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  #641  
Old 05-26-2010, 02:32 AM
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Default May. 26

May 26, 2010

Day Of Good News

READ: 2 Kings 7:3-11

We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. —2 Kings 7:9

My Australian friend Graham wasn’t born blind. He was blinded by a freak accident at age 9. Yet he never felt sorry for himself. Wherever he went, he shared what Jesus Christ meant to him. His last trip was to Thailand as a practicing physiotherapist. Besides using his professional skills there, he wanted to share the gospel of Christ.

The four lepers in 2 Kings 7 had some good news to share as well. They had stumbled into the Syrian camp and found it deserted. After helping themselves to the food and loot, they remembered the starving people of Samaria, shut in as a result of a Syrian siege. Their response was: “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent” (v.9). So they went and told their fellow Israelites about the provisions.

Despite their physical and social disadvantages, both Graham and the lepers thought about others. They were thankful for what they had found and considered it too good to keep to themselves.

Do you know someone who needs to know what Jesus has done? Don’t make excuses for what you lack in abilities. Instead, share the good news of what the Lord has done for you, and your life will take on new purpose. — C. P. Hia

Help us, Lord, to be a lifeline
To a dying world today,
Bringing hope to hopeless people,
Telling them that Christ’s the way. —Sper

When we are thankful for what we have, we want to share it with others.
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  #642  
Old 05-27-2010, 03:25 AM
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Default May. 27

May 27, 2010

Garlic And Sapphires

READ: James 2:1-9

If you show partiality, you commit sin. —James 2:9

In her fascinating book Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, Ruth Reichl reflects on her 6 years as a New York Times restaurant critic. Because she was the most influential critic in the country, top restaurants posted her photograph so their employees could recognize her. Hoping to earn a high rating in the New York Times, the staff intended to provide her with their top service and best cuisine.

In response, Reichl developed a clever strategy. Hoping to be treated as a regular patron, she disguised herself. On one occasion, she dressed up as an old woman. The restaurant made her wait a long time to be seated and then was unresponsive to her requests.

In the early church, James spoke out against favoritism: “[If] you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or, ‘Sit here at my footstool,’ have you not shown partiality among yourselves?” (2:3-4).

When people attend our churches, are they treated impartially? Or do we show favoritism to the wealthy or elite? God calls us to show concern for and interest in all people, regardless of their social status. Let’s welcome all to join us in worshiping the King! — Dennis Fisher

Dear Lord, You welcomed us into Your kingdom, not because of who we are but because of who You are— our loving and merciful God. Help us to open our arms of fellowship to all who enter in. Amen.

God lets us into His fellowship. Who are we to keep others out?
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  #643  
Old 05-28-2010, 03:21 AM
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Default May. 28

May 28, 2010

Our Times— His Hands

READ: Psalm 31:1-16

“You are my God.” My times are in Your hand. —Psalm 31:14-15

In a message to the 2002 graduates of Cedarville University, Dr. Paul Dixon encouraged them with these words: “Your times are in God’s hands.” Our family listened and thought it was appropriate for the graduates, which included our daughter Julie.

We had no idea that in 5 days our 17-year-old Melissa would graduate to heaven through a car accident—and we would be left to recall with new meaning that thought from Psalm 31:15.

Over the years, we have become painfully aware that in God’s mysterious ways, He has planned for some Christians a life that is short. I think of one young Christian girl, the kind with a smile for everyone, who had a sore finger—and a week later was dead from a raging infection. Or the young believer who was killed while playing softball when a ball hit her in the neck. Or the teen boy who loved Jesus and fishing—and died when a car hit him as he rode his bike home from the fishing hole. Melissa, Heather, Maggie, and Thomas. In their short lives, they created a legacy of faith in Jesus and love for others. They were ready when His time for them had come.

“I trust in You,” the psalmist said, recognizing that his life was in God’s hands alone (vv.14-15). Are you trusting God for whatever comes next on your calendar? — Dave Branon

Sovereign Ruler of the skies,
Ever gracious, ever wise,
All my times are in Your hand,
All events at Your command. —Ryland

Our times are in God’s hands; our souls are in His keeping.
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  #644  
Old 05-29-2010, 04:15 AM
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Default May. 29

Never Say “Never”

Read: Acts 9:1-22

Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. —Acts 9:20

While a friend and I walked along the path of the former Berlin Wall, he told me, “This is one of those ‘never say never’ places in my life.” He explained that during the years when the Wall divided the city, he had made a dozen trips through Checkpoint Charlie to encourage members of the church living under continuing surveillance and opposition in East Germany. More than once, he had been detained, questioned, and harassed by the border guards.

In 1988, he took his teenage children to West Berlin and told them, “Take a good look at this wall, because someday when you bring your children here, this wall will still be standing.” A year later it was gone.

When Saul of Tarsus began to attack the followers of Jesus, no one could have imagined that he would ever become a disciple of Christ. “Never. Not a chance.” Yet Acts 9:1-9 records the story of Saul’s blinding encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Within a few days of that life-changing event, Saul was preaching in the synagogues of Damascus that Jesus was the Son of God, to the astonishment of all who heard him (vv.20-21).

When it comes to God’s work in the most difficult people we know, we should never say “never.”



God’s power cannot be confined
To what you think is possible;
So when it comes to changing lives—
Imagine the impossible. —Sper

Never say never when it comes to what God can do.
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  #645  
Old 05-30-2010, 04:35 AM
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Default May. 30

What Does It Take?

May 30, 2010

Read: Genesis 2:1-7

Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest. —Exodus 23:12

Today’s technology allows some people to work 24/7. We can bring our work home or take it on vacation. Work is ever-present with us—except when the electricity goes off.

An ice storm last winter covered several states in a thick glasslike glaze. Trees and branches fell, blocking roads and keeping people home. Power lines fell, leaving people in cold darkness, unable to accomplish anything that required electricity.

Whenever something like this interrupts my life, I realize how important my own work is to me. Without it, I feel unimportant, unproductive, and useless. But God doesn’t want work to be that important to us, and we shouldn’t need a power outage to get us to stop. In the Old Testament, God had a plan for getting His people to stop and pay attention to Him. It was called Sabbath. On the seventh day of the week, they were to stop their work (Ex. 23:12).

Although New Testament believers aren’t required to keep this law, rest is still important. Practicing a day of rest can keep us from the faulty belief that our work is more important than God’s.

What does it take to make you stop and pay attention to God?



He gives me work that I may seek His rest,
He gives me strength to meet the hardest test;
And as I walk in providential grace,
I find that joy goes with me, at God’s pace. —Gustafson

If we do not come apart and rest awhile, we may just plain come apart. —Havner
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  #646  
Old 05-31-2010, 03:10 AM
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Remember The Sacrifice

May 31, 2010

Read: 1 Cor. 11:23-34

Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me. —1 Corinthians 11:24

Memorial Day, we remember those who have died in the service of their country. In the United States, a place where such remembrances carry a deep and emotional significance is Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, DC. Arlington is a serious place where, due to the passing of aging war veterans and the ongoing conflicts around the world, there are currently about 25 military funerals every day.

This is particularly difficult for The Old Guard—members of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment who serve at Arlington. It is their task to bear the bodies of the fallen and honor their sacrifice. The members of The Old Guard never forget the price of liberty—for they are reminded of it every day.

Believers in Christ have been given the Lord’s Supper as a reminder of what our freedom from sin cost the Lord Jesus Christ. As we partake of the bread and the cup, we fulfill His command to “do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:24). But in the sober celebration of the sacrifice of Christ there is joy. For we need not leave our remembrances at the Lord’s Table. Living our lives for the Savior can show the world that we will never forget the sacrifice He has made for us.



Thank You, Lord, for dying for me
On the cross of Calvary;
Help me always to remember
What You did to set me free. —Sper

Remembering Christ’s death for us should cause us to live for Him.
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  #647  
Old 06-01-2010, 11:30 PM
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Default Jun. 1

David’s Questions

June 1, 2010

Read: Psalm 8

What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? —Psalm 8:4

An African proverb states, “The one who asks questions doesn’t lose his way.” That concept can be helpful as we consider David’s questions in the Psalms. He was clearly seeking God’s guidance for the way he should go.

Look, for example, at some of the questions he asked:

“O Lord—how long?” (6:3). A question of eagerness to see God’s plan accomplished.

“What is man that You are mindful of him?” (8:4). A question of awe that God even cares about sinful man.

“Why do You hide in times of trouble?” (10:1). A question that reveals a longing for God’s presence.

“Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?” (15:1). The ultimate question of who may live with God.

David had some tough questions for God. He had discovered what it was like to lose his way when he excluded God and followed his own sinful path. But as he penned the Psalms, he was a man in search of godliness, which meant he probed God’s mind about difficult subjects.

Questions. Like David, you have them. Keep asking. Then, through faith in God’s Word and the work of the Holy Spirit, listen as He leads you in His way.



My mind cries its questions,
My longing heart, joining:
O Father, please hear me!
O Spirit, keep teaching! —Verway

It’s good to have questions, but it’s even better to search for God’s answers.
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  #648  
Old 06-01-2010, 11:32 PM
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Default Jun. 2

ASAP

June 2, 2010

Read: 2 Kings 19:9-19

O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone. —2 Kings 19:19

For most English-speaking people, the acronym ASAP means “As Soon As Possible” or immediately. But for the Christian it can also mean, “Always Say A Prayer.”

King Hezekiah was one of Judah’s best kings. He restored the worship of God to his nation after his father Ahaz’s evil reign (2 Kings 18:3-4). Yet when the Assyrian king attacked Judah, Hezekiah capitulated to the king and stripped off the gold from the temple in Jerusalem to placate him (vv.13-16).

That did not satisfy the Assyrian king, however, who returned to issue another threat. It was then that Hezekiah turned to the Lord. He prayed, “You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. . . . Save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone” (19:15-19). When Hezekiah prayed, God answered him in a remarkable way and delivered him from his enemies (vv.35-37).

You may be facing a problem that leaves you feeling helpless. It may be the loss of a job, a difficult family or work situation, or health struggles. We have a powerful God to whom we can bring our concerns. So before you do anything else, remember to ASAP—Always Say A Prayer.



Something happens when we pray:
Powers of evil lose their sway,
We gain strength, and fear gives way—
Therefore, let us pray. —Anon.

Prayer should be our first response rather than our last resort.
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  #649  
Old 06-03-2010, 02:45 AM
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Default Jun. 3

Champion Marksman

June 3, 2010

Read: Philippians 3:7-14

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 3:14

Matt Emmons, Olympic gold medalist in rifle shooting in 2004, was set to win another event at Athens. He had a commanding lead and hoped to make a direct bull’s-eye on his last shot. But something went wrong—he hit the target, but he was aiming at the wrong one! That wrong focus dropped him to eighth place and cost him a medal.

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he expressed the importance of focusing on the right target in our Christian life. “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” he said (3:14).

Paul used the term “goal” in an illustration of an athlete running a race. Interestingly, the same word was also used of a target for shooting arrows. In both cases, the prospect of winning depends on being focused. For the believer that focus should be a lifetime pursuit of becoming more like our Savior Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:28-29; Gal. 5:22-23).

What is your focus today? Are you preoccupied with getting ahead and making life more comfortable? If you’re a believer, the right target to shoot for is to become more like the Son of God (2 Cor. 3:18). Today make sure you are aiming at the right target!



I have one deep supreme desire,
That I may be like Jesus.
To this I fervently aspire,
That I may be like Jesus. —Chisholm

To make the most of your life, make God’s goals your goals.
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  #650  
Old 06-04-2010, 02:47 AM
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Default Jun. 4

Plausible Deniability

June 4, 2010

Read: Psalm 51:1-10

The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. —1 Samuel 16:7

Answering media charges of scandal and impropriety, the guilty politician responded with the plea, “I have no recollection of those events.” It was yet another attempt of a public figure to apply a strategy called “plausible deniability.” This is when individuals try to create a personal safety net for themselves by seeking to convince others that they had no knowledge of the events in question. Someone else gets blamed and becomes the scapegoat for the guilty person’s wrongs.

Sometimes Christians have their own kind of plausible deniability. We claim ignorance of our wrong behavior, rationalize, or blame others—but God knows the truth. The Bible tells us: “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). This is true whether the heart is pure or if it’s a corrupt heart robed in false claims of innocence. We may fool others who see us only on the outside, but God sees the reality of our hearts—whether good or bad.

It is wise, therefore, to humbly confess our faults to the Lord. He desires that we admit the truth (Ps. 51:6). The only way to escape the sin and restore our fellowship with God is to acknowledge and confess it to Him (vv.3-4).



Dear Lord, be merciful to me;
My sin has grieved Your heart;
And strengthen my resolve, O Lord,
From evil to depart. —D. De Haan

We may successfully fool others, but God knows our hearts.
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