The Threat Of Talking Too Much

Arthur Rubenstein began playing the piano at the age of three. Before he was five years old, he performed his first concert before a large audience. He went on to become one of the world’s most famous and celebrated pianists.
Once, during his career, he developed a difficult and persistent case of hoarseness, almost losing his voice. The press began to release reports that he had developed cancer. As a result of all that was being said, he decided to consult with a throat specialist.
After a thirty-minute consultation, the doctor shaking his head said, “Come back tomorrow, Mr. Rubenstein.” That frightened the pianist and he spent a sleepless night, tossing and turning.
The next day, after a much longer and more thorough examination, the pianist with a frightened look on his face, asked the doctor, “What’s wrong with me.”
“Nothing,” said the doctor, “except that you talk too much.”
Solomon wisely warned us saying, “Don’t talk too much, for it fosters sin. Be sensible and turn off the flow.”
Talking is natural and normal, but rarely neutral. We all have opinions about nearly everything and almost everyone we know. Even though most of our opinions and observations are accurate, there are times when they may be incorrect. And even though we think that we may be “speaking the truth in love,” our words may be harmful and hateful, bringing damage or destruction to the lives of others. Better not to speak at all than to speak words that can never be erased and bring pain and suffering to others.
Prayer: Lord, “May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts, always be acceptable to You” and therefore helpful to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent.

Why Mothers Matter

As the young man was saying his final goodbyes to his mother, through tear filled eyes, she asked, “Robert, will you make one final promise to me?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he responded with a promise in his voice.
“Promise me,” she begged, “that every night before you lie down to sleep, that you will read a chapter from the Bible and pray.”
Hesitatingly, but sincerely, he replied, “I will.”
Sometime later, keeping that promise led to his conversion to Christ. One day as he was walking on a country road in Scotland, he saw a poster announcing a missionary meeting. He decided to attend that meeting and while listening to the message, “God prompted the heart of the youth to become a missionary.” Soon after attending that meeting, God called him to become a missionary to South Africa.
He labored among the Bacchanals for twelve years before there were any conversions. His loyalty to them finally lead to a revival that eventually spread to other tribes in the region and many came to know Christ.
As the revival spread and the church grew, he realized the need that the people had for a copy of the New Testament in their own language. He realized that if they were to learn God’s Word and live God’s way, they had to have a Bible. So, he not only translated the Scriptures, he procured a printing press to print it.
Robert Moffat opened the jungles to the Gospel; he braved their dangers, withstood the threats of medicine men, taught the natives to read, write, sing and farm and wrote two books about missions. What an impact one mother’s request had on her son!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we realize the importance of a mother’s influence and we ask that You equip and enable them to influence their children in Your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Timothy 3:13-16 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

The Importance of Communication

Samuel Morse was a man of many talents. He was a professional artist, inventor of the electric telegraph and originator of the Morse code.
He once went to England to study art. After his arrival and settling into a regular routine, he realized that it would take months before he would receive a letter from his mother.
Distressed, he wrote her, “Three thousand miles aren’t passed over in an instant.” After thinking for a moment, he asked, “Why must this be?”
It was that question that challenged him to begin experimenting with long distance communication. After a period of thinking and drawing many sketches of what an electric telegraph might look like, he began to experiment with long distance communication. After some time, and with God’s help, he invented the telegraph and sent his first message: “What hath God wrought?”
It was his love for his mother that led him to action. And it was God’s love that led Him to send His Son to redeem us. It was that act of redemption that enables us to communicate directly with Him and make our requests known to Him.
One day Jesus was talking with His disciples about the importance of prayer and the necessity of being persistent in our prayers to God. He told them the story of a widow who demanded that God answer her prayer. He told them of the need for constant prayer and the importance of never giving up on God.
He did not tell them to offer endless repetitions of empty words or lengthy prayers to God. Rather, they were to continually make their requests until God heard their pleas and answered them.
Prayer: Lord, give us the determination to come boldly to the throne of grace, and with confidence and persistence, make our requests known until You grant them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 18:1 And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

The Call To Courage

When Pat Summerall was born his right foot was twisted backwards. No one believed that the problem could be corrected. Expert orthopedic surgeons and other specialists said the problem was beyond repair. But one doctor believed differently. He broke the bones, turned the foot around and then reset all of the bones. However, no one believed that he would ever be able to do much with that foot.
Soon after he was able to walk, he decided to try to run. He struggled in pain, but never gave up and with courage and determination he became an outstanding athlete in high school and college. He went on to play professional football and during his career kicked 101 field goals and 258 extra points.
One of the greatest Jewish leaders in all of history was Moses. He was well educated, a prophet and lawgiver, recorded the Ten Commandments and was the author of the Pentateuch. In Moses we see an outstanding leader who was shaped and molded by God. God took the strengths of Moses and sharpened them until he was suited to fulfill God’s purpose for his life. God worked with him until he was able to do what God wanted him to do.
In his final address to the people of Israel he spoke from his personal experience. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid of them! The LORD your God will go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you!”
These most encouraging words of Moses did not end when the children of Israel entered the Promised Land. Their echo can be heard across the ages and will ring in our ears this very day if we are open to the voice of God. These words from Moses state a promise from God that is as valid today as it was then.
Prayer: Give us the faith, Lord, to take You at Your word and realize that no matter the handicaps or hardship that come to us in life, with Your strength we can be “over-comers.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be in dread of them: for it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.”

Seeing What Is Not Seen

When Michelangelo was a young boy and determined to become an artisan, he went to visit a sculptor. Knowing of his interest in bringing objects to life, the artist gave him a young man half chiseled out of marble. For years he kept the object by his side and looked forward to the day when he would be able to free figures from stone.
Jesus possessed the ability to see what men and women could become. In John’s Gospel the story of Andrew bringing Simon to Jesus reflects this ability. “When Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus, looking intently at Simon, Jesus said ‘You are Simon, the son of John – but you will be called Cephas, which means Peter.’”
In this intriguing story, Jesus looked at Simon and saw his potential – who he was and who he would become. That is precisely why He gave him a new name which meant Peter – which in Greek meant “Rock.”
Throughout the Gospels, Peter is not portrayed as being one who is “rock-solid” – an immovable object that would make a foundation safe and secure. But over time, as he grew in His faith and did the work of his Lord, he did become a solid rock for the faith that was established in the early church. By giving him such a significant name, Jesus introduced him to the person he would become by the grace of God.
What Peter became through the grace of God is what each of us can become. Peter tried and failed but he did not give up. He denied Jesus and turned his back on Him but he did not leave Him. Though he faltered and failed, he was one who never failed to follow Jesus and eventually become who God wanted him to be.
Prayer: Lord, we admit that we often fail in being and doing what You have planned for us. But give us a heart-desire to never leave You nor forsake You as we struggle to please You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 1:40-42 Jesus looked at him, and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

Needed: Assistants, Not Advisers

In a famous Peanuts cartoon, Lucy is shouting from the outfield to Charlie Brown who is pitching, “Let’s win this one for a change, Charlie Brown!”
When he threw the next pitch, the batter hit the ball toward Lucy. Standing there, she watched the ball bounce and made no attempt to catch it.
In desperation Charlie Brown shouted, “If you are interested in winning, Lucy, why didn’t you try to catch the ball?”
“My role is strictly advisory,” she replied.
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul spoke sternly about roles. “My job was to plant the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but God gave the increase.”
Paul filled many roles in the early church. He was an evangelist, missionary, church-founder, author, educator and mentor to many of the leaders following Pentecost. What he did, he did well. But he knew that he could not do it all. He recognized the need for others to come alongside him and bring to completion the work that he started. It was the responsibility of Apollos to water the seed that Paul planted and to help the believers to grow stronger in their new found faith – to build on the foundation that Paul established.
We recognize the fact that God brings about the growth in Christians, but it involves many different individuals with a variety of gifts and talents to complete the process. Many Christians want to suggest to others what they should do. Few want to serve and share in expanding His Kingdom.
When we face our Lord we will not be asked, “Who have you directed?” but “What have you done?”
Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to turn our saving faith into serving love by accepting our responsibilities to do what we are called to do whether planting, watering or weeding. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

Men Of God - Where Are You?

The president of a large corporation was so challenged and inspired after he read the book, Men Of God, that he called the local book store to order 375 copies for his key leaders. After explaining his request for the books, the sales associate said, “I’m sorry, but we don’t have 375 Men Of God in Chicago, why don’t you try Detroit.”
How do we recognize so called Men Of God? Who are they and where can we find them? Paul wrote to Timothy that God gave us His inspired Word that “is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.” Because the whole Bible contains God’s specific directions to lead and guide those who would become “men of God,” it is to be read, studied and applied to one’s life every day. It is the standard for our conduct and will provide us with the guidance and direction we need to show the world God’s love, salvation and hope. It is the only source of instruction for what God wants us to do.
In the Bible we will discover what is true, what is right, what is just and what is required of both men and women of God. In it we will find the strength to do what He wants us to do and the truth that will give us the courage and confidence we need to be His disciples to witness His love, grace, mercy and salvation to others. Through its teaching we will find light for our paths, guidance for our decisions, insight for our problems and hope when we cannot see beyond our moments of despair.
If we choose to commit ourselves to become “men and women of God,” we will find everything we need to know about the journey in His Word. And when we begin, He will be with us!
Prayer: Lord, may we strive to become men and women of God through a life of surrender and service to You and those for whom You died. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Looking To Our Leader

Alexander the Great had been leading his army across the hot scorching sand for days. He and his men had parched throats, scorched skin, eyes crusted with particles of sand and muscles that had difficulty in responding to orders to move forward.
Early one morning as the sun was beginning to rise, his advance guard appeared bringing him a container of water. His troops watched with envy as he accepted it. Then slowly and with great deliberation he poured it on the sand and said, “It is not right for one to drink when so many are thirsty.” He did not have enough water to give each man a sip, but he gave them the inspiration to continue their journey to victory and success.
Later they found the water they needed to survive. But that day they saw a leader who loved them and they followed him willingly.
When we look at Jesus, our leader, we see in Him the supreme example of how we are to live and what we are to do. The Christian life involves discipline and determination, commitment and conviction. It requires us to focus on our calling on Christ and a willingness to endure hardships for His sake and in the strength we receive from Him. Our endurance in the Christian life will depend on our keeping our eyes upon Him and Him alone. If we take our eyes off of Him we will stumble, fall and fail. If we allow our eyes to remain fixed on the circumstances that surround us or if we willingly let temptation overcome us, we will not be able to finish the race He has called us to run.
We can successfully run the race that is before us “by keeping our eyes on Jesus on whom our faith depends from start to finish.” We run for Him and with Him and finally, to Him!
Prayer: Our Father, we ask for Your strength as we run the race that You have set before us which we know will lead us into Your presence and the place You have reserved for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Look For The Weak Spot

A stonecutter said to his apprentice, “Watch as I break this large stone.” He then began to tap it gently in different places.
The apprentice said impatiently, “Give me the hammer and chisel. I can hit it harder.”
“Oh, I can, too,” came the reply, “but I’m looking for a weak spot.”
Suddenly the teacher found it. Hitting it with force, he broke the stone with one stroke.
That’s the way the devil works: he looks for our weak spot and then attacks us. We rarely realize that we are under constant and viscous attacks by the forces of evil to get us to give in to temptation and sin.
If we are to be successful and withstand his attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor.
Paul said that we are to “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the devil.”
Paul reminds us that we are not fighting against “flesh and blood” but against demons over whom Satan has control. And these demons are not something that exist in our fantasies, but they are very real. As Christians we must realize that the goal of demons is to defeat us and destroy the church. We must be ever vigilant and realize that they will do anything and everything to find our “weak spot” and lead us back to sin. We are assured that victory can be ours but we will be in this struggle until Christ returns.
To be victors in this battle, we need the supernatural power of Christ to defeat Satan. This power is available to us through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us and will protect us.
Prayer: We pray, Savior, that when we are tempted and tried that we will call upon You for Your strength knowing that “all the powers of hell will not conquer Your church.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Light At The End

Not far from my home was a lengthy covered bridge. My first visit was a frightening experience. Before we drove through the bridge my uncle stopped just inside of the entrance. Looking behind me I saw the large opening and the glowing sunlight. But when I looked before me, I said, “Look out, Uncle Ed. You can drive in but you won’t be able to get out because the hole at the other end is too small for the car.”
I soon discovered that I was wrong. When we drove out of the bridge, the “hole” at the end of the bridge was bigger than I thought it was and the problem was solved.
Sometimes life is like that. The “little hole” we look through may seem small and insufficient for our passage. The darkness surrounds us and the light is not bright enough for us to see our way clear. Doubts and fears overwhelm us.
Yet as we face the fears and doubts with the Lord’s help we can get through them. As we read in Proverbs, “The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.”
In the Bible, light stands for wisdom and righteousness. When we are surrounded by darkness and there is little light to give us a sense of where God is leading us, we must stand fast and trust in His wisdom and know that because of His righteousness we are safe. As we learn to trust in His Word, we will gain confidence in Him and the journey He has prepared for us. We will learn that where He is leading us and what He is doing with us and through us is in keeping with His will for us. Although it may be difficult for us to believe that the “full light of day” is coming, we have the promises in His Word that it will.
Prayer: Give us the faith, Father, to believe that we are safe and secure as long as we trust in You and follow the directions You have given us in Your Word to follow in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

Laborers Together With God

A gentleman from the city was driving down a dirt road when he missed a turn. He ended up in a ditch and everything he tried to get back on the road failed. Looking around he saw a farmer plowing his field with a mule. He approached the farmer and asked for help.
“Me and Dusty will be right there to help you, Sir,” said the farmer.
He hitched Dusty to the car and yelled, “Pull Dusty.” But the mule didn’t budge. He smiled and then yelled, “Pull Sammy. Pull Charlie. Pull Dusty.” Suddenly the mule gave a surge forward and pulled the car from the ditch.
“Why,” asked the gentleman from the city, “did you use three names to get the mule to finally pull my car from the ditch?”
“Well,” said the farmer, “Dusty’s blind and as long as he thought he had to do it alone, he wouldn’t even try.”
God’s work involves many different individuals with many different skills and talents. There is no one person who can do it alone. It takes a team. And individuals on a team must lose their individual identity if the team is to succeed.
We can all become successful members on God’s team if we are willing to set aside our need for attention and work together for His glory. Seeking praise and popularity, recognition and rewards for using the gifts that God’s has given us to get attention is contrary to the teachings of Scripture. Whatever gifts God gives us are to be used in service for Him.
It is important to remember that the praise that comes from people is temporary and will only last for a short time. But the praise that comes from God will last through eternity.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to do what we do for You and You alone. May we always seek Your favor and give You the honor and glory for all that we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

It's Part Of The Gift

A new convert to Christianity wanted to show his love for his new found Lord. To do so, he brought a beautiful sea shell to the missionary, John Patton, who led him to Jesus. 
“Where did you find such a beautiful prize?” he asked the native. 
“I walked many miles,” he answered, “and I crossed a mountain to the bay on the other side of the island.”
“I’m so very sorry,” said the missionary, “that you had to walk so far to get it.”
“The long walk,” said the native, “is part of the gift.” 
In Mark’s Gospel we read the heart-gripping story of the poor widow who put all that she had – two pennies – in the collection box in the Temple. Jesus had been watching the people as they presented their gifts. He saw the rich as they gave their large gifts as well as the widow. But it was the gift of the widow that touched the heart of Jesus.
So, He called His disciples together and said, “This poor widow has given more than all of the others. For they gave a tiny portion of their surplus, but she, as poor as she is, has given everything she has.” Her gift was the smallest, but in His eyes it was the largest of all.
The value of the gifts we give to the Lord does not depend on the amount; it depends on the spirit in which it is given. If we give grudgingly or to be recognized it cancels the real value of our giving. God is always pleased when we give from a heart that is filled with gratitude for the many gifts He has given us. Much more than the size of our gift, is the depth of appreciation that we have for His mercy and grace that He so willingly gives us.
Prayer: Lord, may we willingly give to You as You so graciously and mercifully give to us, all that we have or ever will have, because of Your unending love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Mark 12:41-44 For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.”

Is There Any Difference?

The citizens of Italy have a unique way of entering into a new year. Beginning with an extravagant display of fireworks, followed by noise making and dancing in the streets, they end up the celebration by getting rid of the old and embracing the new.
To get rid of the old “stuff” in their lives, they gather all of their worn out clothing, furniture, china, silverware and utensils and throw them out of their windows. It’s dangerous to be outside when the celebration begins!
Paul said that the Christian is to “throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life which is rotten through and through...(and replace it with)...a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.”
Our behavior is an outward expression of the thoughts and attitudes that we allow to control our minds. And if people see no difference in our behavior after we say that we have become followers of Christ, there is a problem. When we are born again, we receive a new nature that enables us to become new people in Christ. We now live in and through the power of the Holy Spirit. And if we invest time in studying His Word, in meditating on His truth and talking with Him in prayer, we will be constantly changing and becoming more of who God wants to us be. Our lives will reflect the promise that in Him we can become a new creation.
God begins a process of change in our lives that flows from our heads to our hearts and from our hearts to our lives. But unless we plant new thoughts and ideas in our minds that come from His Word, we cannot expect others to see any difference in our lives. Our old way of life becomes a thing of the past.
Prayer: Convict us, Heavenly Father, of those areas in our lives that fail to reflect our new nature. And may Your Spirit work in us to be who You have called us to be in Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 4:20-24 Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,


Walter Damrosch became a world famous conductor before he was thirty years old. But with his fame came pride. And with his pride, arrogance.
As he rose to a place of prominence in the world of music, he became convinced that no one could take his place. One day while getting ready for a rehearsal, he could not find his baton. Walking to the podium in front of the orchestra, he asked, “Does anyone here have an extra baton?”
Immediately, three men in the orchestra reached into their instrument cases and produced a baton for his use. It was a sobering moment in his life and from that moment on, he never regarded himself as indispensable. He realized he needed help from others.
The Psalmist cried, “He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters.”
David wrote this psalm when he was helpless and weak, tired and tried. He was well aware of the fact that only God could rescue him from the enemies that were about to overcome him. He was defenseless and vulnerable. But not without hope or God’s help.
There are those times in life when we feel that we are in deep waters that are swirling swiftly around us. We stretch out our arms and cry for help but no one seems to be available to take us by the hand and rescue us.
When this happens, we must believe that God can either deliver us in an instant or, perhaps, teach us to depend on Him to support or strengthen us during the difficult times in our life. Either way we must learn to trust Him completely believing His way is best.
Prayer: Father, help us to understand that You only want what is best for us and that You will always protect us, hold us close to Your side, and never leave us alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 18:16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.

Have A Good Time

Charles Darwin was known to be a chronic complainer. He seemed to enjoy life more when he could find things to gripe about.
One evening he and his wife attended a banquet. He found the food distasteful and the speech dull, the guests boring and the chairs uncomfortable. He found nothing to enjoy and no one could meet his expectations.
As he and Mrs. Darwin were leaving the gathering, the hostess said apologetically, “I noticed that your husband was upset. We really wanted him to have a good time.”
“Oh my,” said Mrs. Darwin, “he had a wonderful time. He was able to find fault with everything.”
In his letter to the Philippians Paul wrote, “In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing.” Good advice!
Complaining and arguing are the behaviors of individuals who are self-centered and self-consumed. It is the exact opposite of how Christians are to live.
It is the responsibility of Christians to advance the Kingdom of God, not their personal goals and desires. Those who know and love Christ are always filled with a sense of their own inadequacy and willingly recognize their need for His mercy and grace.
The fact that we are in Christ should keep us humble and thankful as we recognize all that He has done for us. The more we recognize His greatness and our unworthiness, the less we will find to complain about in others and in things around us. We must be careful, at all times, to guard against being self-centered and self-consumed. It will not only destroy others but us as well.
Prayer: We pray, Lord, for eyes that can see the needs of others, minds that recognize ways we might help others and hearts that are filled with compassion to reach out to help them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 2:14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing,

Give To Receive

It was Jayne’s turn to return thanks before the evening meal. With all heads bowed, eyes closed and hands joined for prayer, the inquisitive five-year old said, “Thank you Lord, for the potatoes!”
“Potatoes?” exclaimed her father. “We’re not having potatoes, we’re having pizza!”
“I know, Dad,” came the response. “I was just wondering if God was listening to me.”
Peter reminds us to “Give all our worries and cares to God, for He cares what happens to us.” We often, without thinking, become overwhelmed with the issues and problems of life, forgetting that God is always available whenever we call upon Him. When we labor under the stress and strain of life, and neglect to call upon the Lord, we are admitting that we do not trust God or perhaps even convince ourselves that God is not interested in our well-being. Or could it be that we are so proud that we think we can handle life by ourselves?
Going to God with the cares, small and large, begins with humility and is followed by honesty. To admit that we need God’s help in the everyday issues reveals our need for His guidance and our desire for Him to be a vital part of everything in our lives. Humility expresses our need for Him and honesty demonstrates that we choose not to try to hide anything from Him. Humility bows before Him and honesty opens our heart to Him and allows us to admit our faults and failures and our need for His grace.
Prayer: We know, Father, that what concerns us concerns You because we are Your children. May we open our hearts in love and with trust, knowing You are there to help us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Follow Through

Great golfers know the meaning of follow through. In fact, they have a saying that sums up its importance: “Where you end up tells a lot about how you got there.” In other words, the lack of follow through severely limits the distance the golf ball will travel.
As in golf, so in the Christian life: follow through is what matters most!
On one occasion, when giving instructions about what it meant to be one of His disciples Jesus said this: “Truly you are my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings. And you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” In only a few words, Jesus presents a complete picture of discipleship.
Christian discipleship begins with accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord. It acknowledges our sinful condition and that He alone can save us by His death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave.
Christian discipleship requires that we constantly remain in God’s Word. We must listen carefully to the voice of God that speaks to us as we read and meditate on His Word and spend time with Him in prayer. Unless we take time to be with Him and open our minds and hearts to Him we will never come to know Him.
Christian discipleship demands that we live a life of obedience to the teachings of God’s Word. We study God’s Word to learn what He would have us to do and live as He would have us to live. The truth that Jesus gave us is designed for action not intellectual satisfaction!
Follow through for the Christian means that we behave what we profess to believe. It is being faithful to Jesus’ teachings.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to be more than believers who simply know what You taught. May we surrender our lives completely to You and live Your truth each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 8:31-32 Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Defeating Denial

It was a hard-fought football game and a tough loss for the home team. Following the game a father asked his son, “Why did your team lose?”
“Well, Dad,” he answered, “the other team found a hole in our line and took advantage of it.”
“Why didn’t you close the hole?” asked the father.
“I tried, Dad,” he explained, “but I just couldn’t do it. I wasn’t strong enough.”
It is much easier to blame others for our failures than to admit that we may be the cause of a problem. That is called denial. But denial only keeps the problem going and the solution beyond our reach. Once we can admit “what is,” with God’s help we can deal with everything that He brings into our lives.
If we are able to admit that we have failed at anything or something large or small, whether it occurred yesterday or today, we can begin to learn from our experiences. And from our experiences comes insight; from insight comes wisdom; from wisdom comes learning; and from learning comes the lessons that we can apply to all of the opportunities that God brings into our lives.
Paul said that “I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” Whatever God brings into our lives is His will. And the strength we need to face and be victorious over anything and everything that He brings to us, will come from Him and our commitment to doing it. We cannot expect His strength to subdue things that do not concern Him or are not in His will for our lives. But if we are doing what He would have us to do, the victory will come from Him.
PrayerHelp us, Father, to look to You for the strength we need to do what You would have us to do and to be willing to give You the credit for our success. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Commitment To A Cause

During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington was leading his army toward Boston. At that time it was under the control of the British. He was well aware of the fact that he could not recapture and gain control of the city without destroying most of the houses and shops. Facing this difficult, if not impossible, decision to make on his own, he asked Congress for their advice.
After his letter was read aloud to the members of congress, there was a long silence as the decision was being considered. Finally, John Hancock said, “Nearly all of the property I have in the world is in Boston. But if the liberties of our country require their being burned to ashes, give the command immediately.” He recognized the difference between worldly possessions and what Washington was fighting for.
As Christians we have dual citizenships. Our citizenship in our nation requires that we submit to its rules and regulations, pay taxes and show respect to our leaders. Our citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven requires that we pledge to God our obedience and commitment. Jesus made this clear when He was questioned about the issue of paying taxes to Caesar. He said “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
There is a distinction between the two citizenships. Jesus made this distinction obvious: He stated that loyalty to God does not necessarily mean that we are to be disloyal to our governing authorities. But He made it abundantly clear that if a choice has to be made, the Kingdom of Heaven has priority.
As Christians, our obedience and commitment, first and foremost, is to God. What we treasure reveals our priorities.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to commit ourselves to seek Your Kingdom more than anything else in life and to be willing to make any sacrifice to put You first. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 22:15-22 Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Boomerang Buddies

Two friends in Australia enjoyed throwing boomerangs together. Over the years they devised various contests to see who was the best. One day, in an act of kindness, one of them gave the other a new boomerang.
When they got back together a short time later, the friend showed up with his old boomerang.
“What happened with the new boomerang I gave you?” he asked. “How does it perform?”
“I don’t know,” came the answer. “I’m still trying to throw this old one away but it keeps coming back!”
The Apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from every wrong.”
True repentance not only involves confession of our sins but a commitment to Christ not to continue in sin. If we are genuinely sincere when we confess our sins, we will also become conscious of how we live and what we can do to avoid repeating the sins we have committed in the past. The desire to sin can be very much like a boomerang – the temptation to go back to our sins of the past again and again.
It may be that when we confess our sins, we lack a certain sense of sincerity or genuineness. Perhaps there is such an attractiveness or appeal to some sins that our desire to truly repent and give them up is only half-hearted and insincere.
God knows our minds and the desires of our hearts. If we truly want victory over sin and are anxious to flee every temptation that lead to sin, we must commit ourselves completely to Christ and pray for His strength to guide, guard, protect and empower us.
Prayer: Give us Your strength, Lord, to live close to You and draw upon Your power to defeat temptation the next time, and every time, we face it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Baptize The Whole Plant!

A machinist who worked for the Ford Motor Company in Detroit for years had stolen many tools. One Sunday morning during a revival meeting, he became a Christian and was baptized that evening.
The next morning he reported to his foreman at the plant with boxes of the tools he had stolen over the years. He confessed his sin to his boss and asked to be forgiven.
This was such a surprise and shock to his foreman that he could not decide what to do. So, he contacted Henry Ford and asked for advice.
Upon hearing the story, Ford said, “Dam up the Detroit River and baptize the whole plant!”
Paul wrote that “He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised from the dead.”
Paul and his co-workers set great examples for us. Whatever they did, they did to honor God. It was their love for Christ that controlled their minds, hearts and lives. They believed that those who received new life through Him should live for Him and that their lives would reflect a change to prove that point: they were to live a life that pleased Christ and honored Him in all that they did.
Christians are to live as Paul and his co-workers lived. Because they were brand new people on the inside, the change made its way to the outside. The born-again are not reformed, rehabilitated or reeducated: they are re-created – new creations. We do not turn over a new leaf; we begin a new life through Christ.
Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to be grateful for our new life and to live a different, Christ-like and God-honoring life through the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 5:15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Available And Helpful

General George Washington came upon a company of soldiers who were building a wall with logs. As they were lifting one of the larger logs, the platoon leader was trying to show his importance to the men and a few bystanders by standing to one side and shouting orders.
“Up with it!” he shouted. “Now push, push, push again,” he commanded. But the log was too heavy and it rolled from its perch.
“What’s wrong with you?” he growled. “Try again, and this time I want to see the log make it to the top!” he screamed.
Just as it was about to fall again, Washington leaped forward and helped them. And with his assistance, they succeeded.
“Why didn’t you help them?” asked Washington.
“I’m a corporal, their leader,” he replied.
“Oh, well I’m only the Commander in Chief,” said the General. “The next time you have a log too heavy for your men, call me.”
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians and advised them to “be kind to each other...tenderhearted” as was Christ. We see in Him the ultimate picture of what kindness is and what being tenderhearted is all about.
Whenever He saw the sick, He healed them. Whenever He was with the hungry, He fed them. Whenever there was grief, He consoled them. Whenever there was confusion, He pointed the way. Whenever there was doubt, He presented the truth. We see in Jesus the ultimate “help-giver”. Wherever He was, whatever the need, whoever was lacking, He made up the difference.
Prayer: Please, Lord, give us eyes to see, ears to hear and strength to use in meeting the needs of those who cry out for Your grace and mercy in times of distress and difficulty. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

A Strategy For Success

Two men were well known in their area of Oregon for their wood-chopping skills. The local residents always wondered which one of them was stronger and more capable of chopping through the most amount of wood in a given day. Finally, George went to Alan and challenged him to a contest.
The crowds gathered from far and wide and preparations were made for the contest. During the contest George, the challenger, worked hard, stopping only to eat lunch or occasionally drink water. Alan, however, not only stopped for lunch but took regular breaks. At the end of the day, Alan won the contest.
“I don’t get it, Alan,” said George. “You took more breaks and stopped more frequently than I did, and yet you chopped more wood.”
“Each time I stopped,” said Alan, “I was sharpening my axe.”
No matter what we do in life we need a good, workable strategy. Too often people work hard but not smart. Smart people plan what they are going to do and then work their plan.
Solomon wisely advised, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” This simple bit of advice will take us a long way if we want to become successful.
Success begins with a deep desire to do whatever God wants us to do. But desire is not enough. More than simply desiring success, we must work with all of our strength, our heart and our soul. We must first discover what God wants us to do, then, empower ourselves with preparation, look to God for His plan and guidance and commit ourselves to His leadership.
Prayer: Father, we know that You have a perfect plan for our lives. May we discover it with Your guidance, do it in Your strength and bring honor to Your name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.

A Life Long Decision

One Sunday morning, Stuart Henry, Director of Graduate Studies in Religion at Duke University, met one of his students who was walking on the sidewalk toward him.
“Professor,” asked the student, “did you decide to go to church this morning?”
“No,” he answered, “I didn’t make the decision to go to church this morning. I made it fifty years ago when I first became a Christian. It is never a decision of whether or not I’ll go to church, but where I’ll go to church wherever I am.”
Paul, writing to the Christians in Rome said, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do!”
What a challenge to Christians! God wants to transform us into new persons by changing the way we think. He begins this process of renewal when we surrender our will completely to Him to do what He would have us to do. Certainly, if God has a plan for the universe, He must have a unique plan for each of us – for we are His children through the work of His Son on the cross.
If there is no change in our lives and if our behavior is no different from the worldly behavior of the unsaved, we have not allowed the Holy Spirit to renew our minds. We know that our minds have been renewed when Godly thoughts seep down into our hearts and we refuse to conform to the world’s values and standards. We become different by the choices we make and the choices we make reflect the goodness and grace of God. We are willing to lay aside our desires and follow Him. We gladly put all of our energy and gifts at His disposal and became willing to sacrifice our lives to His will and our ways to His way. This act of surrender arises from the gratitude we have for His salvation.
Prayer: We pray, Heavenly Father, that we will allow Your Holy Spirit to renew our minds and redirect our lives to reflect the transformation that You brought to our hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 12:1-2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind

Whose Side Is God On?

Heavyweight champion Joe Louis was once asked to help raise money for the Navy Relief Society. In preparing him for his speech he was advised to begin by saying, “My fellow Americans, God is on our side.”
But he was nervous and as he was walking up the steps to the stage, he stumbled and lost his concentration. When he reached the microphone he began his remarks by saying, “My fellow Americans, we are on God's side.”
In the book of Exodus we have an interesting story of Aaron allowing the children of Israel to get completely out of control. Even their enemies were amused at their unruly behavior. When Moses saw this, he shouted to the people, “All of you who are on the Lord's side, come here and join me. And all the Levites gathered around him.” Moses then sent them into battle and after they were victorious he said to them, “Today you have earned a blessing.”
The Levites did not earn a blessing because the Lord was on their side, but because they were on the Lord's side. Often as Americans we expect God to bless us because we assume that He is on our side. God does not work that way. We must be on His side.
Prayer: Father, may we take seriously the fact that we as a nation must repent of our sins and return to Your ways to be blest! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Exodus 32:25-26, 29 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.

What's First In Life?

A young man had just completed college and was having a difficult time adjusting to his new job. In his frustration he decided to speak with his pastor about the problem.
After a few moments of polite conversation he said, “I'm having a difficult time at work. My problem is learning to allow myself to be in second place.”
“No,” said his pastor, “the real problem is learning Who to put into first place.”
Jesus said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”
To “seek the kingdom of God above all else” means to put God first in our lives. To do this we must fill our minds with His Word, our hearts with His love and commit our entire being to doing His will and serving Him. It is all too easy in life to allow our priorities – our hobbies, our work, our friends – even our families – to slip into first place.
We have all heard the phrase that “life is choice.” And it is. Unfortunately, we often do not consider the consequences of our choices and allow God's Kingdom to be dethroned by the things of this world.
Prayer: Our Father, help us to make every effort to not only seek Your Kingdom but to place it above everything else in our lives no matter what it costs us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Whatever It Takes!

He did not graduate from high school but was accepted as a member of the inaugural class of Stanford University. When he applied for a part time job to pay for his expenses, he was told that “There's only one job available, a typist's position.”
“I'd love it,” he said enthusiastically. “But I can't begin until Wednesday.”
On Wednesday morning when he arrived for work his employer Louis Janin asked, “Herb, why couldn't you start until today?”
“Sir,” he said, “I had to find a typewriter and learn how to use it.” When an opportunity presented itself, he seized the moment and took advantage of it. He did not allow time to pass when an opportunity presented itself. And it was that kind of determination that led Herbert Hoover to become president of the United States.
Other students had been offered the job and turned it down. But he saw what it had to offer him and he accepted it. Salvation is like that. God offers salvation to everyone. Many put off making this decision thinking that there will be another opportunity, a better time or another day. We must not wait until tomorrow to do what we must do today. Tomorrow may never come.
Prayer: Lord, we pray now for those who believe that there is always tomorrow when today is all they may have to accept Your salvation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

Wanted: Happiness Makers!

The Charlie Brown comic strip created as many questions as it did smiles. On one occasion Lucy and Charlie Brown were having a serious conversation about the meaning of life.
With a furrow on her brow Lucy asked Charlie, “Why were we put on earth?”
In his own simple way, Charlie responded, “To make others happy!”
“I don't think I'm making anyone very happy,” confessed Lucy, “and nobody is making me very happy, either!”
After a moment she shouted, “Somebody's not doing their job!”
Making others happy is not a primary responsibility of the Christian. But Peter does give us some good advice about our responsibilities as Christians and what we are to do to help others.
First we are to show sympathy – by being attentive to and meeting their needs. Secondly, we are to show love – treating others with the same kindness that we would show a brother or sister. Thirdly, we are to show tenderheartedness – to be sensitive and caring. Finally – we are to be humble – to put others first and always be a source of encouragement to others.
Prayer: We pray, Lord, that we will willingly accept our responsibilities to others and do our very best to minister to their needs. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.


Lou Gehrig is remembered as the “Iron Man of Baseball.” At the height of his career he was stricken with a mysterious disease and realized that his days of playing baseball would soon be over.
Sharing the news with his wife, she courageously and comfortingly said, “Whatever it is, we'll see it through together.”
Togetherness is the opposite of independence. It suggests one of the basic blessings of being a Christian: we are never alone and need not face life alone.
Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” What a comforting thought. The Creator and Sustainer of the universe is with us at all times. He did not create us and abandon us to struggle through life without Him. But there’s more.
No Christian should ever feel independent from other Christians and not in need of the help of others. Nor should Christians feel excused from the task of helping other brothers and sisters in their times of need. The body of Christ – the church – is only doing the work of Christ when it works together for the well being of other members of the body. Whatever the need – spiritual, physical, financial, emotional, educational, legal – if I know about the need of anyone anywhere who is my brother or sister, I am obligated to Christ to do something about it.
Prayer: Father, let us humbly, in the Spirit of Christ, do His work in ministering to the needs of others in His name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Galatians 6:2-3 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.


A professor of philosophy was being wheeled into the operating room for a serious procedure. For several days before the operation he slept very little and spent most days in great fear. At last he came up with an idea that gave him some peace.
When removing the final layer of clothing before making an incision, the surgeon noticed a word written at the exact location where the surgery was to take place. Looking carefully he read: THINK!
Another philosopher once said, “Five percent of the population thinks; ten percent of the population thinks they think and the rest of the population would rather die than think.”
A Psalmist once said, “I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow Your laws. I will hurry, without delay, to obey Your commands.”
Our thoughts are very powerful. They are the beginning of all that we say and all that we do. We seldom pause to ponder how frequently we react to the events of life rather than to act after we pause and pray and ask God for His guidance. Responsible Christian behavior comes from knowing and obeying God’s instructions and commands.
Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to meditate on Your Word so constantly that Your teachings will fill our minds and guide our thinking. In Jesus’ Name.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:59-60 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.