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  #441  
Old 11-23-2009, 01:52 AM
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Default Nov. 23

November 23, 2009

Preventing Regret

READ: 2 Samuel 18:31–19:4

The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. —2 Samuel 18:33

In the 1980s, the British band Mike and the Mechanics recorded a powerful song titled, “The Living Years.” The songwriter mourns his father’s death, because their relationship had been strained and marked by silence rather than sharing. The singer remorsefully says, “I didn’t get to tell him all the things I had to say.” Struggling with regret over words unsaid and love unexpressed, he laments, “I just wish I could have told him in the living years.”

King David similarly regretted his broken relationship with his son Absalom. Angered over David’s refusal to punish Amnon for raping his sister Tamar, Absalom killed Amnon and fled (2 Sam. 13:21-34). David’s servant Joab knew that he longed to go to his fugitive son, so he arranged for Absalom to be brought to him. But their relationship was never the same again. Absalom’s bitterness sparked a conflict that ended with his death (18:14). It was a bitter victory for King David, causing him to lament his lost son and their failed relationship (18:33). No amount of grieving, however, could undo David’s heartache.

We can learn from David’s regret when dealing with broken relationships. The pain of trying to make things right can be hard. But it’s much better to do what we can to make things right “in the living years.” — Bill Crowder

For Further Study
Do you have a strained relationship with someone?
For help, read on the Internet What Do You Do With A Broken Relationship? at www.discoveryseries.org/q0703

A broken relationship can be repaired— but only if you’re willing to try.
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  #442  
Old 11-24-2009, 12:11 AM
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Default Nov. 24

November 24, 2009

Called To Serve

READ: Mark 10:35-45

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. —Mark 10:45

When George W. Bush was President, he made a surprise visit to serve Thanksgiving Day dinner to soldiers deployed overseas. One reporter covering the story thought that some might save their meal as a souvenir, explaining, “It’s not often that anyone is served by the President.”

All elected officials are public servants—in a global, symbolic way—so they are always serving. So it seems that an act of service should not have been one of the biggest news items of the day.

Many people have a genuine desire to serve others, but for some, service is really self-serving. This was true when Jesus was training His disciples. They were under the impression that following Him would make them great.

But Jesus quickly set them straight: “Those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you” (Mark 10:42-43). Jesus made it clear to them that they were in training to become servants: “Whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all” (v.44).

We can sign up for any number of leadership training seminars, but the only good leaders are those who are first and foremost good servants. — Julie Ackerman Link

They truly lead who lead by love,
And humbly serve the Lord;
Their lives will bear the Spirit’s fruit
And magnify His Word. —D. De Haan

A good leader is a good servant.
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  #443  
Old 11-25-2009, 12:14 AM
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November 25, 2009

What A Ride!

READ: 1 Thessalonians 1

The word of the Lord has sounded forth . . . in every place. —1 Thessalonians 1:8

Francis Asbury rode 6,000 miles a year on horseback for nearly half a century. Despite ill health, he drove himself tirelessly. He sustained himself with venison jerky—a food that wouldn’t spoil during his extended travels. Asbury is remembered for introducing the Methodist “circuit-riding preacher” as an effective way to capture the American frontier for Christ. Planting new churches in remote areas was central to his approach.

At the close of Asbury’s ministry, he had recruited over 700 traveling preachers. In 1771, when Asbury arrived in the colonies, there were only about 600 Methodists in America. Forty-five years later, there were 200,000!

In many ways, Asbury’s strategy for planting churches reflects the approach of the apostle Paul. To the church he had planted in Thessalonica, Paul wrote: “From you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place” (1 Thess. 1:8; see Acts 17:1-10).

The days of the “circuit-riding preacher” have come and gone. But each of us has a “frontier” where friends, relatives, and neighbors are our mission field. Can you think of someone today who needs to hear the good news? — Dennis Fisher

Lord, lay some soul upon my heart,
And love that soul through me;
And may I nobly do my part
To win that soul for Thee. —Tucker

Those who love Christ have a love for the lost.
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  #444  
Old 11-26-2009, 04:36 AM
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November 26, 2009

Confession And Thanksgiving

READ: Nehemiah 9:32-37

They have not served You . . . in the many good things that You gave them. —Nehemiah 9:35

During a Sunday worship service, our congregation said this prayer of confession in unison: “Gracious God, like many believers before us, we complain when things do not go our way. We want abundance of everything rather than what is sufficient to sustain us. We would rather be elsewhere than where we are at the moment. We would rather have the gifts You give to others than what You provide for us. We would rather have You serve us than serve You. Forgive our lack of gratitude for what You give.”

Abundance is no guarantee of gratefulness or thanksgiving. Prosperity may even turn our hearts away from the Lord.

When a group of Jewish exiles returned from Babylon with Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, they gathered to confess their sins and those of their fathers. They prayed: “Neither our kings nor our princes, our priests nor our fathers, have kept Your law . . . . For they have not served You in their kingdom, or in the many good things that You gave them, or in the large and rich land which You set before them, nor did they turn from their wicked works” (Neh. 9:34-35).

Confession is a powerful prelude to a prayer of thanks-giving. Obedience is the Amen. — David C. McCasland

Lord, before we come to ask Your blessing
On this special day we call Thanksgiving,
We would bow to You, our sins confessing,
Then we’ll lift our praise in grateful living. —Hess

Confession opens the door to thanksgiving.
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  #445  
Old 11-26-2009, 12:42 PM
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Happy Thanksgiving to all and may God bless HardCory for posting these Daily Devotionals. Thank you!
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  #446  
Old 11-27-2009, 04:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigironcross View Post
Happy Thanksgiving to all and may God bless HardCory for posting these Daily Devotionals. Thank you!
Thanks that means a lot, just happy that I'm blessed with the time and resources to get these out there.
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  #447  
Old 11-27-2009, 04:44 AM
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November 27, 2009

Loved Well

READ: Ephesians 3:14-21

That you . . . may be able to comprehend . . . what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ. —Ephesians 3:17-19

We were gathered with family for Thanksgiving dinner when someone asked if each person would share what he or she was thankful for. One by one we talked. Three-year-old Joshua was thankful for “music,” and Nathan, aged 4, for “horses.” We were all silenced, though, when Stephen (who was soon to turn 5) answered, “I’m thankful that Jesus loves me so well.” In his simple faith, he understood and was grateful for the love of Jesus for him personally. He told us that Jesus showed His love by dying on a cross.

The apostle Paul wanted the believers in the church at Ephesus to understand how well God loved them, and that was his prayer: “That [they would] be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ” (Eph. 3:17-19). He prayed that they would be rooted and grounded in that love.

To ground ourselves in God’s love, it would be helpful to review these verses frequently or even memorize them. We can also take a few minutes each day to thank the Lord for the specific ways He shows His love to us. This will help us to grow in our belief and be thankful—as Stephen is—that Jesus loves us “so well.” — Anne Cetas

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song. —Lehman

To renew your love for Christ, review Christ’s love for you.
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  #448  
Old 11-28-2009, 01:43 AM
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November 28, 2009

Delivering The Dirt

READ: Proverbs 26:20-28

Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. —Proverbs 26:20

Christian industrialist and inventor R. G. LeTourneau is known for his enormous earth-moving machines. One of his products was known simply by the name, “Model G.” A prospective buyer, hoping to stump a salesman, asked, “What does the ‘G’ stand for?”

“I guess the G stands for gossip,” was the salesman’s quick reply. “Because, like gossip, this machine moves a lot of dirt, and moves it fast!”

The Proverbs have a lot to say about gossip: Those who gossip are untrustworthy (11:13) and should be avoided (20:19). Gossip separates the closest of friends (16:28) and keeps relational strife boiling (18:8). It pours fuel on the coals of conflict, feeding the flames of hurt and misunderstanding (26:21-22).

The Hebrew word for “gossip” or “talebearing” actually means “whispering that is damaging.” We fool ourselves into thinking that those juicy, whispered comments here and there are harmless. But gossip leaves behind a wide swath of destruction and is never a victimless crime. Someone is always hurt. So here’s a word to the wise: “Where there is no talebearer, strife ceases” (Prov. 26:20). Let’s leave the dirt-moving to big machines. Put the shovels away and revel in the joy of gossip-free relationships! — Joe Stowell

Many things that others say
Are not for us to tell;
Help us, Lord, to watch our tongue—
We need to guard it well. —Branon

Destroy gossip by ignoring it.
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  #449  
Old 11-29-2009, 05:12 AM
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November 29, 2009

The Galatia Church

READ: Galatians 3:1-12

Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? —Galatians 3:3

I was driving through the countryside when I spotted a church building whose name surprised me. It said, “The Galatia Church.” The name caught my attention because I was certain no one would choose to name a church this unless it was a geographic necessity.

A study of the biblical book of Galatians reveals that it is Paul’s most fiery letter—criticizing the people for legalism, self-effort, and the exchange of grace for a different gospel. Galatia was not exactly the kind of church that you would see as an example to be followed.

This is true because the Galatians were trying to please God through their own efforts rather than by reliance on Him. Paul’s charge against them was this: “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (3:3).

Just as we cannot earn a relationship with God by our works, neither can we develop spiritually through our own strength. Paul’s reminder to the Galatians (and us) is this: Dependence on God through the work of the Spirit in our lives is at the core of our walk with Christ.

If we think we can become like Jesus by our own efforts, we are, like the Galatians, fooling ourselves. — Bill Crowder

Cast your futile efforts down,
Down at Jesus’ feet;
Stand in Him, in Him alone,
Gloriously complete. —Proctor

The Holy Spirit is the Christian’s power supply.
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  #450  
Old 11-30-2009, 12:43 AM
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November 30, 2009

Nowhere Tickets

READ: John 14:1-6

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. —Acts 4:12

We kept getting tickets to nowhere. We had finished a missions trip to Jamaica and were trying to get home. However, our airline was having problems, and no matter what our tickets said, we couldn’t leave Montego Bay. Over and over we heard, “Your flight has been canceled.” Even though we had purchased our tickets in good faith, the airline could not back up its promise to transport us to the US. We had to stay an extra day before boarding a plane that could take us home.

Imagine thinking that you are headed for heaven, but discovering that your ticket is no good. It can happen. If you trust the wrong plan, you will get to the gate of eternity but be denied entrance into heaven to live with God forever.

The apostle Peter said there is salvation in no one else but Jesus (Acts 4:12). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). The only ticket to heaven goes to those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross as payment for their sin.

Some offer other ways. But those tickets are worthless. To make sure you’re going to heaven, trust Jesus. He’s the only way. — Dave Branon

Lord, I know I’m a sinner and cannot save myself. I need You as my Savior. Thank You for dying in my place and rising again. I believe in You. Please forgive my sin. I want to live with You in heaven someday.

Jesus took my place on the cross and gave me a place in heaven.
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