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  #611  
Old 04-27-2010, 03:22 AM
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Default Apr. 27

April 27, 2010

For The Sake Of His Name

READ: 1 Samuel 12:19-25

I will never leave you nor forsake you. —Hebrews 13:5

The ancient Israelites gathered at Gilgal for the coronation of Saul as their first king (1 Sam. 11:15). The Lord was not pleased that His people had asked for a king, yet on this occasion Samuel uttered these words: “The Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people” (12:22).

We too are God’s “own special people” if we have trusted Jesus as Savior (1 Peter 2:9). He will not forsake us even though He knows we will fail Him. He knows what we are like—sinful, weak, and frail. He knew it before He called us and drew us to Himself. The certainty of our salvation rests not in ourselves but on the character of God (1 John 5:20). He will keep us to the end.

This does not give us an excuse to continue in sin. Paul said, “Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom. 6:2). Our choices do reflect on God’s reputation, our witness in the world, and our fellowship with Him. But God will never reject His people, those who are truly His. The Lord cannot and will not forsake His own (Heb. 13:5).

We can rest assured. What God saves, He keeps—for the sake of His great name! — David H. Roper

“Able to keep!” how sure is the word!
He is my Keeper, Savior, and Lord.
“Never shall perish,” one of His sheep,
Glory to God! He is able to keep. —Anon.

Lives rooted in God’s unchanging grace can never be uprooted.
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"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men"
-Colossians 3:23

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  #612  
Old 04-28-2010, 03:26 AM
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Default Apr. 28

April 28, 2010

Make My Brown Eyes Blue

READ: Matthew 16:24-28

Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. —Matthew 16:25

As a young girl, Amy Carmichael (1867–1951) wished she had blue eyes instead of brown. She even prayed that God would change her eye color and was disappointed when it didn’t happen. At age 20, Amy sensed that the Lord was calling her to serve Him as a missionary. After serving in various places, she went to India. It was then that she realized God’s wisdom in the way He had made her. She may have had a more difficult time gaining acceptance from the brown-eyed people if her eyes had been blue. She served God in India for 55 years.

We don’t know for sure that Amy was more readily accepted because of her eye color. But we do know and believe that it is the Lord “who has made us, and not we ourselves” (Ps. 100:3). As we submit to His wisdom in everything, we can serve Him effectively.

Amy knew what submission was. When asked about missionary life, she replied, “Missionary life is simply a chance to die.” Jesus said, “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25).

That describes the devoted Christian’s life as well— total surrender to God’s plans and will for us. May we submit to Him today. — Anne Cetas

Although I may not understand
The path You’ve laid for me,
Complete surrender to Your will—
Lord, this my prayer shall be. —Sherbert

Our lives are never more secure than when they are abandoned to God.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #613  
Old 04-29-2010, 03:13 AM
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Default Apr. 29

April 29, 2010

Our Demanding Schedules

READ: Mark 1:32-39

The whole city was gathered together at the door. Then He healed many. —Mark 1:33-34

Is your life too busy? Business deadlines, productivity quotas, and shuttling children to lessons and sporting events can really fill up your schedule. It’s easy to think, If only I didn’t have so many responsibilities, then I could walk in vital union with God.

Yet C. S. Lewis wisely points out that no one was busier than Christ. “Our model is the Jesus . . . of the workshop, the roads, the crowds, the clamorous demands and surly oppositions, the lack of all peace and privacy, the interruptions. For this . . . is the Divine life operating under human conditions.”

We read of Jesus in Capernaum: “At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Then He healed many” (Mark 1:32-34). The next day Christ sought out a solitary place and prayed. There He received direction from His Father to pursue a demanding ministry in another place. Our Lord communed with His Father and depended on the Spirit to minister through Him.

Is your schedule demanding? Follow the example of Jesus and set aside a specific time for prayer. Then depend upon God’s power to help you meet each day’s demands. — Dennis Fisher

The many tasks we face each day
Can burden and oppress,
But spending time with God each day
Can bring relief from stress. —Sper

To keep your life in balance, lean on the Lord.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #614  
Old 04-30-2010, 03:31 AM
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Default Apr. 30

April 30, 2010

Honestly

READ: Proverbs 12:17-22

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight. —Proverbs 12:22

Today is National Honesty Day in the United States. It is a little-known designation for April 30, but an important one nonetheless.

Author M. Hirsh Goldberg established National Honesty Day in the early 1990s as a way to honor the honorable and encourage honesty. He said that April 30 was selected because “April begins with a day dedicated to lying [April Fool’s Day] and should end on a higher moral note.”

Honesty Day would be a good time to review the value of this trait according to God’s Word. Honesty is not as easy as it seems—but we please God by striving for it.

An understanding of honesty begins with recognizing that God—our ultimate example—is truth (Deut. 32:4) and that He cannot lie (Num. 23:19; Heb. 6:18). Also, He hates falsehood (Prov. 6:16-19). Beyond that, all lies have as their originator Satan himself (John 8:44).

For our part, we can use these Scriptures as our guide: “A righteous man hates lying” (Prov. 13:5); love rejoices in truth (1 Cor. 13:6); lying is part of the old nature (Col. 3:9); growth means setting aside deceit (1 Peter 2:1); and speaking truth declares righteousness (Prov. 12:17).

Let’s make every day Honesty Day. — Dave Branon

Help me, dear Lord, to be honest and true
In all that I say and all that I do;
Give me the courage to do what is right,
To bring to the world a glimpse of Your light. —Fasick

People who trust God’s Word should be people whose word can be trusted.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #615  
Old 05-01-2010, 02:42 AM
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Default May. 1

May 1, 2010

The Search For Satisfaction

READ: Isaiah 55:1-6

Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? —Isaiah 55:2

When it comes to jigsaw puzzles, we all know that to enjoy a satisfying outcome you need all the pieces. In many ways, life is like that. We spend our days putting it together, hoping to create a complete picture out of all the scattered parts.

Yet sometimes it seems like a piece is missing. Perhaps we’ve been pursuing the wrong pieces to the puzzle. Even though we may know that life without God at the center is a life that has lost the most important piece, do we live as though He isn’t particularly relevant? And even though we may attend church regularly, is He the throbbing center of our lives? Sometimes we grow accustomed to feeling distant from God. This makes it easier to sin, complicating the sense that something important is missing.

But no matter how far we may drift from God, He wants us near. He appealed to His people through the prophet Isaiah: “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance” (Isa. 55:2).

If something is missing in your life, remember that God is the only One who can fully and abundantly satisfy you. Let Him complete the picture of your life. — Joe Stowell

The God-shaped void within our heart
Cannot be filled by treasure;
It’s only God who satisfies
In ways we cannot measure. —Sper

There’s a longing in every heart that only Jesus can satisfy.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #616  
Old 05-02-2010, 04:01 AM
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May 2, 2010

Recession Proof

READ: 1 Chron. 29:10-13

All that is in heaven and in earth is Yours. —1 Chronicles 29:11

In his sermon titled “What Is the Recession For?” pastor John Piper suggests that when the economy plummets, God has His own purposes. Some of them might be:

1. To expose hidden sin and so bring us to repentance and cleansing.

2. To wake us up to the constant and desperate condition of the developing world, where there is always and only recession of the worst kind.

3. To relocate the roots of our joy in His grace rather than in our goods, in His mercy rather than in our money, in His worth rather than in our wealth.

4. To advance His saving mission in the world—the spread of the gospel and the growth of His church—precisely at a time when human resources are least able to support it.

5. To bring His church to care for its hurting members and to grow in the gift of love.

What else does God want to teach us in difficult times? That nothing is impossible with Him (Luke 1:37). That He who owns “the cattle on a thousand hills” (Ps. 50:10) is not limited by an economic downturn. That God hasn’t placed a moratorium on the Great Commission nor abandoned us (Matt. 28:20). Let’s not put our hopes on worldly prosperity, but on the One who owns it all! — Cindy Hess Kasper

When difficulties come our way,
God uses them to show
That when we put our trust in Him
His goodness we will know. —Sper

When all you have is God, you have all you need.
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  #617  
Old 05-03-2010, 12:15 AM
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Default May. 3

May 3, 2010

Words—Do They Matter?

READ: Proverbs 15:1-7

If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. —James 1:26

I heard a teenager from a Christian family declare, “My mom doesn’t think swear words are bad.” He then indicated which words she found acceptable—words that have long been considered inappropriate.

Society’s standard of language has declined in recent years, but we don’t have to decline with it. As we strive to be “very careful . . . how [we] live” (Eph. 5:15 niv), we should think about how to honor God with our words.

We please the Lord with our tongue when we show discernment. “He who restrains his lips is wise,” Proverbs 10:19 reminds us. When we do speak, we are to filter the words that escape our lips: “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles” (21:23).

It is important to use kind, positive words—even to address tough subjects. “A harsh word stirs up anger,” but “the tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly” (Prov. 15:1-2).

Finally, avoid words that reflect poorly on who we are as God’s children. Paul’s admonition to “let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth” (Eph. 4:29) sets a strong standard for the righteous use of words.

To honor God in each part of life, use words that are pleasing and acceptable to a holy God. — Dave Branon

The tongue can be a blessing
And the tongue can be a curse;
Say, friend, how are you using yours:
For better or for worse? —Anon.

What we say reveals who we are.
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  #618  
Old 05-04-2010, 01:43 AM
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Default May. 4

May 4, 2010

God’s Devotion

READ: Ephesians 3:14-21

That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend . . . the love of Christ which passes knowledge. —Ephesians 3:17-19

In 1826, the British author Thomas Carlyle married Jane Welsh, who also was an accomplished writer. She dedicated herself to his success and served him wholeheartedly.

Because of a stomach ailment and a nervous disorder, he had a rather ornery temperament. So she made special meals for him and tried to keep the house as quiet as possible so he could do his writing.

Thomas didn’t often recognize Jane’s helpful spirit nor did he spend much time with her. However, he wrote this about her to his mother: “I may say in my heart that she . . . loves me with a devotedness which is a mystery to me how I have ever deserved. She . . . looks with such soft cheerfulness into my gloomy countenance, that new hope passed into me every time I met her eye.”

We too have Someone who loves us with a devotedness that is a mystery how we as sinners ever deserved it! He is God the Father, “who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all” (Rom. 8:32). His love is wide, long, deep, and high and exceeds our knowledge (Eph. 3:18-19).

Understanding and appreciating God’s love is so vital that Paul prayed for the Ephesians to be “rooted and grounded” in it (v.17). May that be our experience as well. — Anne Cetas

I can always count on God, my heavenly Father,
For He changes not; He always is the same;
Yesterday, today, forever, He is faithful,
And I know He loves me, praise His holy name. —Felten

There is no greater joy than to know God loves you.
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:13 AM
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Default May. 5

May 5, 2010

Letting God Choose

READ: Genesis 13:9-13

Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan. —Genesis 13:11

We may have secret longings too deep to utter to others—perhaps a desire for marriage, or a work or ministry we’d like to perform, or a special place to serve. We must put each desire in God’s hands and pray, “Lord, You must choose for me. I will not choose for myself.”

Genesis 13:10-11 tells us that Lot made his own choice about a desire he had. He “lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere . . . like the garden of the Lord . . . . Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan.”

The plain of Jordan, with its rich soil and copious water supply, looked best to Lot. But the land was polluted with wickedness (v.13). Pastor Ray Stedman wrote that “Lot, presuming to run his own life, ‘chose for himself,’ and, deceived by what he saw, stumbled blindly into heartache and judgment. Abram, on the other hand, was content to let God choose for him. . . . Abram saw it in its true light.” Lot chose for himself and lost everything—his family, his fortune, his favor with man.

It is always the best course for us to let God choose and to follow His direction, knowing as we do that all our heavenly Father’s choices are prompted by infinite wisdom and love. — David H. Roper

Long ago I made my life’s decision
To serve the Lord and have Him choose my way;
And when I’ve felt uncertain at a crossroad,
He’s never failed to lead me day by day. —Hess

Contentment comes when we want God’s will more than our own way.
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  #620  
Old 05-06-2010, 04:10 AM
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Default May. 6

May 6, 2010

God Has Time For You

READ: Psalm 34:4-18

This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. —Psalm 34:6

Historian Cassius Dio recorded a revealing event from the life of Hadrian, the Roman Emperor from ad 117–138: “Once, when a woman made a request of [Hadrian] as he passed by on a journey, he at first said to her, ‘I haven’t time,’ but afterwards, when she cried out, ‘Cease, then, being emperor,’ he turned about and granted her a hearing.”

How often we say or hear, “Not now, I’m busy” or “I’m sorry, but I just don’t have time.” Yet, our heavenly Father, the Master and Creator of everything, always has time for us. The psalmist wrote: “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. . . . The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Ps. 34:15-17).

God is not like the emperor or a busy executive who tries to avoid interruption. Instead, the Father’s joy is to listen and respond to His children. “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (v.18).

Hadrian’s afterthought was, “I must take time for my subjects.” God’s first thought is, “I always have time for those who come to Me.” Whenever we need to talk, the Lord is ready to listen. — David C. McCasland

I love to dwell upon the thought
That Jesus cares for me;
It matters not what life may bring—
He loves me tenderly. —Adams

God is never too busy to listen to His children.
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