicago Tribune said: “Scores of Americans, from clergymen to lawyers to CEOs, are claiming medals of valor they never earned.” Fabrication of war records and bogus claims of bravery are more widespread than imagined. One man, who falsely claimed a Navy Cross, later felt shame and said that real heroes rarely talk about what they’ve done.

Heroism is marked by an unselfish risking of life for the benefit of another. In Philippians, Paul commends two of his colleagues as true heroes of the faith. Timothy’s unselfishness and proven character gained Paul’s praise as a true son who had served with him in the gospel (2:22). And Paul described Epaphroditus as “my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier” (v.25) who risked his life for the work of Christ (v.30).

Paul told the believers in Philippi to “hold such men in esteem” (v.29). Honoring fellow believers for their unselfish service to God is a biblical mandate. It is not hero worship, but an attitude of respect for a life well lived.

Through a word of encouragement or a tangible expression of appreciation, who can you honor today for their humble valor in serving the Lord and helping others in His name? — David C. McCasland

Heaven’s heroes never carve their name
On marbled columns built for earthly fame;
They build instead a legacy that springs
From faithful service to the King of kings. —Gustafson

Faith in Christ can make extraordinary heroes out of ordinary people.
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  #429  
Old 11-12-2009, 12:36 AM
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November 12, 2009

Fragile Existence

READ: Job 1:8-22

We should not trust in ourselves but in God. —2 Corinthians 1:9

The geological features at Yellowstone National Park fascinate me. But when I walk among the geysers, I’m aware of how close I am to danger. I am walking atop one of the largest, most active volcanoes in the world.

When I read the book of Job, I feel as if I’m walking through Yellowstone on a day when the volcano erupts, exploding the earth’s fragile crust and bringing disaster.

Like tourists at Yellowstone, Job was enjoying life. He was unaware that only a hedge separated him from disaster (Job 1:9-10). When God removed that hedge and allowed Satan to test Job, his life exploded (vv.13-19).

Many believers live in circumstances where it seems as if God, for some reason, has removed His hedge of protection. Others, also for reasons unknown, live in relative calm, seemingly unaware of their fragile existence. Like Job’s friends, they assume that nothing bad will happen unless they do something to deserve it.

As we learn from Job, however, God sometimes allows bad things to happen to good people. Although disaster can strike at any moment, nothing has the power to destroy those who trust Christ (2 Cor. 4:9). No disaster can separate us from God’s love. — Julie Ackerman Link

Though darker, rougher, grows the way
And cares press harder day by day,
With patience in His love I’ll rest,
And whisper that He knoweth best. —Pentecost

God’s love still stands when all else has fallen.
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  #430  
Old 11-12-2009, 03:47 AM
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I've only been here a short time, but I wanted to tell you that I have been reading these every day since I have been here. I also like your signature verse. I walked around quoting that verse to me every day for like a year.
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