What Really Matters

Andrew Bradford was an early American printer in colonial Philadelphia. In fact, he printed the first newspaper in Pennsylvania in 1729. He also had the contract for all of the public printing in the state.
One day the governor delivered an important speech and Bradford printed it in his newspaper. It contained several mistakes. A young printer saw the poor work and decided to reprint it with care and precision and make it an excellent presentation of his workmanship. He then mailed a copy of it to the governor and his co-workers.
The next year when it was time to issue a new contract for state printing, it was awarded to that young printer: Ben Franklin. He received the contract for all of the public printing for the state of Pennsylvania because he understood what really mattered: excellence.
Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, said this: “For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives.” He wanted them to know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, what was important and what was unimportant, separating the vital from the trivial. He wanted them to have a desire for moral integrity and spiritual discernment. He wanted them to understand the importance of living their Christian values because what they did and how they behaved reflected the importance and meaning of salvation. Their lives were a reflection of what being a Christian was all about.
Paul also prayed that they would keep growing in knowledge and understanding which is the foundation for discernment. It is His discernment that enables us to make the right choices in life.
Prayer: Lord, we pause and pray that we will be pure and blameless in all that we do so that our lives will be an excellent representation of You to those around us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 1:9-10 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,

Weather Master

A meteorologist and minister enjoyed playing golf each Saturday morning. One morning, just as they were about to begin their game, a fierce thunderstorm greeted them. They ran to the clubhouse through the cold rain and driving wind. As they sat looking at the dark clouds and soggy grass, they wondered if the sun would ever shine again.
With no relief in sight the preacher said to the weatherman, “You’d think that between the two of us we could do something. But we may as well give up. It’s here to stay.”
Once when Jesus was crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat with His disciples, a fierce storm developed and threatened to destroy them. In fear, these experienced and expert fishermen awakened Jesus shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
Calmly Jesus rebuked the wind and raging waves and calmed the sea. Then putting them to the test He asked,
“Where is your faith?” Filled with awe they wanted to know, “Who this man was who could control the seas.”
Often when we are caught in the storms of life and overwhelmed by clouds of despair, we can easily fear that God has lost control of things and that we are at the mercy of fate. Not so! God is sovereign and we must remind ourselves of the question He asked His disciples: “Where is your faith?”
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to realize that Your strength and power, peace and healing is available to rescue and save us when we turn to You in faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 8:22-25 And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”

Three Bones For Healthy Living

Pat was about to leave Ireland for the United States. As he was about to board the ship, his father said to him, “Son, remember three bones and you’ll come out alright.”
“Bones,” said Pat. “What do you mean ‘remember three bones’? Which three?”
“First, remember the wishbone. It keeps you focused on the things you want to accomplish in life. Then there’s the jawbone. Use your jawbone for asking questions when there is something you don’t know or understand. And finally, my son, there’s the backbone. It keeps you doing whatever you are doing until you get it done!”
Often we wish for things and have a vision of how things could be in our lives. But then we do nothing to accomplish them. Perhaps the “wish” or “vision” is God’s Spirit speaking to us to do something for Him that He has brought to our minds and hearts. If He gives us a vision of what He wants to do and where He wants us to go, we need to stop before we ever get started and ask God for His help and support, direction and guidance. We need Him involved!
That’s when we need to use our jawbone – to go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him if the vision is in keeping with His will for our lives. When He gives us a peace and calmness about “next steps,” then we will know that He wants us to proceed.
And when we begin to work on His will for our lives, we need to use our backbone to “keep on keeping on” when the way becomes difficult and the road long. His strength will be available to us to accomplish the most trying tasks when we are doing what He has called us to do. We must stay focused, pray and work.
Prayer: Father, give us a vision of what You want us to do, a persistence in prayer until we receive Your blessing to do it and then the courage and determination to see things through. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 18:1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,

The Perils Of Prejudice

Gandhi, considered to be India's spiritual leader, once considered converting to Christianity. One Sunday morning he went to a Protestant church to talk to the pastor about what it meant to become a Christian. As he entered the church, an usher refused to seat him and sent him away.
“If Christians have a caste system,” he said, “I might as well remain a Hindu.”
In the letter that James wrote to the Jewish Christians who lived in the Gentile community that was outside of Palestine, he strongly condemned prejudice. Graciously, but sternly, he said to them, “My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus if you favor some people over others?”
Unfortunately, it is easier to accept a well-dressed, impressive looking person into our homes and congregations than one who looks needy and unkempt. We would rather identify with people who look like they have “made it in life” than those who are “apparent failures.” This type of attitude is sinful. God sees all people as equal because His Son leveled the playing field when He died on the cross for “whosoever.” Whosoever is all-inclusive.
Prayer: Prevent us, Father, from having hearts that are hard, minds that are set and attitudes that favor some more than others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 2:1-13 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,”  have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

The Danger Of Hesitation

A world famous aerial acrobat was making his way carefully across a wire high above the crowd below. Suddenly, he lost his footing and fell from his high wire to the earth below. Sitting at his bedside in the hospital, a reporter wondered what he was going to do when he recovered from his injuries.
Assuming that he would never return to his previous occupation he said, “I'm sure that you will no longer do what you did before this horrible accident. You must be afraid of falling again.”
“You don't understand,” came the response. “I did not fall because I was afraid. I fell because I hesitated. Hesitation is the number one killer in our business.”
And it is the number one reason why people do not accept Christ. No one plans to perish. Many perish because they think there will be a better time or another opportunity. So, they hesitate and never decide to give their lives to Christ.
But there is also another “hesitation” we Christians must always keep in mind. Some whom we know and love may perish, not because they hesitated, but because we “hesitated” to witness to them and extend God's love and plan of salvation.
As Christ's messengers we must seize the moment.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to seize every moment as though it were the last moment we have to reach out and bring others to Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Thanks For What?

It was a devastating shipwreck. Only one man survived by clinging to a piece of the ship that floated to the shore of a desolate island. In order to survive, he built a hut with the leaves of palm trees and wood he was able to find.
One morning he went out searching for food when he saw clouds of smoke arising from the location of his hut. Hurriedly he ran to his dwelling only to find that it had been consumed by fire.
That night he slept little. When he awakened the following morning, he was amazed to find a ship anchored off shore. As he stood looking in disbelief, he noticed that the ship was lowering a small life boat. As it came to shore one of the sailors said, “We saw your smoke signal and wondered if everything was OK.” After he told them what happened, they took him back to the ship and eventually he returned to his family.
Scripture tells us to “Always be joyful. Never stop praying.” Situations may change but our God does not. While it is normal and natural for our emotions to change when our circumstances change, we must always turn to the Lord, believing that He will rescue us from the difficulties and dangers of life.
Prayer: We know, Lord, that You will never leave us or forsake us no matter how desperate we may be. Give us the faith to trust You completely. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Saved By A Hug

Jackie Robinson was the first African-American baseball player to break into the major leagues. It was a very difficult struggle for him.
But before his first game, Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, had a frank conversation with him about what he would face. “You're going to take abuse that you never dreamed of,” he said. “But if you are willing to take the abuse, I'm willing to back you all the way.”
It was a difficult time of transition for Robinson. There was one game that was particularly painful for him as the crowd constantly taunted him. But in view of everyone, Pee Wee Reese walked over to him and hugged him.
Later Robinson admitted, “That may have saved my career. Pee Wee made me feel that I belonged.”
All around us are people who are trying to “belong to the team.” They are different by design – God’s design and they want to feel accepted in our churches. And no matter who they are or how they look, educated or illiterate, rich or poor, God's Word says that “we must love one another just as He commanded us” and welcome them to His team.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to live the love that Your Son lived and be accepting of others just as You are accepting of each of us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 3:23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us a commandment.

Obstacles And Opportunities

Sewing was very important to Mrs. Lofting. Whenever she had a moment to spare, she would go to her sewing room and take out her needle and thread and the sewing project she was working on.
But she had a problem. Whenever she was working with a piece of thick, heavy material, the needle she was pushing with her thumb would often pierce it.
One day her sympathetic husband seeing her happiness interrupted with pain became concerned. He went to his shop, found a piece of soft metal and turned it into a bell-shaped covering for her thumb. Jokingly he called it a “thumb-bell.” Soon, other seamstresses became aware of the “thumb-bell” and wanted one for their sewing. Now they are called “thimbles” and are found in nearly every home.
What we do when faced with a problem should come as a result of our dependence upon God. James wrote, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and He will give it to you.” This “wisdom” he is talking about not only means knowledge, but the ability to make wise decisions, gain insight and get us through difficult times. This promise of God is ours to accept and act upon whenever life seems to be beyond us.
Prayer: How gracious of You, Father, to provide Your wisdom to guide us, guard us and grant us answers in all that we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Making Our Memories

It was the first day of the new school year and Albert was boarding the bus. As he was walking to his seat, he brushed up against a book bag and cut his cheek. When he got to school, the nurse cleaned if carefully and placed a bandage on it.
Later, during recess, he collided with a classmate and loosened two of his front teeth. Then, at noon, as he was walking to the cafeteria, he tripped and fell and broke his wrist. 
His father came to the school and finally “rescued” him and took him to the hospital. While waiting for the doctor, his dad noticed that his little fist was clenched as tightly as possible, holding a crumpled up dollar bill. His dad asked him where he got it and he replied, “I found it when I fell and broke my wrist. This is my lucky day!”
“Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise,” said Paul. What we put into our minds determines what comes out in words and deeds. If we have problems with thoughts that are harmful and impure, unwholesome and unkind, we need to take an inventory of what we are reading, watching on television and viewing on the internet.
Minds are like bank accounts: What goes in comes out but nothing more.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to take Paul's advice and fill our minds with thoughts that come from reading Your Word and meditating on it constantly. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Honored By Being Humble

Booker T. Washington was a famous African-American who was president of Tuskegee Institute. Once while walking down a street near the school, a white woman, not knowing him, asked if he would like to earn a few dollars by chopping some wood.
Smiling graciously, he chopped the wood as directed, carried it into her house and carefully stacked it near the fireplace. When her daughter recognized who had been chopping and stacking the wood, she went to her mother and informed her. She was shocked when she learned this and went to Mr. Washington, and apologized profusely.
“It's alright, Madam,” he said politely, “it is a delight to help a friend.” Not long after that incident the lady donated thousands of dollars to the school.
Peter warned, “God opposes the proud, but favors the humble.” Pride is a dangerous thing. It can strip us of our willingness to help others whom God loves and cares for. It is far better to receive the favor of God than any recognition that may come from others.
We must always be available to reach out to others when we see their need. Jesus did. And remember, God is always willing, ready and able to bless us when we bless others.
Prayer: We pray, Father, that whenever anyone anywhere needs our help, we will willingly respond with Your love, kindness and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Peter 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

Help When We Need It

There is an interesting carving over a door in a hotel at the bottom of a well-climbed mountain in the Alps. It reads: “If you get into trouble, ask God to help you; when you are not in trouble, cultivate His acquaintance; after He has helped you, don't fail to thank Him.”
Often when difficulties arise and we find ourselves in life-threatening situations we are quick to shout, “God help me!” It is the normal, natural thing to do. When tempted and troubled, when there is no time to plan and prepare, it comes automatically. We rejoice when He responds and most times express our gratitude for His being willing to rescue us. We are quick to follow His advice and often follow it without question. We must also express our gratitude to Him for being with us and protecting us.
It is the statement in the middle of the advice, however, that we must also practice: “when not in trouble, cultivate His acquaintance.” The act and art of cultivation takes time and patience and must follow certain rules if the “seed” is to grow and bear fruit. This cultivation involves reading God's Word, taking time to pray, meditate and worship Him each day and being alert to opportunities to serve Him.
Prayer: We thank You, Lord, for Your availability in our times of need. But trouble us deeply until we take the time to cultivate a relationship with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Know Your Enemy

President Theodore Roosevelt had a very feisty little dog that could not resist fighting with other dogs. Sadly, he lost every fight.
After one such loss a friend said to him, “Mr. President, your dog isn't much of a fighter.”
“On the contrary,” he replied, “he's a good fighter. Unfortunately, he underestimates his adversaries!”
“Know thyself. Know thy enemy” was the advice of a Greek philosopher. We often think that we know our strengths and limitations and how to meet the challenges of life. But, for whatever reason, we know neither one of them well enough to keep us from falling into temptation and then into sin.
Paul said that “God is faithful and…He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you the way out so that you can endure.” Note that Paul said God “will show us the way out.”
The important fact here is that God's faithfulness must be coupled with our willingness to accept a way out. God always provides a moment between the temptation and the choice to sin. But we must seize the moment of decision.
Prayer: We pray, Father, that we might become more alert to the temptations we face and know that with Your strength we need not fail You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Going Up?

The late Bishop Sheen was shopping in a New York department store going from one floor to the next. After he finished looking at all of the items on the fifth floor, he got on the elevator and pushed the button for the sixth.
As the door was closing, a lady rushed on to the elevator and smiled at him. When the elevator stopped and he made his way to the door, she looked at him with a frown and said, “I did not want to go up, I wanted to go down!”
“Madam,” he said with a grin, “I only take people up, not down!”
Often we are not aware of how our behavior is affecting others. We do what we do because it brings us pleasure, happiness or satisfaction. We may not realize that others may be watching what we do and then imitate our behavior – whether right or wrong. They may be looking for someone to follow.
Paul said, “So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live – for I don't want to cause another believer to stumble.” He was ever conscious of the example he set knowing others were watching. We must do the same.
Prayer: Father, may we never forget that we are a living example of what it means to be a Christian and always represent You well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 8:13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

God Will Enable You

During World War II a sergeant was driving a visiting evangelist to speak to the soldiers in the mess hall. On their trip across the military base the driver pointed to a sign that read, “Be All That You Can Be!”
The evangelist asked him, “Are you all that you can be?”
“No, but I would like to be,” he replied.
Then the evangelist said, “Here's how you can become all you want to be:
“First you must surrender your life to the Lord and be born again. Once you do that, you can begin your journey to becoming all that you can be because He has a plan for your life.”
“Then,” he continued, “you need to seek God's plan for your life. You know, Sergeant, God has a plan that He designed especially for you and unless you do what He wants you to do, you will never be all you can be.
“His plan for you is special and specific and if you read His Word, seek guidance from Him and wait for His directions, you will become all you can be because you will become all that He wants you to be – now and throughout eternity.”
Prayer: Help us, Father, to be all You intended us to be and to be faithful in fulfilling the plan You have designed for each one of us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

The Place Of Safety

A group of expert mountain climbers was attempting to get to the top of the Matterhorn. As they entered one passage, the guide noticed that there were clouds of billowing snow rapidly approaching them as they began to go around a curve.
Quickly he shouted as loud as he could, “Get down on your knees! That's where you will be safe.”
What good advice!
Once David said, “In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; He saved me from all my troubles.”
What we believe about God determines what we include in our prayers. Paul said, “He is not far from any one of us.” If we believe that God is close by and available to us, it becomes natural to turn to Him at any time no matter where we are or what is happening.
We need to believe that He is powerful and can make a difference in our lives. Again, hear Paul: “God is able through His mighty power...to accomplish more than we might ask or think.”
Finally, we need to believe we can influence Him. “You don't have because you don't ask,” said James. There are no limits or conditions on what we might ask.
Prayer: Lord, we pray with one of Your disciples the simple prayer: Lord I believe. Help my unbelief. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 34:6 This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.

From Trials to Triumph

Twelve men, who met regularly to discuss the problems they were dealing with, began to argue about which one of them had the most serious problem. Unable to come to a conclusion, they decided to go to a counselor for his views.
As they began to discuss and debate their problems in his presence, each tried to make his situation sound the worst.
After a few moments the counselor asked them to divide themselves into two groups of six and sit in chairs facing each other. After sitting and facing each other, he gave them a piece of paper and said, “Write your problems on the paper and then exchange it with the one who is sitting opposite you.” They did as he asked.
As they read the other persons problem, they realized that their own problem was not as serious as it had been and asked for their problem to be returned.
As believers we must accept the fact that God causes everything to work together for our good. This does not mean that everything that happens to us is good – but that God will use every “thing” to His good. He does this to accomplish the purpose He has for each of us in knowing and doing His will.
Prayer: Give us strength Lord, to accept everything in our lives as a gift from You that can, if we let it, shape us into Your likeness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.


While stopped at a traffic light, the motorist in the car waiting beside James rolled down his window and motioned for him to do the same. He did, and the driver next to him asked, "Why the license plate with F I D O on it? Is that your dog?"
"No," came the reply. "It's to remind me when a motorist is discourteous or spiteful to me that I am to Forget It -Drive On."
What a great reminder of how we Christians are to behave. Paul sent a letter to the church in Colossae saying that "whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus." This means that no matter where we are or what we are doing, day or night, we are to behave in a way that brings honor to the Lord!
Often in the rush of life and the pressures of the moment, we forget the overwhelming obligation that we have to God as our Father. We get caught up in the events of life, the tight schedules we arrange, the many requirements others make of us each day. So as the pressures mount and the demands escalate, we allow our primary responsibility to slip away from us. At all times and in all places we need to be aware of the impact our behavior has on others.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to be conscious of what we do as Your representatives, remembering that others see Your love in what we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Faithful Forecaster

Harold stopped by the gift store to purchase a barometer to inform him of changing weather conditions. When he got home he hung it on the wall in his library. After a few moments he decided to see if it was working. When it warned him of an impending tornado, he became angry and took it back to the store demanding a new one.
Pleased with his new one, he hurried home to hang it on the wall in the place of the one he thought was not working properly. As he turned the corner of the street, he was shocked with disbelief. While he was gone, a tornado came through town and his home was completely destroyed.
Many look at the Bible the way that Harold looked at his barometer: They doubt it or deny it or attempt to distort its message one way or another. But one's opinion will not alter the invitation to salvation or the promise of judgment.
God's Word warns us that “each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment.” We hear little about judgment because it is not a popular theme in today's culture. God's Word and promises are as certain as His love and salvation. We cannot change facts – only accept or reject them.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to accept the teachings of Your Word and be prepared for Your judgment and to live knowing we will stand before You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

Everybody Is Somebody

The elevator stopped and the doors began to open. A large group of reporters were waiting for a celebrity to step out. When the lone occupant stepped through the doors, there was a burst of lights flashing from the cameras of the photographers. They began pushing and shoving, each trying to get to the front of the crowd to get the best photo.
Then one of them said, “Forget it. She's not Elizabeth Taylor. She's a nobody.”
But everybody is somebody with God. The world recognizes people for what they have done. God recognizes us for what He has done for us through Jesus Christ.
When we are born again, we move from a life that is sin-centered to a life that is God-centered. We move from a life that is self-led to a life that is Holy Spirit led. As Christians we gain eternal life and are citizens of the Kingdom of God with all of its benefits. We have the promises of God as a source of strength and encouragement. We have the hope of eternal life and the promise of being with our Lord forever. And we have the peace of God to sustain us in the storms of life and days of distress.
In Christ we are somebody very important to God.
Prayer: How grateful we are, Heavenly Father, to know that we are Your children and have as our inheritance all that Your Word offers. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

Education Or Learning?

A reporter was visiting a number of farmers who had been identified as “successful.” He had been traveling from state to state and farm to farm. His last interviewee was the farmer who was known for being more successful than all of the others.
“Tell, me, Sir,” began the reporter, “how much education have you had?”
Reflecting for a moment, the farmer answered, “Six years of schooling, but fifty years of learning.”
From His birth to His baptism, we only have one glimpse into the life of Jesus. It was when His parents took Him to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem. He was so overwhelmed and impressed by the events that took place that He lingered a little longer than they did and became separated from them. Luke says that they found Jesus listening to the religious teachers and asking questions and adds that they were “amazed at his understanding and answers.”
Imagine, if you can, the Son of God eagerly searching for knowledge to grow in “wisdom and stature and favor with God and all the people.”
In every area of His life, Jesus set examples for us to follow. But none more important than learning the ways of His Father.
Prayer: Father, if we would serve You fully and faithfully, we can only do so if we come to know You through understanding Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 2:47, 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Don't Get Stuck

A king called his wise men together and commanded them to identify the world's greatest truth. Once they agreed on what this truth was, they were to inscribe it in his ring. He wanted one truth that would provide him guidance and give him hope and help for every situation he faced and each case he had to decide.
Many months later the wise men came back with the words they chose for the inscription: “This too shall pass.”
It is significant that the phrase “It came to pass” occurs 457 times in the Bible. Those words are echoed by the
Psalmist when he wrote, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”
We sometimes become involved in situations that are beyond our strength and exceed our courage. We awaken one day to realize that what we thought would never end or bring us unending happiness, has evaporated into the air. We become discouraged by the endless wars, devastating earthquakes, destructive hurricanes, uncontrollable prices and see no end in sight. No night is so dark nor day so cloudy that cancels the hope that “This too shall pass.”
Prayer: Lord, help us to understand the power of Your love, the goodness of Your grace, the extent of Your mercy and Your readiness to help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

Different For A Purpose

The hummingbird weighs only a tenth of an ounce. It does not glide or soar; nor does hop or sit on a limb. But it can twist and turn, fly backward and even upside down.
The ostrich is a 300 pound bird. Even though it has wings, it cannot fly. However, it can run 50 miles an hour.
The duck hawk is the size of a crow and is very fast. In fact, it can dive after prey at 185 miles an hour.
As with birds, so it is with humans. Each of us is different because God has created us for a unique purpose. Paul said, “Learn to know God's will for you which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Sometimes that seems unlikely when we are confused and troubled, depressed and discouraged. It seems that nothing is or ever will be the way we want it to be. Why not give up or give in? 
Paul gives us the reason for the turmoil: God has to transform us and renew our minds before He can use us to do His work in His world. Unless we allow Him to fill our minds with His Word and learn His ways, we will never be transformed and capable of fulfilling the plan He has developed for each of us.
Prayer: Lord, give us no peace until we allow You to transform us into the person You would have us to be and to do what You want us to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Bald Heads And Bold Love

Ten-year-old Charles was undergoing chemotherapy following surgery for brain cancer. When his hair began to fall out in large clumps, he decided to shave his head. His friends at school noticed this and in a way to support and encourage him, they also shaved their heads.
Once when Jesus was teaching His disciples the difference between self-centeredness and greatness, He used a child to get His point across. He knew that they had been arguing among themselves as to who would be the greatest in His Kingdom. He knew that they were confusing His earthly and heavenly kingdoms. To help them understand the importance of humility and sincerity He said, “unless you turn from your sins and become like little children you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” His disciples had become so preoccupied with the idea of an earthly kingdom that they lost sight of His divine purpose. It was time for a lesson.
Children have wonderful characteristics. They are loving and loyal, they forgive and forget, they try and trust, they sympathize and share, they accept and respect others. No wonder Jesus used a child as an example. What is it that keeps us from becoming childlike?
Prayer: Lord, give us a faith that is as humble and trusting as a child's and let us be as willing as they are to reach out to others in need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 18:1-3 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,  and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

"And Then Some"

A famous entrepreneur was once asked, “What's the secret of your success?”
After a moment’s thought he replied, “And then some.”
Curious, the interviewer asked, “What does that mean?”
He replied, “I discovered at an early age that the extraordinary people did what was expected of them – and then some.”
Christians must do more than believe – they must behave. True, deep down belief in our heart will lead us to live and love as Jesus did.
Christians must do more than care, they must share. If we know of someone who is without and needs something we can provide we must share.
Christians must do more than forgive, they must accept. If someone has wronged us, we must reach out to them in love and let them know by words and deeds that we hold nothing against them.
Christians must do more than promise, they must perform. When we give our word, we must honor our word. If we “say it,” we must “do it” if we possibly can. And when we can't, we must admit we made a promise we can't keep – no matter the reason.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to practice what we preach, to walk our talk, to do it if we say it, to go the second mile and to behave what we say we believe. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 5:41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.

Act Like You Believe It

Bud Grant was the legendary head football coach of the Minnesota Vikings and a member of the pro-football Hall of Fame. He was once referred to as the “toughest person on the field.”
The first event at the first practice session of every Viking camp was the same. He personally showed his players how to line up for the playing of our National Anthem. He would remind them that if the other teams slouched or looked disinterested during the playing of the anthem, he was not responsible for their behavior.
However, he said to his men, “You're special. You're winners. Look and act like winners every second you are part of this team!”
We Christians need to realize that we are “special.” We need to look and act like Christians all of the time – no matter where we are or what we are doing. The Apostle John said, “Those who say they live in God should live as Jesus did.”
This does not mean that God expects us to have disciples or perform miracles. It means that we are to walk as He walked, talk as He talked, live as He lived, obey God as He obeyed God and follow His example of loving and serving others as He did.
Prayer: Our Father, may we as Your children be and act like Jesus, Your Son, and demonstrate to others that we are members of Your family. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 2:6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

A Happy Heart

Five-year-old Matthew was having a difficult time remaining still in church. He did not understand what the preacher was talking about, nor did he really care. It was far beyond him.
Turning to his left he saw a kindly lady. As he caught her eye, he smiled at her. She returned the smile and he giggled. His mother, becoming upset at his behavior jerked him, pinched his arm and said, “Stop grinning. You're in church.”
As the tears rolled down his cheeks she said, “There, that's better,” and returned to listening to the sermon.
Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” It is easy to be filled with joy when things are going the way we want them to. But when hardships come it is easy to be discouraged and even depressed. However, the joy that comes from our relationship with God can bring bursts of joy in the darkest of hours. Our joy does not come from the events of this world but from the relationship we can have with God, our Heavenly Father. When we are truly surrendered to the Lord, come what may, we will find lasting joy that only comes from Him.
Prayer: We pray, Lord, that we will live a life filled with joy that comes from You that the world cannot disturb no matter what happens. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 15:7-11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.


The comic strip Peanuts contains many useful lessons for each of us. In one of their discussions, Linus said to Charlie Brown, “I guess it's wrong to worry about tomorrow. Maybe we should think only about today.”
“No!” Charlie Brown said emphatically. “That's giving up. I'm still hoping that yesterday will get better.”
Letting go is often very difficult. Sometimes we enjoy holding on to a hurt so we can feel sorry for ourselves. Or, we may want to carry yesterday's anger with us to avoid having God's peace in our hearts, believing we are unworthy of His grace. Often when our prayers go unanswered, we enjoy doubting God's power and presence in our lives, thinking that He has forgotten about us.
The word “worry” comes from a German word that means “to choke.” We “choke” out the good things that God has in store for us because we refuse to take Him at His Word. Paul said, “Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything.” 
Paul advises us to turn our worries into prayers. God is merciful and mighty, powerful and present and can remove our worries and solve our problems. “Tell God what you want and thank Him for all He has done,” advised Paul.
Prayer: Lord, may we realize that although things may seem to be more than we can handle, nothing is beyond Your ability to control. Give us the faith we need. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

Which Way From Here?

A tourist became lost on the back roads of Alabama. There were no signs to point him in any direction and the dirt roads seemed endless.
His heart leaped for joy when he saw an old farmer sitting on a fence nibbling on a piece of straw. After explaining his dilemma, the farmer paused, shook his head knowingly, and then gave him a set of explicit directions. After thanking the farmer for being gracious and helpful, he drove down the road filled with confidence.
Thirty minutes later the tourist, after following the directions with great care, found himself back where he began with the farmer still sitting on the fence with the straw between his lips.
Angrily the tourist said, “What’s the big idea? I did what you told me to do and look where I ended up!”
“Well,” said the farmer, “I didn’t want to waste my time telling you how to get to Montgomery until I knew whether or not you were able to follow directions.”
When a disciple asked Jesus for directions to His Father’s house, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me!” Jesus was very clear when He described the path for salvation and to eternal life. There can never be any misunderstanding about such an important question if we follow the teachings of Jesus.
Prayer: We thank You, Lord, that You have made the answer to life’s most important question so clear and with it the promise of eternal life with You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 14:1-6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

When We Fear

While visiting a Sunday school class, the pastor asked, “How many of you pray every night before going to sleep?”
Every hand in the class went into the air. “That’s wonderful,” he said. And continued, “How many of you say your prayers every morning before going to school or out to play?” Everyone but George raised their hand.
“George,” he asked, “tell me why you don’t pray each morning.”
Quickly he responded, “Well, it’s because I’m not afraid in the day time. I can see everything around me.”
Fear can often be very helpful and useful. It usually accompanies a feeling of alarm or an unexpected event that may be something we cannot control. It can help us to be alert to dangers or objects that could do us harm. It might even be caused by guilt or shame for something we have done or not done, reminding us to ask God for His mercy and forgiveness.
David once wrote, “I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” People can harm us, causing suffering, pain, humiliation and even death. But no one can ever rob us of our soul or the future we can have with our Father. We only need to fear God who controls this life and access to His presence in the life to come.
Prayer: Father, as we place our faith in You, may we live in peace knowing that in Your love we are safe and secure, now and in eternity. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 56:3-4 When I am afraid, I put my trust in thee. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust without a fear. What can flesh do to me?

What To Pray For

Following the morning service, a deacon was sitting quietly reading his Bible when the janitor approached him asking if he had enough light.
“Yes, thank you, I do. But what did you think of our new pastor's prayer this morning?” he asked.
“It was great,” came the answer. And he continued, “He prayed for things the other pastors didn't know God was concerned about.”
A good way to learn about the things that concern God is to carefully read a local newspaper. Its content provides many things for us to be concerned about and pray for. Examples include:
Our nation: we need to pray for our leaders and the issues of America and the world
Our Armed Forces: their protection and their families
Our cities: the unemployed, the homeless, the sick
Our newborns: that parents will show God's love
Our schools: that students will learn the truth
Our merchants: that they will treat people fairly
Our neighbors: the lost, the grieving, the hopeless
Our churches: their faithfulness to God and His Word
Our firemen, policemen, EMS personnel, health care providers
Our local governments, judges and legal system
Our families: that they will be strong and God honoring
Prayer: Father, help us to be aware of and concerned about everything in Your world that is important to You and to pray earnestly for Your will in all things. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 18:1-8 And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

What Are You Looking For?

Once, while walking through one of his factories, Henry Ford stopped to talk with an engineer. “Tell me,” he asked, “what is your ambition in life?”
With no hesitation he answered, “To make money and become rich!”
A few days later he returned to talk to the engineer. He paused for a moment and then handed him a pair of glasses.
In place of the lenses were silver dollars. “Put them on,” he said. “Now, what do you see?”
“Nothing but money,” he replied
“Maybe,” said Mr. Ford, “you should rethink your ambitions.”
Many people believe that money can bring happiness. Although there is evidence to prove that this is not true, it is a belief that drives many people to try to acquire more and more. It seems to lead to an endless cycle and life without peace.
Paul gives some us some guidelines to keep us focused. One day, whatever we have will all be gone. We will take nothing with us.
In view of that, we are to be content with what God gives us. We are to love people more than money and share what God has given to us with others when they have needs.
God has promised to give us what we need, not want.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for supplying our every need. May we learn to be content with what You graciously give us each day. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Timothy 6:6-10 For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.