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  #571  
Old 03-20-2010, 03:22 AM
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Default Mar. 20

March 20, 2010

Marriage God’s Way

READ: Genesis 2:18-25

A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. —Genesis 2:24

The movie The Princess Bride has a wedding scene in which the marrying minister says, “Marriage . . . is what brings us together today.”

Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves of the grand plan for marriage spelled out in Scripture.

Marriage creates one new family out of two: Adam said, “ ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh . . . .’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife” (Gen. 2:23-24).

It provides a pure outlet for a divinely designed desire: “Because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:2).

It forms a mutually helpful team: “The heart of her husband safely trusts her . . . . She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Prov. 31:11-12).

Marriage God’s way brings a man and a woman together to honor Him and help society. Celebrate marriage for the ways it brings us together in God’s name. — Dave Branon

If men and women yield to God
And of His love partake,
The marriage bond that joins two hearts
No power on earth can break. —D. De Haan

God created husband and wife to complement each other.
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  #572  
Old 03-21-2010, 04:20 PM
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Default Mar. 21

March 21, 2010

Pure Milk

READ: Acts 15:1-11,19-21

As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby. —1 Peter 2:2

Recently it was discovered that some milk producers in China had been diluting cow’s milk and adding the industrial chemical Melamine. This chemical was added because it artificially enhanced protein readings. Several infants died and others became seriously ill. Such adulteration is not new. Other countries have been adding Melamine to animal feed for at least 40 years for the same purpose, resulting in the death of animals.

Another kind of adulteration is when people add to God’s Word, “the pure milk of the Word” as Peter described it (1 Peter 2:2). The word pure means “unadulterated” or “uncontaminated.” The early church had to deal with those who considered circumcision necessary for salvation (Acts 15:1). That idea was rejected because it was not in accordance with the Word of God, which says that salvation is by grace alone. Peter encouraged his brethren in the Lord: “Why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples? . . . We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved” (Acts 15:10-11).

Examine carefully any teaching that asks you to do anything more than what is in God’s Word. Otherwise it can be deadly to your spiritual well-being. — C. P. Hia

The Lord has given man His Word,
His will He has made known;
Let man not try to change that Word
With words that are his own. —D. De Haan

God’s Word needs no additions or subtractions.
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  #573  
Old 03-22-2010, 01:41 AM
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Default Mar. 22

March 22, 2010

Texting God

READ: Colossians 1:3-12

[We] do not cease to pray for you. —Colossians 1:9

An article in The Washington Post told about a 15-year-old girl who sent and received 6,473 cell phone text messages in a single month. She says about her constant communication with friends, “I would die without it.” And she is not alone. Researchers say that US teens with cell phones average more than 2,200 text messages a month.

To me, this ongoing digital conversation offers a remarkable illustration of what prayer could and should be like for every follower of Christ. Paul seemed to be constantly in an attitude of prayer for others: “[We] do not cease to pray for you” (Col. 1:9). “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18). “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). But how can we possibly do that?

Missionary Frank Laubach described his habit of “shooting” prayers at people as he encountered them during the course of each day. In a sense, he was “texting” God on their behalf, staying in constant communication with the Father. Laubach believed that prayer is the mightiest force in the world, and said: “My part is to live in this hour in continuous inner conversation with God and in perfect responsiveness to His will.”

Pray without ceasing. Perhaps what Paul urged us to do can be done. — David C. McCasland

Give me a spirit of prayer, dear Lord,
That I may commune with Thee
As I travel along life’s rugged road,
In Thy company always to be. —Dawe

Prayer should become as natural as breathing.
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  #574  
Old 03-23-2010, 12:24 AM
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Default Mar. 23

March 23, 2010

Signature Scent

READ: 2 Corinthians 2:14-17

Through us [God] diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. —2 Corinthians 2:14

You can’t see it, hear it, or touch it, but scent is powerful. The smell of things like crayons, petunias, and colognes evoke memories that transport me to the past and bring to mind people and places I might not otherwise recall.

Some celebrities have fragrances named after them. Fans can identify with an actress or singer by dabbing on the scent bearing her name. Along those lines, Ladies Home Journal published a quiz to help readers determine the perfect fragrance for them. The idea is that every woman, to be memorable, should have a specific scent associated with her.

The idea of a signature scent is not new. God introduced it as part of worship. In the tabernacle, a certain scent was to be associated with the Lord (Ex. 30:34-35). The people were forbidden to use this fragrance for anything but worship (vv.37-38).

This idea continues under the new covenant, but with a stunning difference. Instead of using incense to make people think of Him, God uses Christians as His “signature scent” to the world (2 Cor. 2:14-15). The fact that God identifies Himself with us in such a powerful way is a truly humbling thought, and causes me to ask, “What do people think about God as a result of being around me?” — Julie Ackerman Link

When we’ve been alone with Jesus,
There’s a difference others know;
And to them it’s like a fragrance
That we leave where’er we go. —Hess

A life lived for God has a pleasing aroma.
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  #575  
Old 03-24-2010, 03:07 AM
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March 24, 2010

Worst Possible Scenario!

READ: Job 1:13-22

When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. —Job 23:10

When I used to teach at a Bible college in a large city, I sometimes graded papers at a food court while waiting for a commuter train. One day, I accidentally bumped my large cup of coffee. Its entire contents emptied into my open briefcase.

In most cities, there is a quiet reserve on the part of commuters. However, the coffee splash was so dramatic that it could not be ignored. A man sitting nearby said aloud, “Worst possible scenario!”

That comment was obviously an overstatement. But each of us dreads the thought of something in particular: financial loss, the death of a child or spouse, cancer, or another loss or hardship.

The book of Job is a case study in worst possible scenarios. Yet Job wisely assessed God’s role in trying circumstances of loss and poor health: “He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). From this wise statement we can learn two valuable lessons: One is that what we dread most can be used to test our character and make us stronger. The other is that God will provide the strength and comfort to see us through.

Cling to God. He has promised to work on our behalf, even in the worst possible scenario. — Dennis Fisher

God often sends me joy through pain,
Through bitter loss, divinest gain;
Yet through it all—dark days or bright—
I know my Father leads aright. —Conklin

The living God can take the fear out of living.
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  #576  
Old 03-25-2010, 12:20 AM
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March 25, 2010

Far Better

READ: Revelation 21:1-4

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. —Revelation 21:4

Having suffered greatly—first from cancer, and then from the grueling medical regimen—pastor Dan Cummings was tired. After 2 weeks of treatment in Texas, he was looking forward to going back home to Michigan. In a post on his blog, he wrote: “Today is far better . . . amazing what some hydration will do. . . . Will fly home on the weekend to continue treatment at home.”

Dan did return to Michigan, but several days later, his journey on earth ended. He went home to be with his God—whom he loved with every bit of his weakened body but mighty spirit.

When I viewed his blog a few days later, his words “Today is far better” jumped out at me. I smiled through my tears in the knowledge that Dan was now experiencing a life that is truly “far better” (Phil. 1:23).

Someday we who claim the name of Jesus will also go to that place where there is “no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.” It’s a place where there is no more pain and where a loving Father promises to “wipe away every tear from [our] eyes” (Rev. 21:4).

The life we have here isn’t all there is. There is a far, far better place that Jesus is preparing for those who love Him (John 14:2-3). — Cindy Hess Kasper

When our life on earth has ended
We will feel God’s warm embrace;
There will be no pain or sorrow
In that far, far better place. —Sper

Heaven—no pain, no night, no death, no tears.
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  #577  
Old 03-26-2010, 02:22 AM
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March 26, 2010

Worthy Of Respect

READ: Philippians 2:19-30

Receive [Epaphroditus] therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem. —Phil. 2:29

Just before kickoff at Super Bowl XLIII, Kurt Warner of the Arizona Cardinals received the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award—a tribute given to the player who had best combined on-field excellence with off-field community service. “I am humbled the Lord has given me such an amazing life to impact others,” said Warner, a dedicated Christian. “Of all the awards given to NFL athletes, [this one] stands out . . . because of what it represents.” It represents a commitment to giving and sacrificing for others.

Paying homage to those who serve is not a new concept. Paul spoke of it when he reminded the Philippians to honor those who gave themselves in serving Christ. He told them of their friend Epaphroditus, who had nearly died (Phil. 2:30) because of his efforts for Christ in ministering to others—including the people at Philippi. How should they respond? Paul said, “Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem” (v.29). Clearly, when we think of those who sacrifice in serving the Savior, they are worthy of our respect and appreciation.

Why not look for ways to show gratitude to those who have served you spiritually. Give them the honor they deserve. — Bill Crowder

To honor is to show respect,
To meet another’s need,
To give someone encouragement,
To love in word and deed. —Sper

We honor God when we honor those who serve God.
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  #578  
Old 03-27-2010, 03:54 AM
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Default Mar. 27

March 27, 2010

Loving God

READ: 1 John 4:7-21

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. —1 John 4:11

Early in our marriage, I thought I knew the ultimate shortcut to my wife’s heart. I arrived home one night with a bouquet of a dozen red roses behind my back. When I presented the flowers to Martie, she thanked me graciously, sniffed the flowers, and then took them into the kitchen. Not quite the response I had expected.

It was an introductory lesson in the reality that flowers are not my wife’s primary language of love. While she appreciated the gesture, she was mentally calculating the cost of an expensive bouquet of flowers—a budget breaker for a young couple in seminary! And as I’ve discovered through the years, she is far more interested in my time and attention. When I devote myself to her in an uninterrupted and attentive way, that’s when she really feels loved.

Did you ever wonder how God wants us to show that we love Him? We get a clue when we read, “He who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:21). It’s that simple. One of the primary ways we show our love for God is by loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we genuinely love each other, it brings pleasure to our heavenly Father.

So watch for opportunities to tell Jesus that you love Him. He’s infinitely worth whatever it costs. — Joe Stowell

All those who say they love the Lord
But don’t love one another,
Should question the relationship
They have with God the Father. —Sper

To show your love for God, share your love with others.
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  #579  
Old 03-28-2010, 03:15 PM
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March 28, 2010

God Needs You!

READ: Mark 11:1-7

If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” say, “The Lord has need of it.” —Mark 11:3

For His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus chose a donkey to serve as His royal transportation. His disciples were instructed to say, “The Lord has need of it” (Mark 11:3). Isn’t it astounding that the Son of God should use such lowly means to accomplish His purposes? Alexander MacLaren commented on this: “Christ comes to us in like fashion, and brushes aside all our convenient excuses. He says, ‘I want you, and that is enough.’ ”

Think of it! The Creator of the universe needs us and desires to fit us into His eternal design! Though all-powerful and not dependent on any creature, He has chosen to carry out His plans through lowly human instruments. If this were not so, He would have taken us to heaven as soon as He saved us by His grace.

Someone once asked Francis of Assisi how he was able to accomplish so much. He replied, “This may be why: The Lord looked down from heaven and said, ‘Where can I find the weakest, littlest man on earth?’ Then He saw me and said, ‘I’ve found him. I will work through him, and he won’t be proud of it. He’ll see that I am only using him because of his insignificance.’ ”

You may be small in your own eyes, but God has need of you! — Paul Van Gorder

Yours is a mission you alone can fill,
Whether it be to build or teach or till;
Your goal may still be hidden from your view,
But somewhere God has urgent need of you. —Thayer

God is looking for ordinary people for extraordinary work.
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  #580  
Old 03-29-2010, 01:52 AM
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Default Mar. 29

March 29, 2010

Thanks, God!

READ: Psalm 105:1-5

Oh, give thanks to the Lord! —Psalm 105:1

At RBC Ministries, our human resources team has developed an effective and encouraging program that centers around gratefulness.

When an employee notices something good another employee does here at the office, he or she can take a special “Thank You” card provided by human resources and write a note of appreciation. It’s a good feeling to walk into your office and find one of those cards on your desk.

Isn’t it great to be thanked for a job well done? Doesn’t a good, hearty “thank you” brighten your day? And doesn’t it make your relationships a little more special—just to know that your work is not being taken for granted?

Everybody loves to be thanked. Even God. Our heavenly Father finds pleasure in our expression of thanks to Him. It’s His will that we tell Him “Thank You.” “Give thanks in all circumstances,” Paul said, “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18 niv). The writer of Hebrews took it a step further by saying, “Let us be thankful, and so worship God” (12:28 niv).

Keep looking for ways to improve your relationship with God. Don’t forget what may be the most basic way to worship and honor Him: Tell Him “Thanks.” — Dave Branon

Then let us adore and give Him His right,
All glory and power, all wisdom and might,
All honor and blessing, with angels above,
And thanks never ceasing for infinite love. —Wesley

The worship most acceptable to God comes from a thankful heart.
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