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  #671  
Old 06-25-2010, 12:17 AM
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Default Jun. 25

The Right People

June 25, 2010

Read: 1 Corinthians 12:7-18

God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. —1 Corinthians 12:18

The film Miracle tells the true story of the 1980 US Olympic ice hockey team as it marches to an improbable gold medal. At the outset of the story, coach Herb Brooks is shown selecting the players for his team. When he gives assistant coach Craig Patrick a list of names he has chosen, Craig says in surprise, “You’re missing some of the best players.” Brooks responds, “I’m not looking for the best players, Craig—just the right ones.”

Brooks knew that individual talent would take the team only so far. A willingness to fit into his style of selfless play would be far more important than talent. Clearly, team success, not individual glory, was the priority.

The biblical call to service has a similar emphasis. In God’s purposes, each believer does his or her part, but the results are team-oriented. After explaining the wide differences in the spiritual gifts of believers, Paul says, “the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” (1 Cor. 12:7). When we use the skills God gives us, His purposes are accomplished, and He gets the glory. In God’s service, it’s not about being the best, the most talented, or the most gifted. It’s about being the right people—the ones God “set . . . in the body” (v.18)—joining together to serve the same team.



Christ builds His church with different stones
And makes each one secure;
All shapes and sizes fit in place
To make His church endure. —Anon.

There are no unimportant people in the body of Christ.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #672  
Old 06-25-2010, 11:04 PM
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Default Jun. 26

Guilty Of Plenty

June 26, 2010

Read: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

The grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant. —1 Timothy 1:14

A man was filling out a job application when he came to the question “Have you ever been arrested?” He wrote, “No.” The next question, intended for people who had answered “Yes” to the previous question, was “Why?” The applicant answered it anyway: “I never got caught.” He evidently knew he was guilty of plenty!

So was the apostle Paul. He knew he had personally done wrong and sinned against God. He wrote, “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man” (1 Tim. 1:13). He even called himself the “chief ” of sinners (v.15).

We too were once separated from the Lord because of our sin and were considered His enemies (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21). But when we confessed our sin and acknowledged our need for His forgiveness, He cleansed us and made us new.

Those of us who have known the Lord for many years may have the tendency to forget what we’ve been rescued from and forgiven of. Sharing about our past and current failures and giving praise to God for forgiveness will help us not to come across as “holier-than-thou” to people who don’t yet know the Lord.

The truth is we’ve all been guilty of plenty, and God deserves the glory for His mercy toward us.



All that we were—our sins, our guilt,
Our death—was all our own;
All that we are we owe to Thee,
Thou God of grace, alone. —Bonar

Grace is everything for those who deserve nothing.
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  #673  
Old 06-27-2010, 04:44 AM
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Default Jun. 27

Really Thirsty

June 27, 2010

Read: Psalm 42

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. —Psalm 42:1

Have you ever been really thirsty? Years ago, I visited my sister Kathy in Mali, West Africa. During an afternoon of seeing the sights, the temperature had risen far above 100ºF. Parched, I told her, “Hey, I need something to drink.” When Kathy told me she had forgotten to bring along a supply of filtered water, I began to get a bit desperate. The longer we drove, the more I wondered what it was like to truly die of thirst.

Finally, Kathy said, “I know where we can go,” as she drove up to the gate of an embassy. Inside I beheld the most beautiful sight—a water cooler! I grabbed one of the tiny paper cups and filled it again and again. My body had been deprived too long and now required lots of liquid to reverse the effects of dehydration.

The psalmist compared physical thirst with spiritual thirst: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God” (Ps. 42:1). His thirst was that of a desperate longing for God—the one and only living God (v.2).

Do you long for something this world can’t provide? This dissatisfaction is a thirst of the soul for God. Run to the One who alone can quench that thirst. “He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (Ps. 107:9).



My hunger for the truth He satisfies;
Upon the Word, the Living Bread, I feed:
No parching thirst I know, because His grace,
A pool of endless depth, supplies my need. —Sanders

Only Jesus, the Living Water, can satisfy the thirsty soul.
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  #674  
Old 06-28-2010, 03:46 AM
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Default Jun. 28

Toxic Living

June 28, 2010

Read: 1 Samuel 13:7-14

Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord.” —1 Samuel 13:13

Picher, Oklahoma, is no more. In mid-2009, this once-bustling town of 20,000 went out of business. In the first quarter of the 1900s, Picher was a boomtown because of its abundant lead and zinc. Workers extracted the ore, which was used to help arm the US during both World Wars.

The town faded as the ore began to run out—but the biggest problem was that while the lead and zinc brought wealth, they also brought pollution. Because nothing was done to deal with the pollution, Picher became a toxic wasteland, and the government condemned the land.

What happened to Picher can happen to people. Prosperity can look so good that it’s hard to think about possible downsides. Actions that are detrimental to long-term spiritual health are accepted, and unless the problem is corrected, destruction follows. It happened to King Saul. He began as a good king, but in seeking success he failed to see the damage he was doing. Turning his back on God’s commands, he acted “foolishly” (1 Sam. 13:13) and lost his kingdom (v.14).

In our attempts to find success, we need to watch out for spiritual pollution that comes when we fail to follow God’s clear scriptural guidelines. Godly living always beats toxic living.



The Lord has given us commands
And told us to obey;
Our own designs are sure to fail
If we neglect His way! —Bosch

No one can be a real success without God.
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  #675  
Old 06-29-2010, 03:28 AM
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Default Jun. 29

Paul’s Heart

June 29, 2010

Read: Philippians 1:12-21

With all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. —Philippians 1:20

According to a long-held Christian tradition, the apostle Paul was beheaded and buried in Rome around ad 67. In 2009, scientists conducted carbon dating tests on what many believe to be his remains. While these tests on the bone fragments confirmed that they date from the first or second century, positive identification remains in question. But no matter where Paul’s bones rest, his heart lives on through his letters in the New Testament.

While imprisoned in Rome, Paul wrote to the followers of Jesus in Philippi about his purpose in life. He spoke of his “earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:20-21).

As we read Paul’s words today, they challenge us to examine our own hearts. Are we as passionate as he was about Jesus Christ? Is it our goal to honor Him in our everyday life?

Long after we’re gone, those who knew us will remember our hearts. May we, like Paul, create a legacy of hope and encouragement centered around Jesus Christ.



Lord, I would serve You day by day,
Doing Your will, let come what may;
Keep my heart faithful, strong, and true,
Always to trust and honor You. —Hess

We are Christ’s “letters of recommendation” to all who read our lives.
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  #676  
Old 06-30-2010, 04:41 AM
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Default Jun. 30

Rescued

June 30, 2010

Read: Colossians 1:12-23

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. —Colossians 1:13

A South African man surprised nine men robbing his home. Seven of the robbers ran away, but the homeowner managed to shove two into his backyard pool. After realizing that one of the robbers couldn’t swim, the homeowner jumped in to save him. The Cape Times reports that once out of the pool, the wet thief called to his friends to come back. Then he pulled a knife and threatened the man who had just rescued him. The homeowner said, “We were still standing near the pool, and when I saw the knife I just threw him back in. But he was gasping for air and was drowning. So I rescued him again.”

In his letter to the Colossians, the apostle Paul wrote of another rescue:God the Father had saved them from the domain of darkness. This rescue occurred at the death of Christ, but also at the Colossians’ conversion. The imagery Paul used (1:12-13) suggests that believers have been rescued from the dark reign of Satan by being transferred as free people into the peaceable rule of Christ. By Jesus’ death, believers become free citizens in the kingdom of light.

The appropriate response to such amazing grace is to show joyous gratitude by offering God acceptable service with reverence and awe (Heb. 12:28).



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

Through the cross, Jesus rescued and redeemed the rebellious.
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  #677  
Old 07-01-2010, 05:13 AM
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Default Jul. 1

A Worry List

July 1, 2010

Read: Matthew 6:25-34

Do not worry about tomorrow. —Matthew 6:34

I was worrying about a few things as I sat in my car under a shade tree at lunchtime. Then a robin, with a fat worm dangling from its mouth, landed near my door and looked up at me. The robin was a vivid reminder to me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:25-26, “Do not worry about your life . . . . Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

Years ago, in an article in the Denver Seminary magazine Focal Point, Paul Borden gave some helpful suggestions for worriers:

Start a worry list. Write down what you’re worried about. The bills. Your job. Your children or grandchildren. Your health. The future.

Turn your worry list into a prayer list. Ask the Lord to work in those situations you’re concerned about. Pray specifically for your needs and depend on Him.

Turn your prayer list into an action list. If you have any insight that there’s something you can do about your cares, do it. As we turn our worries into prayer and action, Borden says, “Paralyzing anxiety can be replaced by concern for the responsibilities of life.”

Why not start your list right now?



Don’t fret about the future
Or be consumed by cares;
Instead take all your worries
And turn them into prayers. —Sper

What you have made a matter of prayer should cease to be a matter of care.
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  #678  
Old 07-02-2010, 05:11 AM
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Default Jul. 2

Bearing The Name

July 2, 2010

Read: Acts 11:19-26

The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. —Acts 11:26

Hans Geiger, Marie Curie, Rudolf Diesel, Samuel Morse, and Louis Braille share something in common. They all invented or discovered something significant that bears their name. Their names, along with many others, appear in the “Encyclopedia Britannica’s Greatest Inventions,” a list of “325 innovations that have had profound effects on human life.”

We who follow Christ bear His name. In Luke’s record of the early church, he said: “The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). Later, Peter urged the early believers not to be ashamed of suffering as “a Christian” (1 Peter 4:16). The term Christian, once directed at Jesus’ followers in scorn, was embraced by them as a badge of honor, a mark of allegiance to Him.

E. M. Blaiklock, former Chair of Classics at the University of Auckland, wrote that in the first century the term Christian had “a certain appropriateness, for it implied loyalty and acceptance of a person, and that person, the Messiah (Christ). . . . The true modern use of the word follows the same tradition. . . . The Christian is one who accepts, with all its implications, the lordship of Jesus Christ.”

As followers of Christ today, we gladly bear His name as our Savior, Lord, and Friend.



Just what do Christians look like?
What sets their lives apart?
They’re ordinary people
Who love God from the heart. —D. De Haan

Don’t be a Christian in name only.
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  #679  
Old 07-03-2010, 03:57 AM
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Default Jul. 3

A Snail’s Pace

July 3, 2010

Read: Romans 5:1-5

Tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. —Romans 5:3-4

One of my earliest childhood memories was watching snails in our backyard flower garden. I was fascinated by this little creature with a shell, a slimy little tummy, and tiny eyes that turned like periscopes. But what really seemed unusual was how slowly a snail travels.

How slow does a snail go? One study clocked a snail at 0.00758 miles per hour—or 40 feet in one hour. No wonder we use the phrase moving at a snail’s pace to mean “slow.”

Although a snail does move at a “sluggish” pace, one virtue it does possess is perseverance. The great 19th-century preacher Charles Spurgeon wryly observed, “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”

According to the apostle Paul, perseverance is a key component in character development. He explained that “tribulation produces perseverance” (Rom. 5:3). And upon that building block go character and hope (v.4). The original Greek word translated “perseverance” means “steadfastness, constancy, and endurance.” It was used of believers who endured in their walk of faith despite many painful trials.

Have setbacks slowed you down to a snail’s pace? Be encouraged. God doesn’t ask for a fast finish. He expects persevering progress.



When trials intrude to slow down your life,
It would be easy for you to give in;
But by perseverance you’ll overcome strife,
So just keep on plodding—with Christ you can win. —Branon

Great achievement requires great perseverance.
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  #680  
Old 07-03-2010, 08:26 PM
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Nice post friend.
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