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  #651  
Old 06-05-2010, 03:11 AM
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Default Jun. 5

Undeterred Determination

June 5, 2010

Read: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

All things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. —2 Corinthians 5:18

One of the great privileges of serving at Moody Bible Institute was hearing about graduates who had impacted the world for Christ. Their stories of sacrifice, perseverance, and passion for the gospel were inspiring.

In the late 19th century, Mary McLeod Bethune spent 2 years studying at Moody in Chicago, training to become a missionary in Africa. But after she graduated, no mission board would give her the opportunity, as an African-American woman, to serve on the mission field. Unable to fulfill her dream to go to Africa, she didn’t give up on her calling to serve Jesus. Undaunted, she started a small school for African-American girls in Florida that would eventually blossom into Bethune-Cookman College. She became a powerful force for change in the status of women.

Mary’s legacy was forged by her determination to serve Jesus even in the face of shattered dreams. She knew that God had entrusted to her “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18)—and she wouldn’t give up.

That wasn’t just a mandate for Mary McLeod Bethune. Telling people they can be reconciled to God through Christ is a calling given to all of us. Look for a way to make a difference for Jesus today—right where you are!



Wherever You have placed us, Lord,
Give us the courage to proclaim
To people who are lost in sin:
“You can be new in Jesus’ name.” —Sper

One of the qualities God looks for in His people is a heart that is willing to serve Him.
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  #652  
Old 06-05-2010, 04:32 PM
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Default Jun. 6

A Hero Who Healed

June 6, 2010

Read: 1 Peter 3:8-17
Do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. —1 Peter 3:14

Corporal Desmond Doss was the first conscientious objector to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest military award. A devout follower of Christ, Doss believed that it was not right for him to kill others, but he wanted to serve his country so he volunteered as a medic. During boot camp, his fellow soldiers ridiculed him for refusing to fire a rifle. They mocked him when he read his Bible and knelt beside his bunk at night to pray. But in combat, it was a different story.

During the World War II battle for Okinawa in May 1945, Doss repeatedly risked his life to rescue scores of wounded men. Through his unselfish actions, he earned the gratitude and respect of his former critics and of those whose lives he saved.

In the face of unjust criticism, Peter told his fellow Christians, “Even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled’ ” (1 Peter 3:14). He urged them to honor God in their hearts and be ready to give a respectful reply to anyone who asked about the hope within them (v.15).

May our response to a hurting world that’s often hostile to Christ be one that demonstrates God’s love.



We’re told to love the enemies
That in this life we face,
For showing love that’s not deserved
Reveals to them God’s grace. —Bosch

To return good for good is human; to return good for evil is divine.
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  #653  
Old 06-07-2010, 04:26 AM
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Default Jun. 7

A Steward Of Grace

June 7, 2010

Read: 1 Cor. 15:1-11

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. —1 Peter 4:10

Last week I had several opportunities to show grace. I wasn’t perfect, but I was pleased with the way I handled one situation in particular. Instead of getting angry, I said, “I understand how that could have happened. I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes,” and I left it at that.

According to my own grading scale, I deserved a high score. Not perfect, but close. Lurking in the back of my mind (I hate to admit) was the thought that maybe by being gracious I could expect to be treated that way at some future date.

The following Sunday morning our congregation was singing “Amazing Grace,” and suddenly the audacity of my attitude came through to me in the words, “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”

What in the world was I thinking?! The grace we show to others is not our own. The only reason we can “give” grace to anyone is because God has already given it to us. We can pass along only that which we have received from Him.

Good stewards look for opportunities to pass along to others what we have received from the Lord. May all of us be “good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).



The fullness of God’s matchless love
Shines forth from Calvary;
What mercy, grace He showed to us
When Jesus died upon that tree. —Anon.

When you know God’s grace, you’ll want to show God’s grace.
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  #654  
Old 06-08-2010, 02:48 AM
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Default Jun. 8

Give Me A Hand

June 8, 2010

Read: Psalm 139:7-12
Let Your hand become my help. —Psalm 119:173

Recently I was fishing with some friends and waded into a current that was too strong for my old legs. I should have known better; it’s a well-known fact that you can wade into flows that you can’t back out of.

I got that panicky feeling you get when you realize you’re in deep trouble. One more step and I would have been swept away.

I did the only thing I could think of: I called out to a friend nearby who is younger and stronger than I. “Hey, Pete!” I shouted. “Give me a hand, will you?” My friend waded into the current, reached out his strong hand, and pulled me into quiet water.

A few days later as I read Psalm 119, I came across verse 173: “Let Your hand become my help.” I thought of that day on the stream and other days when I have “waded” into difficult situations, overestimating my feeble abilities and putting myself or my loved ones in jeopardy. Perhaps you find yourself in that place today.

There is help nearby, a Friend much stronger than you and I—one whose hand can hold us (Ps. 139:10). The psalmist also says of Him, “You have a mighty arm; strong is Your hand” (89:13). You can call out to God: “Give me a hand!” and He will rush to your side.



Fear not, I am with thee—O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, I will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand. —Anon.

When adversity strikes us, God is ready to strengthen us.
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  #655  
Old 06-09-2010, 02:11 AM
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Default Jun. 9

It’s Not Fair

June 9, 2010

Read: Psalm 103:1-10

He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. —Psalm 103:10

“Not fair!” Whether you’ve said it or at least thought it, you’ve got to admit, it’s hard to see someone get away with something and not get what they deserve. We learn this early in life. Just ask the parent of any teenager. Kids hate to see their siblings get off scot-free for the things they got spanked for. Which is why they so readily tattle on each other. But then, we never really grow out of this. To our way of thinking, fairness means sinners deserve God’s wrath and we, the good people, deserve His applause.

But if God were into being “fair,” we would all be consumed by His judgment! We can be thankful for this: “[God] has not dealt with us according to our sins” (Ps. 103:10). We should be glad, not grumpy, that God chooses mercy over fairness and that He is willing to extend grace even to those who are undeserving and hopelessly lost. And while we are thinking about it, when was the last time we let mercy trump fairness with someone who offended us?

It’s not God’s fairness but His mercy that drives Him to pursue us so that heaven can have a party when we are found (Luke 15:7). Personally, I’m thankful that God has not been “fair” with me! Aren’t you?



Favor to the undeserving;
Love, when from God we have turned;
Mercy, when His love we’ve spurned—
That’s God’s grace! —Anon.

We can show mercy to others because God has shown mercy to us.
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  #656  
Old 06-10-2010, 02:48 AM
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Default Jun. 10

Faithful Prayer

June 10, 2010

Read: 1 Timothy 2:1-7

[Pray] for kings and all who are in authority. —1 Timothy 2:2

In June 2009, 95-year-old Emma Gray died. For over two decades, she had been the cleaning lady in a big house. Each night as she did her work, she prayed for blessings, wisdom, and safety for the man she worked for.

Although Emma worked in the same place for 24 years, the occupants of the residence changed every 4 years or so. Over the years, Emma offered her nightly prayers for six US Presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter.

Emma had her personal favorites, but she prayed for them all. She followed the instruction we read in 1 Timothy 2 to pray for “all who are in authority” (v.2). The verses go on to speak of how living “a quiet and peaceable life” and being a godly and reverent person “is good and acceptable in the sight of God . . . who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (vv.2-4).

Because God “hears the prayer of the righteous” (Prov. 15:29), who knows how He used Emma’s faithful prayers? In Proverbs 21:1, we read: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

Like Emma, we are to pray for our leaders. Is there someone God is calling you to pray for today?



No leader is beyond God’s grace
When righteous people pray;
For when God’s children intercede,
The Lord will have His way. —D. De Haan

To influence leaders for God, intercede with God for leaders.
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  #657  
Old 06-11-2010, 02:26 AM
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Default Jun. 11

Stop To Help

June 11, 2010

Read: Luke 10:30-37
You shall love . . . your neighbor as yourself. —Luke 10:27

Dr. Scott Kurtzman, chief of surgery at Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut, was on his way to deliver a lecture when he witnessed a horrible crash involving 20 vehicles. The doctor shifted into trauma mode, worked his way through the mess of metal, and called out, “Who needs help?” After 90 minutes of assisting, and the victims were taken to area hospitals, Dr. Kurtzman commented, “A person with my skills simply can’t drive by someone who is injured. I refuse to live my life that way.”

Jesus told a parable about a man who stopped to help another (Luke 10:30-37). A Jewish man had been ambushed, stripped, robbed, and left for dead. A Jewish priest and a temple assistant passed by, saw the man, and crossed over to the other side. Then a despised Samaritan came by, saw the man, and was filled with compassion. His compassion was translated into action: He soothed and bandaged the man’s wounds, took him to an inn, cared for him while he could, paid for all his medical expenses, and then promised the innkeeper he would return to pay any additional expenses.

There are people around us who are suffering. Moved with compassion for their pain, let’s be those who stop to help.



Reach out in Jesus’ name
With hands of love and care
To those who are in need
And caught in life’s despair. —Sper

Compassion is always active.
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  #658  
Old 06-12-2010, 04:54 AM
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Default Jun. 12

The Shooting Panda

June 12, 2010

Read: 2 Timothy 2:1-15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, . . . rightly dividing the Word of truth. —2 Timothy 2:15

In her amusing book Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss bemoans the problem of poor punctuation in today’s world. To illustrate, she tells the funny story of a panda who enters a café, orders a sandwich, eats it, and then pulls out a gun and starts shooting. When a waiter asks him to explain his behavior, the panda hands him a poorly punctuated wildlife guide and asks him to look up the description of a panda. It reads: “Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

Having a comma after the word eats is an error that changes the whole meaning of the last sentence. The words shoots and leaves become actions, instead of plants to eat.

This idea of being careful with language is important in Bible study as well. Paul described this process as “rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). The phrase translated “rightly dividing” was used of a skilled craftsman cutting something straight. In the context of Bible study, it means taking the time for diligent and careful study, while prayerfully asking for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. It means teaching the truth directly and correctly. Accurately discerning and passing on God’s truth must be the priority of every conscientious believer.



Correctly handling the Word of truth
Takes diligence and care;
So make the time to study it
And then that truth declare. —Hess

Apply yourself to the study of the Bible and apply the Bible to yourself.
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  #659  
Old 06-13-2010, 04:21 AM
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Default Jun. 13

Run!

June 13, 2010

Read: 1 Corinthians 9:19-27

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. —1 Corinthians 9:24

In the award-winning film Chariots of Fire, one of the characters is legendary British sprinter Harold Abrahams. He is obsessed with winning, but in a preliminary 100-meter dash leading up to the 1924 Olympics, he is soundly beaten by his rival, Eric Liddell. Abrahams’ response is deep despair. When his girlfriend, Sybil, tries to encourage him, Harold angrily declares, “I run to win. If I can’t win, I won’t run!” Sybil responds wisely, “If you don’t run, you can’t win.”

Life is full of reversals, and we as Christians are not excluded from disappointments that make us want to give up. But in the race that is the Christian life, Paul challenges us to keep running. He told the Corinthians, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it” (1 Cor. 9:24). We are to run faithfully, Paul is saying, spurred on by the knowledge that we run to honor our King and to receive from Him an eternal crown.

If we falter in our running—if we quit serving God or give in to sin because of our difficulties—we risk losing a rich reward we could have received had we run our best.

Sybil was right. “If you don’t run, you can’t win.”



While running with patience the race for the King,
With obstacles taking their toll,
We slow down to look up for help from our Lord;
He keeps us aware of our goal. —Branon

Greater than winning any medal will be hearing the Master say, “Well done!”
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  #660  
Old 06-14-2010, 07:03 AM
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Default Jun. 14

The Good Story

June 14, 2010

Read: Luke 23:44-24:3

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. —Luke 24:2-3

People tend to remember negative images more than they do positive ones, according to an experiment conducted at the University of Chicago. While people claim that they want to turn away from the barrage of bad news in the media—reports on tragedies, diseases, economic downturns—this study suggests that their minds are drawn to the stories.

Catherine Hankey (1834-1911) was more interested in the “good news.” She had a great desire to see young women come to know Christ. In 1866, she became very ill. As she lay in bed, she thought about all those with whom she had shared the story of Jesus’ redemption, and she wished that someone would visit and comfort her with “the old, old story.” That’s when she wrote the poem that later became a hymn, “Tell Me the Old, Old Story”:

Tell me the story slowly, that I may take it in—

That wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin.

Tell me the story often, for I forget so soon;

The early dew of morning has passed away at noon.

We never tire of hearing the story that because of His great love God sent His one and only Son to this earth (John 3:16). He lived a perfect life, took our sin upon Himself when He was crucified, and 3 days later rose again (Luke 23:44-24:3). When we receive Him as our Savior, we are given eternal life and become His children (John 1:12).

Tell someone the old, old story of Jesus and His love. They need some good news.




The good news of Christ is the best news in the world.
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