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  #801  
Old 10-25-2010, 11:13 PM
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Default Oct. 26

Declaration Of Dependence

October 26, 2010

Read: John 15:1-8

Without Me you can do nothing. —John 15:5

Adults celebrate when children learn to do something on their own: get dressed, brush their teeth, tie shoelaces, ride a bike, walk to school.
As adults, we like to pay our own way, live in our own houses, make our own decisions, rely on no outside help. Faced with an unexpected challenge, we seek out “self-help” books. All the while we are systematically sealing off the heart attitude most desirable to God and most descriptive of our true state in the universe. It’s what Jesus told His disciples: “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
The truth is that we live in a web of dependence, at the center of which is God, in whom all things hold together. Norwegian theologian Ole Hallesby settled on the single word helplessness as the best summary of the heart attitude that God accepts as prayer. He said, “Only he who is helpless can truly pray.”
Most parents feel a pang when the child outgrows dependence, even while knowing the growth to be healthy and normal. With God, the rules change. We never outgrow dependence, and to the extent we think we do, we delude ourselves. Prayer is our declaration of dependence upon the Lord.

Give Him each perplexing problem,
All your needs to Him make known;
Bring to Him your daily burdens—
Never carry them alone! —Adams

Pray as if your life depended upon it. It does!
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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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  #802  
Old 10-26-2010, 10:13 PM
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Default Oct. 27

A Lock Of Hair

October 27, 2010

Read: Judges 16:4-17

The Lord . . . [shows] Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. —2 Chronicles 16:9

After his return from the moon, Neil Armstrong was often plagued by the media. Seeking greater privacy, he moved his family into a small town. But notoriety was a nuisance even there. Armstrong’s barber found out that people would pay good money to get a lock of his hair. So after giving the space hero several haircuts, he sold the clippings to a buyer for $3,000! Armstrong was shocked at the barber’s opportunism.
The Scriptures tell of another story of disloyalty and a haircut. As a symbol of God’s calling of Samson as a Nazirite, he was never to cut his hair (Judg. 13:5). When the Spirit of God came upon him, he was given super-human strength over his enemies (15:14). Wanting to overpower him, the Philistines hired Delilah, a woman who had a relationship with him, to find out the secret of that strength. He foolishly told her that his power would be gone if his hair were cut. She lulled him to sleep and had him shorn (16:5,19).
Greed can drive us to be disloyal to others and to God, causing us to make sinful choices. Our desire should be to exhibit a heart that is fully committed to love the Lord and others. He shows “Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chron. 16:9).

O Lord, may my heart be loyal to You
In all that I say and all that I do;
When a trusted person is not a true friend,
I know that on You I can always depend. —Hess

Loyalty is the test of true love.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #803  
Old 10-27-2010, 10:25 PM
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Default Oct. 28

Emergency Kit

October 28, 2010

Read: Ephesians 6:10-18

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. —Ephesians 6:13

For a dozen years, I took an auto emergency kit on every long driving trip but never had to use it. It became such a familiar item that on the night we really needed it, I forgot it was there. But fortunately my wife remembered.
After hitting a deer on a dark rural highway, our van was completely disabled. While I fumbled with a small flashlight to assess the damage and call a tow truck, my wife opened the emergency kit, set out a reflective warning marker, then turned on the bright flashlight, much to my surprise. Later we talked about how a crisis can cause us to forget the resources we have, just when we need them most.
Paul urged the Ephesians to “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). This protective covering includes truth, righteousness, readiness, faith, salvation, and prayer (vv.14-18). Although these spiritual resources guard us each day, we need to remember them when disaster strikes and the enemy tries to undermine our confidence in God’s love and care.
Use the kit. “Take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (v.13).

When Satan launches his attack,
We must take heart and pray;
If we submit ourselves to God,
He’ll be our strength and stay. —Sper

God provides the armor, but we must put it on.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #804  
Old 10-28-2010, 10:11 PM
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Default Oct. 29

Truth Or Error?

October 29, 2010

Read: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God. —2 Timothy 2:15

Steve often witnesses to his co- workers. But when he mentions something directly from the Bible, someone frequently responds: “Wait! That was written by men, and it’s full of errors just like any other book.”
The following letter to the editor in our local newspaper expresses a similar thought: “Believers cite that the Word of God is infallible, but I see no apparent reason to believe that the words written in the Bible by man are any more infallible than the words written in a science journal by man.”
How do we respond when the Scriptures are so readily dismissed as being just man’s words with errors? Most of us aren’t biblical scholars and may not have an answer. But if we do some reading (2 Tim. 2:15), we’ll find the evidence that it’s God-inspired (3:16) and therefore trustworthy.
For example, consider this: Over a period of 1,600 years, 40 different authors wrote the 66 books of the Bible. There were 400 silent years between the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 of the New Testament. Yet, Genesis to Revelation tell one unified story.
While we accept the Bible by faith, there’s plenty of evidence that it’s true. Let’s be diligent to study and share what we learn with others.

For Further Study
To understand more about why we can trust the Bible, read Can I Really Trust The Bible?
at www.discoveryseries.org/q0402

In a skeptical world you can trust God’s reliable Word.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #805  
Old 10-29-2010, 09:53 PM
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Default Oct. 30

Lingering Damage

October 30, 2010

Read: 2 Samuel 12:1-14

The sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite. —2 Samuel 12:10

A young teen who was constantly getting into trouble always apologized when his parents confronted him. No matter how much he hurt his parents with his previous wrong-doing, he would soon turn around and do something else wrong—knowing he would be forgiven.
Finally, his dad took him out to the garage for a talk. Dad picked up a hammer and pounded a nail into the garage wall. Then he gave his son the hammer and told him to pull out the nail.
The boy shrugged, grabbed the hammer, and yanked out the nail.
“That’s like forgiveness, Son. When you do something wrong, it’s like pounding in a nail. Forgiveness is when you pull the nail out.”
“Okay, I get it,” said the boy.
“Now take the hammer and pull out the nail hole,” his dad replied.
“That’s impossible!” the boy said. “I can’t pull it out.”
As this story illustrates and King David’s life proves, sin carries consequences. Even though David was forgiven, his adultery and murder left scars and led to family problems (2 Sam. 12:10). This sobering truth can serve as a warning for our lives. The best way to avoid the lingering damage of sin is to live a life of obedience to God.

A Prayer: Thank You for being slow to anger and filled with compassion. May I not presume upon Your mercy by assuming there will be no consequences for my sin. Help me to confess and then to sin no more. Amen.
Our sins can be forgiven and washed away, but their consequences are ours to pay.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #806  
Old 10-31-2010, 01:42 AM
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Default Oct. 31

Completely Clean

October 31, 2010

Read: Hebrews 10:1-18

It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. —Hebrews 10:4

Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me-ee. Happy birthday to me. . . . Happy bir . . .
After humming the “birthday song” a second time, I turned off the faucet’s running water. It is said that singing the song through twice while washing your hands (about 20 seconds) is a good way to remove most bacteria. But it doesn’t last. I need to repeat this process each time they are contaminated.
In the Old Testament, the people of God offered sacrifices over and over to cover their sins. But the blood of the animals didn’t actually “take away sins” (Heb. 10:11). Only the precious sacrifice of Jesus could do that!
Animal sacrifices are no longer needed because Christ’s sacrifice . . .
• was once for all—unlike animal sacrifices, which had to be offered “continually year by year” (vv.1-3,10).
• cleanses us completely from all guilt and sin—unlike the blood of animals that was a reminder of sin’s penalty and could never take away our sins (vv.3-6,11).
“By one offering [Christ] has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (v.14). Only through Jesus can we be declared completely clean.

Once for all, O sinner, receive it;
Once for all, O brother, believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all. —Bliss

Christ’s cleansing power can remove
the most stubborn stain of sin.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #807  
Old 11-01-2010, 10:53 PM
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Default Nov. 1

Stockpiling Or Storing?

November 1, 2010

Read: Ecclesiastes 5:8-17

Just exactly as he came, so shall he go. —Ecclesiastes 5:16

Rugs, lamps, a washer and dryer, even the food in the cupboards—everything was for sale! My husband and I stopped at an estate sale one day and wandered through the house, overwhelmed by the volume of belongings. Dish sets littered the dining room table. Christmas decorations filled the front hallway. Tools, toy cars, board games, and vintage dolls crowded the garage. When we left, I wondered if the homeowners were moving, if they desperately needed money, or if they had passed away.
This reminded me of these words from Ecclesiastes: “Just exactly as he came, so shall he go” (5:16). We’re born empty-handed and we leave the world the same way. The stuff we buy, organize, and store is ours only for a while—and it’s all in a state of decay. Moths munch through our clothes; even gold and silver may not hold their value (James 5:2-3). Sometimes “riches perish through misfortune” (Eccl. 5:14), and our kids don’t get to enjoy our possessions after we’re gone.
Stockpiling possessions in the here-and-now is foolish, because we can’t take anything with us when we die. What’s important is a proper attitude toward what we have and how we use what God has given. That way we’ll be storing up our treasure where it belongs—in heaven.

Whatever we possess on earth
We have to leave behind;
But everything we give to God
In heaven we will find. —Sper

Letting go of earthly possessions enables us to take hold of heavenly treasure.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #808  
Old 11-01-2010, 10:54 PM
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Default Nov. 2

Neighborly Kindness

November 2, 2010

Read: Luke 10:25-37

A certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.

One of the major obstacles to show- ing compassion is making prejudgments about who we think is worthy of our compassion. Jesus told a parable to answer the question: “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). Or, who qualifies as worthy of our neighborly acts?
Jesus told of a man who traveled on the notoriously dangerous road from Jerusalem to Jericho. As he traveled, he fell among thieves and was robbed, beaten, and left for dead. Religious Jews (a priest and a Levite) passed him, but they walked by on the other side, probably for fear of being religiously defiled. But a Samaritan came along and had unconditional compassion on the wounded stranger.
Jesus’ audience would have gasped at this because Jews despised Samaritans. The Samaritan could have limited or qualified his compassion because the man was a Jew. But he did not limit his neighborly kindness to those he thought were worthy. Instead, he saw a human being in need and resolved to help him.
Are you limiting your kindness to the ones you deem worthy? As followers of Jesus, let us find ways to show neighborly kindness to all people, especially to those we have judged as unworthy.

How many lives shall I touch today?
How many neighbors will pass my way?
I can bless so many and help so much,
If I meet each one with a Christlike touch. —Jones

Our love for Christ is only as real as our love for our neighbor.
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  #809  
Old 11-02-2010, 10:12 PM
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Default Nov. 3

It Can Never Happen To Me

November 3, 2010

Read: Psalm 30:6-12

Now in my prosperity I said, “I shall never be moved.” —Psalm 30:6

Actor Christopher Reeve was para- lyzed in a horseback riding accident in 1995. Prior to this tragedy, he had played the part of a paraplegic in a movie. In preparation, Reeve visited a rehabilitation facility. He recalled: “Every time I left that rehab center, I said, ‘Thank God that’s not me.’ ” After his accident, Reeve regretted that statement: “I was so setting myself apart from those people who were suffering without realizing that in a second that could be me.” And sadly, for him, it was.
We too may look at the troubles of others and think that it could never happen to us. Especially if our life journey has led to a measure of success, financial security, and family harmony. In a moment of vanity and self-sufficiency, King David admitted to falling into the trap of feeling invulnerable: “Now in my prosperity I said, ‘I shall never be moved’” (Ps. 30:6). But David quickly caught himself and redirected his heart away from self-sufficiency. He remembered that he had known adversity in the past and God had delivered him: “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing” (v.11).
Whether He has brought us blessing or trial, God still deserves our gratitude and trust.

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

In good times and bad, our greatest need is God.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #810  
Old 11-03-2010, 10:24 PM
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Default Nov. 4

Remember John

November 4, 2010

Read: 2 Kings 5:1-15

Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel. —2 Kings 5:15

John is a humble, uneducated man. Yet God used him to start the peace process in Mozambique. His name is not mentioned in any official documents; all he did was arrange a meeting between two of his acquaintances— Kenyan Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat and a Mozambican. But that introduction set in motion the events that led to a peace treaty after a 10-year civil war.
From that experience, Ambassador Kiplagat learned the importance of respecting everyone. “You never dismiss people because they are not educated, because they are white, because they are black, because they are women, because they are old or young. Every encounter is sacred, and we need to value that encounter,” the ambassador said. “You never know what word might be there for you.”
The Bible confirms that this is true. Naaman was a great man in Syria when he got the dreaded disease of leprosy. A servant girl whom he had captured from Israel told Naaman’s wife that the prophet Elisha could heal him. Because Naaman was willing to listen to this lowly servant girl, his life was spared and he came to know the one true God (2 Kings 5:15).
God often speaks through those to whom few are willing to listen. To hear God, be sure to listen to the humble.

God often uses lowly things
His purpose to fulfill,
Because it takes a humble heart
To carry out His will. —D. De Haan

God uses ordinary people to carry out His extraordinary plan.
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