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  #551  
Old 03-01-2010, 02:48 AM
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Default Mar. 1

March 1, 2010

The Fairest

READ: Revelation 5:8-14

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain! —Revelation 5:12

When I first became a Christian and started attending church at age 19, I immediately fell in love with singing the great hymns of the faith. My heart overflowed with joy and thanksgiving as we sang of God’s love for us in Christ. Soon one of my favorite hymns (from the late 1600s) became “Fairest Lord Jesus!” I love the simplicity of the melody and the awesomeness of the One exalted in these words:

Fair is the sunshine,
fairer still the moonlight,
and all the twinkling starry host: Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer than all the angels heaven can boast.
Beautiful Savior!
Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration
now and forevermore be Thine!

God’s Son, whom we sing about in this song, came to this earth, lived a perfect life, and gave Himself for us on the cross (Luke 23:33). He arose from the grave (Luke 24:6) and is now seated at God’s right hand (Heb. 1:3). One day we’ll join in worship with thousands upon thousands and say: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Rev. 5:13). Maybe we’ll sing “Fairest Lord Jesus!” too.

Until then, let’s allow Jesus to be “the fairest” above all in our personal lives by seeking wisdom from His Word and following in His ways. — Anne Cetas



We can never praise Jesus too much.
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  #552  
Old 03-02-2010, 04:35 AM
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March 2, 2010

God Is Here

READ: Luke 4:16-21

[The Lord] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. —Psalm 147:3

Leslie and her two daughters were about to be evicted from their home. Although Leslie believed that God could help, so far He hadn’t given a clue as to how. She wondered, Where is God? As she drove to the courthouse, she prayed for God’s intervention. Then she heard a song on the radio proclaiming, “God is here! Let the brokenhearted rejoice.” Could this be the assurance from God that she was longing to hear?

Inside the courtroom, Leslie stood before the judge, heard his decision, and signed the legal documents, but still God had not given her an answer.

As Leslie was walking to her car, a truck pulled up beside her. “Ma’am,” said the driver, “I heard your testimony inside the courtroom, and I believe God wants me to help you.” And he did. Gary helped Leslie get in contact with a woman from a local church who was able to work with the parties involved to reverse the process so that she and her girls could stay in their home.

When people ask, “Where is God?” the answer is, “Right here.” One way God is at work is through Christians like Gary who are continuing the work Jesus started—healing the brokenhearted and binding up their wounds (Ps. 147:3). — Julie Ackerman Link

God is here; He stands beside you.
God is here; He wants to guide you.
God is here and He will help you,
So do not fear—Your God is near. —D. De Haan

When we love God, we will serve people.
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  #553  
Old 03-03-2010, 03:49 AM
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Default Mar. 3

March 3, 2010

A Mighty Stream

READ: Amos 5:21-27

Let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream. —Amos 5:24

When I was a young teenager, my dad, uncles, cousins, and I went trout fishing at the head waters of the Sacramento River in California. The source of the river is melted snow, so the water was swift, clear, cold, and refreshing. My cousins and I couldn’t resist stepping into the cool current while angling for rainbow trout.

On the way home, we stopped for a dip in a pond that was far different. The pond water was warm, and it smelled stagnant. It contrasted greatly with that swiftly flowing, invigorating stream.

The prophet Amos used the metaphor of a stream to illustrate the transforming power of righteousness. Appalled at Israel’s dead religious ritual and their exploitation of the poor (Amos 2:6-8; 5:21-27), he called for justice and righteousness to prevail. He saw that God’s people were stuck in the stagnant pond of injustice toward others when what they needed was a life marked by “righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Likewise, God desires for us to allow justice to “run down like water” from our lives. One way that can happen is to strive for just laws and to champion loving care for the poor. May we seek to be a part of God’s mighty stream of His righteousness until Christ returns. — Dennis Fisher

Justice is the clarion call for Christians—
We cannot step aside from what God said;
He has told us how to treat our neighbor,
And we must follow on the path He’s led. —Hess

Righteousness follows when truth springs into action.
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  #554  
Old 03-04-2010, 04:17 AM
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Default Mar. 4

March 4, 2010

What Brings Happiness?

READ: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

All was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. —Ecclesiastes 2:11

After studying the effect of the post-World War II economic boom in Japan, Richard Easterlin concluded that monetary growth does not always bring more satisfaction. More recently, economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers conducted surveys in more than 100 nations and concluded that life satisfaction is highest in the richest countries.

So who’s right? Let’s check with the writer of Ecclesiastes. He should know! He was a truly rich man (2:8). He had the means to try everything in this world—and he did! He gave himself to pleasure (vv.1-3), grand projects (vv.4-8), entertainment (v.8), and hard work (vv.10-11). But he concluded that it was all “vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun” (v.11).

Lasting satisfaction doesn’t come from possessing tangible things like savings accounts and material goods. Recent events have shown that these things can suddenly lose value. To find true happiness, we have to find it in Someone who is not from “under the sun.” And that is our Savior, Jesus.

Hymnwriter Floyd Hawkins wrote: “I’ve discovered the way of gladness, I’ve discovered the way of joy, I’ve discovered relief from sadness. . . . When I found Jesus, my Lord.” Only He can give joy that is full (John 15:11). — C. P. Hia

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
All its joys are but a name;
But His love abideth ever,
Through eternal years the same. —Crosby

To know happiness, get to know Jesus.
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  #555  
Old 03-05-2010, 04:18 AM
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March 5, 2010

The Right Information

READ: 1 Thess. 4:13-18

I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. —1 Thessalonians 4:13

Our flight had been airborne about 15 minutes when the pilot announced that the aircraft had a serious problem the crew was trying to analyze. A few minutes later, he announced that it was a vibration and that we would have to return to the airport. Then the flight attendants made a series of step-by-step announcements explaining what was going on and what would happen once we were on the ground. In an event that could have been terrifying, the fears of the passengers were relieved because we were given the right information.

In the first century, a group of believers in Thessalonica were afraid that their believing loved ones who had died were gone forever and would miss out on the second coming of Christ. For that reason, Paul wrote, “I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13). Paul’s words of comfort were intended to soften their fears by giving them the right information, which made all the difference in the world. While grieving their loss, they could still have hope of a coming reunion with those who were in Christ.

In seasons of loss, we too can find comfort and hope because the Bible has given us the right information. — Bill Crowder

He’s coming back! The dead shall rise,
Caught up to meet Him in the skies.
Upon that hope my soul relies;
He’s coming back! —Sherbert

Death is not a period—it’s only a comma.
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  #556  
Old 03-06-2010, 05:25 AM
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March 6, 2010

Is It Well?

READ: Philippians 4:4-7

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:7

As the high school chorale prepared to sing Horatio G. Spafford’s classic hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” a teen stepped forward to tell the song’s familiar history. Spafford wrote the song while on a ship that was near the spot at sea where his four daughters perished.

As I listened to that introduction and then the words sung by the teenagers, a flood of emotions washed over me. “Where his four daughters perished” were hard words to grasp as I listened again to Spafford’s words of faith. Having lost one daughter suddenly, I find the idea of losing four unfathomable.

How could it be “well” for Spafford in his grief? I hear the words “When peace like a river attendeth my way” and remember where peace can be found. Paul says in Philippians 4 that it can be found as our heart-prayers are voiced to God (v.6). By trustful praying, we unburden our hearts, divest our anxieties, and release the grip on our grief. And we can gain “the peace of God” (v.7)—an inexplicable, divine calmness of spirit. This peace supersedes our ability to understand our circumstances (v.7), and it is a guard on our heart, through Jesus, that protects us enough to allow us to whisper, even in the pain, “It is well with my soul.” — Dave Branon

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea-billows roll—
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul. —Spafford

Jesus never makes a mistake.
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  #557  
Old 03-07-2010, 06:02 AM
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Default Mar. 7

March 7, 2010

God’s Helpers

READ: Psalm 103:19-22

Bless the Lord, you His angels. —Psalm 103:20

I was having a conversation with some children about God and superheroes when Tobias asked a question. An imaginative, curious 5-year-old, he asked anyone listening: “Does God have a sidekick like Hercules does?” His wiser, older brother, age 7, quickly responded: “Yes, He has thousands of them—they’re His angels.”

Angels are a popular topic of discussion, and people believe a number of myths about them. For instance, some people pray to angels, thinking they are on the same level as God Himself. And some believe that people become angels when they die. But here’s what the Bible, our authority, teaches:

• God created angels (Col. 1:15-17).

• Angels worship God (Neh. 9:6), and are known by these terms: archangels (Jude 1:9), cherubim (2 Kings 19:15), and seraphim (Isa. 6:1-3).

• They minister to God’s people (Heb. 1:13-14) by guarding and protecting them (Ps. 91:9-12).

• They are given special assignments by God (Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:26).

• God’s angels rejoice when we repent of sin and turn to Christ for salvation (Luke 15:7,10).

Only God deserves our worship. So let’s join the angels in singing His praises! — Anne Cetas

All hail the power of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all. —Perronet

Angels are God’s special helpers.
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  #558  
Old 03-07-2010, 09:45 PM
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March 8, 2010

To The Rescue

READ: Luke 15:1-7

There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. —Luke 15:7

Martie and I recently traveled to some major cities in several countries. We were struck with how lost our world is and grieved over the millions who have never heard the message of the saving grace of Jesus. The thought of reaching our world for Christ felt overwhelming.

Until I remembered the story of the boy walking on a beach. Encountering hundreds of starfish dying under the heat of the burning sun, he started throwing them back into the sea. A passerby asked, “What are you doing?” “Saving their lives,” the boy replied. “Forget it,” the man said. “You can’t possibly save all these starfish.” “Right,” replied the boy, “but it makes a big difference to each one I do save.”

I love the boy’s perspective. When the wave of sin threw us onto the shore to die, God sent His Son to walk on the beach to rescue all who would repent. And, as Jesus told His listeners in Luke 15, each time someone is rescued, heaven throws a party. “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7).

Has heaven rejoiced over your rescue? If so, join the ranks of those who reach other lost souls with the rescuing grace of Jesus. — Joe Stowell

Your love, O God, would spare no pain
To conquer death and win;
You sent Your only Son to die
To rescue us from sin. —M. Gustafson

When you’ve been rescued, you’ll want to rescue others.
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  #559  
Old 03-09-2010, 02:38 AM
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March 9, 2010

Don’t Forget

READ: Deut. 8:1-2,10-18

Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments. —Deuteronomy 8:11

One of my favorite Far Side cartoons is captioned “Superman in his later years.” It shows the elderly Man of Steel perched on a window ledge, ready to leap, as he looks back and says, “Now where was I going?”

Forgetfulness happens to us all, and while our occasional lapses may be amusing or annoying, a lack of memory toward God can be disastrous.

With the people of Israel poised to enter the Promised Land, Moses challenged them to “remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness” (Deut. 8:2) and to “beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments” (v.11).

Forgetting God can spring from: Testing (vv.2-4). God allowed His people to hunger and then provided manna. When we lack the necessities of life, it’s easy to feel that God has somehow forgotten us. Satisfaction (vv.10-11). Abundance or need may produce spiritual amnesia because both cause us to focus on ourselves, not on God who provides. Pride (vv.12-16). If prosperity brings a feeling of self-accomplishment, then we have forgotten God.

Humility, obedience, and praise help us remember God’s faithful provision and care. Let’s not forget to thank Him today for all He’s done. — David C. McCasland

Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget Thine agony,
Lest I forget Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary. —Hussey

Never let the abundance of God’s gifts cause you to forget the Giver.
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  #560  
Old 03-10-2010, 03:45 AM
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Default Mar. 10

March 10, 2010

Reminders

READ: 2 Peter 1:5-15

I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things. —2 Peter 1:12

Jill Price has an extraordinary memory that has stunned scientists. In 2006, her overdeveloped memory was described in a scientific journal article, “A Case of Unusual Autobiographical Remembering.” Price has no special aptitude for memorizing lists of words, numbers, facts, or languages. But she does remember what happened to her on any given day over the last 30 years. Name any date and Price will tell you what day of the week it was, the weather, what she had for breakfast, the TV programs she watched, and the people she spoke with.

Few of us have a memory like that. That’s why we need reminders to complete simple tasks and keep our appointments. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual truth. The apostle Peter showed he understood the need of spiritual reminders when he wrote: “I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things . . . . Yes, I think it is right . . . to stir you up by reminding you . . . . Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things” (2 Peter 1:12-15).

No matter what kind of memory we have, we need to be reminded of biblical principles. Daily Bible reading, small group studies, and involvement in a local church can all help us to remember God’s vital truths. — Dennis Fisher

Remembering the Word of God
Does not come naturally;
We need reminders to fulfill
What God wants us to be. —Sper

Let God’s Word fill your memory, rule your heart, and guide your steps.
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