What's Average Got To Do With It?

Someone said that the average man has sixty-nine pounds of muscle, forty-one pounds of bones but only three pounds of brain. (Now that may explain many things!)
Henry Spangler was not average. He was alert.
He worked as a janitor but had problems with dust. Whenever he swept the floor, the dust would rise, causing him to sneeze and cough. His eyes would run and it even caused him to have serious headaches. But he did not quit. He began to think about the dust – not himself. He began to search for ways to suck up dust rather than scattering it through the air. If only, he thought, there would be a way to capture the dust in a container. He asked God to help to solve his problem.
His search finally led him to the idea of a vacuum cleaner. After much thought, he shared his idea with an old friend and asked him to finance the idea and work with him. It resulted in the Hoover Vacuum Cleaner and his old friend was H. W. Hoover.
James wrote, “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask...He’ll tell you.” God can solve any problem we have if we look to Him for His solution.
It’s never the size of our problem but our faith and perseverance.
Prayer: Lord, help us to look beyond ourselves when we have a problem and know that You already have the solution if we simply ask for Your help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 1:5-8 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.

What Next, God?

“Time for bed, Rosemary,” said grandmother.
“Let’s read the story of creation.” As she read through the verses, she would pause and emphasize how carefully God worked and made something different each day. She wanted her granddaughter to love and understand the power, majesty and wonder of God.
“What do you think of this story?” she asked.
“Oh, I love it,” came the reply. “You never know what God’s going to do!”
How true.
Jesus once said, “It is very hard to get into the Kingdom of God.”
He was then asked, “Then who in the world can be saved?”
He replied, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”
Jesus took this important opportunity to teach the message of salvation. Although salvation by one’s efforts is impossible, by God’s grace we can be saved if we place our faith in Christ.
It is God’s love that provides the grace for our salvation. “You never know what God’s going to do.”
Prayer: We thank and praise You, Father, for what You did to make our salvation possible through Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Mark 10:27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

The Promise of Patience

When I was a child, I was fascinated by my father’s garden. Each spring we would plant little seeds that would grow into large plants that produced all types of vegetables. One day I decided to plant my own garden.
Carefully I “turned” the soil and placed the same seeds that my father planted in straight rows separated with room enough for them to grow. Then I went into our house and watched my garden through the window of my bedroom. Every morning and evening I would visit the garden to look for some sign that would assure me that my garden was growing.
Finally, in desperation for some sign that my garden was “working” just like my dad’s, I dug up the seeds to see what was going on. To my surprise I discovered that they were still seeds. I had faith and hope, but no patience.
Sometimes during the difficult periods of life we sow seeds in the garden of prayer and water them with times of meditation, faith and hope. But we lose patience with God and do not give Him enough time to do His work. His Word reminds us, “When the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow.”
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to wait on You for lessons in patience that we all need to learn. Only then will we be strong enough to face the challenges of life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Peter 1:1-7 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

Thank You For This Beautiful Day

Just before leaving for school, little Noah was saying his morning prayers. “Heavenly Father, thank You for this beautiful day.”
“But,” interrupted his mother, “there is going to be a storm with rain, lightning and thunder. That’s not a beautiful day.”
“I know,” was the quick reply. “We just can’t judge a day by the weather.”
There are some days when the last possible thing we can do is to find something beautiful. We awaken to discover that a loved one is critically ill, we feel overwhelmed by the tough schedule we are facing, the children are out of control and the sink is overflowing because the plumbing is stopped-up. What next? Can anything else go wrong?
Perhaps it is time to hear the Psalmist: “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Throughout the Psalms we often read about the difficult, demanding and discouraging days David faced. What did he do?
He spoke to God honestly and took his problems to God and pleaded for His help. And every time, at the end of the psalm, there was rejoicing!
Prayer: Father, we know that You are bigger than every problem we face and have solutions for each of them. May we see Your beauty in all things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Sowing Seeds of Beauty

Captain James Cook was one of the most famous British navigators. He sailed around the world many times. On each of his journeys he would take seeds of flowers that came from lovely English gardens.
Whenever his ship reached a port, he would disembark with his crew. While the crew enjoyed the city, he would take some of the seeds he brought with him and plant them in a garden near the port. Everywhere he went, he left a reminder of his visit by planting seeds that brought beauty to the lives of the people who lived in that city.
There is nothing more important for Christians to do than to share God’s love and beauty. Wherever He leads us in our journey through life, He will give us many opportunities to “plant” seeds of His love, salvation and hope.
Paul reminds us that we Christians must be clothed in God’s love. His love adds His beauty to our actions and makes whatever we do attractive to others. No matter what other gifts God may give us, we can all share His love in every word and deed.
Prayer: Lord, help us to always be mindful of the great love You have for us and as we do, be willing to go to any extreme to give that Love to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 13 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Safe Keeping

A new mother was bathing her infant while a small child who lived next door carefully watched. In the arms of the child was a small, soiled, well-worn doll. A leg was missing, the face was badly scratched, the hair was rumpled and the dress was worn and torn.
“How long have you had your baby?” asked the young neighbor.
“Four months,” came the proud reply.
“My,” replied the child. “You’ve sure kept her nice!”
Parents have a godly responsibility to keep their children “nice.” They are a gift from God and are to be raised in God-fearing, God-centered and God-honoring homes.
Christian parents, first and foremost, are to live love – a love that reflects the sacrificial love of God that demonstrates at all times His care and compassion for children.
Christian parents must also be as available to their children as God is to His children. Even as we need God’s companionship, our children need us to be as near to them as He is to us when we call on Him in prayer.
Prayer: We pray, Heavenly Father, for parents to honor You by honoring the children You give them by raising them with loving care and discipline. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Safe At Sea

The sky was blue and the sea calm. The freighter Summit Venture was completing its journey into the Port of Tampa Bay. But before it arrived at the dock, it crashed into the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Sadly, thirty-one people lost their lives.
The investigation into this tragedy revealed that the captain who was steering the ship at the time of the accident had been in seven prior incidents. What an unfortunate ending for a journey that was intended to end in happiness.
In our journey through life we have One who is unsurpassed as Captain. His skills are unmatched and His compass is never out of line. He can calm seas and bring storms to a calm ending.
On our voyage through life we have an infallible Captain available to protect us. David wrote, “The Lord says, I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”
When we put our complete confidence in the Lord, we have a Captain who not only cares for our very best but One who will guide us safely through the storms of life until we are safely at home with Him in heaven.
Prayer: We ask, Father, that we might trust in You as the Captain of our lives knowing that Your presence and protection will guard us always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.

On Being Fear-Filled

A world famous surgeon was being interviewed by a television reporter for a series on the advances being made in the medical profession. Coming to the last question, the reporter asked, “Tell me doctor, what is your greatest fear?”
After thinking for a moment, he replied, “That I may no longer feel the pains of my patients.”
For him, feeling was essential if he was to help others. It moved him as he performed surgery on those in need of healing.
Sympathy is meant to stir us to service, to help us see the needs of others and to move us into action. Without sympathy we would do little to help the least, the last and the lost.
Paul said, “Share each other’s troubles and problems.” Sympathy enables us to see the needs that others have and do something about them. It is the very foundation from which love and obedience to fulfill the commandments of Christ flow.
No Christian should ever feel that they are beyond the requirement of or excused from helping and praying for others. At all times and in all situations we are to be alert to the needs of others and respond to them as Jesus did.
Prayer: Lord, open our eyes that we might see the things that You saw and be moved by the things that moved You and then do as You did in love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Old Enough To Do As I Please

Tommy came home from school with a question mark all over his face. He and his friends had an intense discussion about decisions and life styles. As the family sat around the dinner table that evening he looked at his Dad and asked,  “How soon will I be old enough to do what I please?”
“I don’t know,” came the response. “Nobody has ever lived that long yet.”
Freedom for the Christian is not doing as one pleases. It is freedom in Christ who gives us the power to do what pleases God. It is in Him and through Him and because of Him that we have the freedom to live a life free from sin and no longer be slaves to things that would destroy us or the guilt that would enslave us.
Think of it this way: A train pulling a long line of freight or passenger cars is only free as long as it remains on the tracks. Once it leaves the tracks it is no longer free because it has lost its path – the structure provided by the rails – that securely guides it.
So it is with Christians. As long as we stay in the Word – God’s tracks – to keep us safely moving toward our destination – life with Him, is safe.
Prayer: We thank You for Your Word, Father, that provides us the safety, security and structure that we need to live a life of freedom from sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 6:12-18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

"My Father Knows!"

A customer was watching young James help his father move boxes of shoes from one location to another. The father would place boxes of shoes in his arms and then he would move them to another location. Seeing the pile grow higher and higher in the boy’s arms, he politely asked, “Son, I don’t see how you can carry any more. Isn’t that too much for you?”
Cheerfully he responded, “Sir, my father knows how much I can carry.”
Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, wanted to give them a burst of encouragement as they faced the temptations in a sinful culture. So, he said, “God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it.” In other words, “He knows how much you can carry.”
No one is immune from the temptations of life. Even if we feel that we are being singled out by God for a special examination, we must realize that others have faced similar temptations and have successfully resisted them. We have God’s Word that He will always give us the strength to face the temptations and avoid sinning – if we choose to.
The issue is not about being able to face and flee temptation; the issue is whether or not we want to.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to realize that Your Son faced every temptation that we will face, yet remained sinless. May we, as He did, call on You for help. 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.

Living Fear-Free

“It’s above me, around me, in me and under me,” he said.
“What?” I asked.
“Fear,” came the reply. “I am afraid of everything and everybody, anything and any place.”
David gave us a good prescription for fear.
“Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him and He will help you.” In one brief verse he provides three steps to control our anxieties:
Step One: Commit our concerns. The word “commit” contains a unique picture: it is as though you would “roll” the burden, problem or threat from yourself to God. Imagine putting all your concerns in a wheelbarrow and then rolling them into the presence of God and “dumping” them out at His feet. What a joy!
Step two: Fortify our faith. When we leave our concerns with God, we know that not only does He care about them, but He has the ultimate responsibility for their solution. We have His Word that – “He will help!”
Step three: Trusting God does not mean that He will remove every problem or give us everything we want. But it does mean that He is totally responsible for our well-being and will meet every need.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to take You at Your Word, to know that you will calm our every fear, give us Your everlasting peace, and provide for all our needs. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

"Let's Turn It On!"

Thomas Edison worked many years to develop a light bulb. The day finally arrived when his first one was ready to be tested. He turned to his lab technician and said, “Take this downstairs and let’s turn it on!”
The technician was filled with excitement as he left the laboratory. As he ran down the stairs, he slipped, fell and broke the bulb.
Discouraged but not defeated, Edison went on to make his second bulb. When it was finished, he turned to the same technician and said, “Take this downstairs and let’s turn it on!” With the same amount of excitement, but more cautious, he carefully took the bulb downstairs and the experiment was completed successfully.
More often than not, it is easy to give up when things do not turn out as we expect them to. In a moment of despair we find it easier to turn our backs on projects that fail or goals that crumble. But even though we may make a mess of things, God has not nor ever will give up on us. The Lord, speaking through Joshua, said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go!”
What a gracious promise of His presence and power!
Prayer: Lord, may we always work with You to turn every tragedy into triumph and every disaster into a delight that honors You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Joshua 1:1-9 Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Learn To Concentrate!

Kid McCoy was a notorious boxer who became the world champion in his weight division. He was known for the unusual tactics he applied to defeat his opponents. Not known for being fair, he was nevertheless, sought after as a boxing instructor who was effective in teaching people to fight.
On one occasion a man went to him and asked, “Would you teach me to fight?”
“All right,” said McCoy. “Put up your fists. Say, who’s that coming through the door?”
When the man turned his head, McCoy knocked him down. As the man got up, the Kid said, “That’s the first lesson. Learn to concentrate and keep your eyes on the man in the ring.”
One day Jesus was walking on the water. His disciple, Peter saw Him and asked if he could join Him. Jesus answered, “All right. Come.” And he did.
And we all know the rest of the story. Things went well until the huge waves frightened him and Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink.
We will never walk on water but we will walk through the storms of life. When we do, we must stay focused on Jesus or we too will sink in despair.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to keep our eyes focused on You at all times, knowing that Your power to rescue us is greater than any storm we will face. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 14:22-36 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.”

Leading By Example

The military is known for orderliness. Rarely does one see a uniform that is wrinkled or grounds that are unkempt. But there once was an exception.
When General George Marshall took command of the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia before World War II, he found the post in a condition that was unacceptable to him. Having power beyond imagination and control over every individual assigned there, his options were unlimited. He could speak the word and everyone would fall in line and make the installation glow in the dark. But he did not do that.
Instead of issuing orders to get the post up to his standards, he got out his lawnmower, rake, shovel and paintbrushes and began to make his quarters the example.
And it worked. Soon the officers next door did the same. Then their neighbors and on and on it went until it reached the last home on the grounds. Fort Benning became the example for the Army.
Often the best way to encourage someone to do the right thing is to become an example for them to follow. Paul gave that advice to Timothy: “Be an example to all believers.” Paul gives that advice to us as well!
Prayer: Help us, Father, to live as You lived, to walk as You walked and to talk as You talked so that we will always be Your examples in this world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Keys To Success

Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach of the Green Bay Packers, knew what it took to be victorious. Once when asked the formula he replied, “Dedication, hard work and sacrifice.”
When his team met for practice, he would remind them that “You’re here for to play football. And I’m here to see you play as well as your God-given talents and abilities will allow you to play. And that means total dedication!”
But dedication was not enough. Lombardi was known as a coach who was relentless in making his teams produce. He knew that dedication by itself would not be enough. It would take long hours of practice and preparation, perseverance and pain, suffering and sacrifice. It took every talent and every ability that every player possessed to become winners and champions.
Paul wrote, “Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life.”
God gave us a new life to use for His glory. We must make every sacrifice to succeed for Him.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to commit our minds and hearts to You and then develop every skill and talent You have given us to work for Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 6:13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

Judged For What?

It was a difficult semester in school for little Tammy. Her grades were very low and her fear of being punished very high. Thinking about a way out of her dilemma she asked her Dad, “Can you write your name with your eyes closed?”
“Yes, I think so,” he replied.
“Great!” So, she had him sit at the table, got a pen and said, “Sign here!” as she guided his hand.
When he opened his eyes, he realized that he had signed her report card. Needless to say, he was not pleased and made some appropriate adjustments.
Although we may think that we are hiding things from God, Solomon reminds us that “God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”
We are reminded by Solomon that we are to enjoy life and everything that God has given us. But this does not excuse us or exempt us from obeying God and what He has commanded us to do. We must train ourselves to recognize what is right or wrong according to God’s Word and then live a life that is in agreement with His demands. He has the final say.
No excuses! No exemptions! No explanations!
Prayer: May we live our lives, Lord, with a clear understanding of the fact that one day we will stand before You in judgment for all we’ve done. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

It's Not How Long But How Well

The class had become boring. So the teacher decided to liven it up with a group discussion.
“If Shakespeare were alive today,” he asked, “would he be considered remarkable?”
“Remarkable?” replied one student. “That’s hardly the way to put it. He’d be considered ancient.”
Living long does not mean that one has lived well or accomplished much. It simply means that one has lived. What we do with the time that God gives us is what really matters. 
We all must face one simple, significant, serious question: Who and what do we live for?
After his conversion Paul had one desire: To live and die for Christ. He wrote “that I will never do anything that causes me shame...that I will always be bold for Christ...that my life will always honor Christ...for me to live is Christ.” 
Paul’s whole purpose in life was to become more like Christ and to speak boldly for Christ. It did not matter if he was among friends or in a prison, in front of a crowd or writing a letter. He was totally consumed with serving the Lord. Someone said that if we are not ready to die, we are not prepared to live.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we always put You first in all that we do and one day hear You say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

It's In The Details

A lady was traveling in Europe with a group of her friends. On one of their shopping trips she discovered a beautiful diamond and ruby bracelet that captured her heart. She sent a message to her husband that read, “Have found a beautiful bracelet. It costs $75,000. May I buy it for our anniversary?”
He responded, “No, price too high.”
Somehow, in the transmission, his comma after the “No” was deleted. She read it as “No price too high” meaning that she was worth it. So she purchased the bracelet. 
In a letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “Focus on reading the Scriptures to the church.” The “Scriptures” that Paul was talking about were the writings of the Old Testament. It was all that the early church had to read at that time. But they read them carefully and faithfully to learn of the Messiah who had been sent from God.
We, too, must do the same: focus on reading the Scriptures. We need to read the Old as well as the New Testament for there are rich rewards to be found in both. It is necessary for us read, focus, study, understand and apply the principles of His Word that God has revealed to us for our daily walk.
Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to hide Your Word in our hearts that we might not sin against You and live our lives as Your disciples. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

"I Knew I Would Be Asked"

A nervous witness sat before the judge and jury. Everyone could see his fear. He could not hide it. The attorney turned to him and asked, “Tell me, did you see the accident?”
“Yes sir, I did,” he answered.
“How far away were you?” asked the lawyer.
“Twenty-two feet and two inches,” he replied.
“How can you be so specific?” came the next question.
“I knew some lawyer would ask me,” he said, “so I measured it.”
The motto of the Coast Guard it “Semper Paratus” – which means “Always Prepared.”
Writing in his first letter, the Apostle Peter said, “If someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.”
Some Christians believe that faith is such a personal matter that it should never be discussed publicly. However, when the opportunity arises we must always be prepared to speak for our Lord. We need not be offensive or obnoxious, but gentle, sincere and able to share our message of salvation and hope.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to realize that, ready or not, we are Your witnesses in the world. May we prepare today to speak Your truth tomorrow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

Getting Up When We're Down

Bob Richards is the only two-time gold medal winner of the pole vaulting competition in the world Olympics. An ordained minister, the “Vaulting Vicar” once said, “I’ve never seen a great champion who quit when he was beaten. A champion refuses to go down and stay down. He bounces back to a greater victory every time.”
We often recall the events in the life of the Apostle Peter. On three occasions, during the trial of Jesus, he denied his Lord. He was against Gentile Christians and was known to be prejudiced against them on certain occasions. He often spoke without thinking and was seen as brash, and at times, impulsive. 
But in spite of these facts and faults, he was one of the “inner three” disciples, their recognized leader and eventually became the “spokesman” for the early church after Pentecost. 
In Peter we see one who failed but would not let his flaws and faults keep him down or keep him from being a follower of Jesus. We must always believe that when we fail to do what God has for us to do, He still loves us and will never forsake us or abandon us.
Prayer: We are grateful, Lord, for Your faithfulness and presence in our lives and that You will always love us in spite of our faults and failures. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Forever Going Forward

Having been called to be a missionary, David Livingstone was required to appear before an organization for their endorsement and support. While being questioned about his call, he was asked, “Where are you willing to go?”
“Anywhere,” he answered, “as long as it’s forward!”
In concluding his second letter, Peter wrote, “But grow in the special favor and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” By his life and in his writings, Peter emphasized the importance of growth in the life and service of Christians. No matter how well we may believe we know God or how mature we may think that we are in our spiritual development, there is always space to “move forward.”
We live in a world that is hostile to the things of God. There is little doubt that many would be pleased if they could make God completely invisible.
Because of the spirit of antagonism toward God, we must be aware of the battles that are going on around us and, sometimes even within us.
The world will always challenge our faith. The only way to make certain that we are moving forward is to spend time each day with God.
Prayer: May we realize, Lord, the importance of drawing closer to You each day so that we are always prepared to stand for truth and righteousness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Choosing Sides

A minister had been invited to have dinner with President Abraham Lincoln shortly after his inauguration. After they gave thanks for the food, the minister said, “I hope the Lord’s on our side. We are facing some difficult times!”
“I don’t agree with you,” said the president.
“What?” gasped the minister. “You don’t agree that we need the Lord on our side?”
“No,” replied Lincoln. “It is my prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.”
When we ask God to be on the side of the choices we make or the paths we choose to follow, they may or may not be those that would honor God. The assumption is that God will be with us and bless us no matter what.
But when we choose to be on God’s side, everything is different. We look to Him for guidance and instruction and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. Often individuals think that if we are a nation of slogans and signs that refer to God we will be honored and blessed by Him. Not so!
The Bible clearly and consistently reminds us that: Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD!
Prayer: We acknowledge, Lord, that we cannot expect You to guide and guard us unless we willingly honor, worship and praise You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Exodus 32:26 then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side—come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.

Be He Forgives And Forgets

Young Mark was preparing to say his prayers before going to bed. His mother had been in his room going over his homework with him. As he knelt to pray he said, “Go away, Mom. I want to talk to God.”
“But, can’t I listen?” she asked.
“Well,” he said, “I don’t mind telling God about the wrong things I did today because I know He will forgive me and forget what I did. But you’ll go on yelling at me forever.”
How different is our God! His Word proclaims, “And I will forgive their wrongdoings, and I will never again remember their sins.” One of the final characteristics of the New Covenant is that the blood of Jesus not only cleanses us completely, but that He will remove them from His memory.
That’s probably difficult for many of us to accept. We often harbor in our hearts and minds the wrongs that people do to us. Often we seem to roll them around and seek opportunities to get revenge – or at least get even. Not our God.
We know that His grace is sufficient to save us. But believing that He will never allow our sins to enter His memory should bring us a permanent peace.
Prayer: Help us, our Father, to take You at Your Word, and know that as we confess our sins, You not only forgive them but forget them – forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

Blessings And Burdens

His daughter, Amy, was born disabled and could not get from one place to another without a walker or crutches. His wife, May, suddenly became ill and was bedridden. It had been a difficult day at work with more problems than solutions. 
He decided, however, that he would brighten the day of his leading lady and purchased her a lovely bouquet of flowers. Upon entering his home, he briefly showed the flowers to Amy and said, “I want to take these upstairs to Mom to cheer her up.”
“Oh,” cried Amy, “please let me do that.”
“But you can’t, Dear,” he said. “It’s not possible for you get them to Mom with your crutches.” 
“I know,” she said, “but if you carry me, I’ll carry the flowers.” And he did.
How like our Lord! From time to time we are crippled with concerns and cares. The obstacles of life overwhelm us. Then, God appears at the right moment, places His loving arms underneath us and lifts us to new heights with His strength. And in spite of the difficulties in our lives, we can take a bouquet of blessings to others as we share the goodness of His love and grace to those who need His encouragement.
Prayer: Father, may we never be so focused on our own pains and problems that we fail to bring a word or deed of kindness to others in need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 5:2-12 Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

Be Right To Do Right

One night a group of Delaware Indians gathered around a bright, warm fire talking with their Chief.
“I’ve been thinking,” said one, “about the words of the missionary. He talked of a rule delivered by the Author of Christianity. It is known as the Golden Rule. Do you remember his words?” 
“Tell me what it is,” said the Chief.
“In everything,” he said, “do to others what you would have them do to you.”
“That’s impossible,” said the Chief, “unless the Great Spirit who made man would give man a new heart.”
That is exactly what God promised to do for us and within us. He said, “I will give you a heart with new and right desires and I will put a new spirit within you.”
God wants us to be filled with His grace and treat others as He treats us. However, we cannot be who He wants us to be and do what He wants us to do unless we have that “new spirit.” No matter how we have lived or how badly we have treated others in the past, if we choose to accept Christ and do His work, He will put that new spirit within us to do as He would do.
Prayer: Lord, give us that new heart that we may live a new life that is God-honoring, Christ-exalting and Spirit-filled leading to acts of love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ezekiel 36:26-27 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Ashamed At His Coming

A young child lay dying. When asked if there was anything special he wanted he replied, “I would like to meet the president.” The word was relayed to the White House by a special friend of the president.
The next day, and without warning, President Eisenhower went to the child’s home and knocked on the door. The father, not knowing who was there, opened the door. To his surprise it was the president.
The child was elated – his wish had come true. But not so the father. He was embarrassed and horrified. There he stood, unshaven and in a torn undershirt. With head bowed and tears streaming down his cheeks, he muttered repeatedly, “If only I had known, if only I had known…”
Our Lord may return at any moment. Perhaps sooner rather than later. Jesus said, “Of that day and hour, no man knows.” Although we may not know when, we can certainly be prepared. The visible proof of our being prepared for His return is to be clothed in His righteousness and doing His work in His world.
Speaking of His return Jesus used the word “Watch!” If we are truly watching for His return, we will be abiding in Him “and we will not be ashamed...”
Prayer: Father, may we not only look for and long for Your return, but be found fully prepared and unashamed because we are ready to meet You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

All I Want Is...

The James family gathered together for a quiet time and discussion. Albert climbed into his father’s lap and hugged him with all his might. Teasingly, he asked, “Well, son, what do you want now?”
“Nothing now,” he answered. “All I want is you!”
How unfortunate for us that we rarely go to our Heavenly Father unless we want something. It seems that when we approach Him it is for something that contributes to our well-being, our health, family problems, issues at work, our financial needs or a friend. Too often we are more interested in the gifts that the Giver has to give us than the Giver.
We ask rather than adore and we prey rather than praise and we want rather than worship.
It is true that our Lord has invited us to ask if we want to receive and to come to Him for anything and everything – no matter when or what. For most of us it is a long standing habit that might be hard to break.
Perhaps it would change the nature of our relationship with God if, on occasion, we simply said to Him in a prayer of gratitude, “All I want is You!”
Prayer: Lord, we truly love You! Forgive us for hearts and minds that only focus on our wants and needs. Help us to also express our love and praise. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Why Do Good?

Have you ever wondered what good might come from an act of kindness?
Looking for something to drink in place of wine, Thomas Welch began to make grape juice in his kitchen. He shared it with some of his friends. They enjoyed it so very much that they asked him to make enough of it for them to take home and share with others. From his kindness came the company that bears his name to this day: Welch’s Grape Juice.
Elliott Handler enjoyed making doll furniture in his garage for his many friends. His miniature products were so attractive, contained so much detail and were made so well that he could not meet the many requests for his products. Because of his many acts of kindness and the fine quality of his products, he became the head of Mattel, one of the largest toy companies in the world.
It is almost impossible to walk past the loaves of bread in a super market without noticing Pepperidge Farm products. Years ago Margaret Rudkin began baking bread in her kitchen to share with her neighbors and the rest of the story is history.
Paul said, “Don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessings at the appropriate time. Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone.”
It is discouraging to continue to do the right thing and receive no recognition or reward. Often it costs us personally to continue to give and never receive anything in return – perhaps not even a word of thanks. But we are challenged in God’s Word to continue to do good even if we do not receive any recognition or any reward. God will always bless us if we do what we do in His name.
Prayer: Father, we pray that we use whatever talents You have given us to honor You and serve those around us. May we always do our best and leave the results up to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Galatians 6:9-10 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Where Are You Going?

A lady backed out of her parking place in a large mall during a blizzard and was having a difficult time seeing. A few feet from her car were the blinking lights of a snow plow. She decided to follow it, thinking it would take her safely to the exit.
After a few twists and turns the operator of the snow plow stopped, got out of his warm cab and went to the window of her car and asked, “Where are you going?”
“To the exit,” she answered.
“Well then,” he said, “don’t follow me. I’m not going anyplace. I’m only here to plow the parking lot.”
Everyone needs a leader. As Christians, we are blessed to have a Leader who can guide us safely through life – One who knows what is best for us and believes in us and is a faithful encourager. The Christian’s Leader is one who knows our strengths and weaknesses and will never call us to do what He knows is beyond our skills, abilities and potential.
Jeremiah said, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” The Prophet is assuring us that God has an individual plan for each of our lives and that it is a good plan. Because He has a plan for each of us, we can have faith in Him and be filled with hope for our future. God has planned our future and knows what we need to do, what He calls us to do.
This does not mean that we will not have difficult days or trying times, be spared hardships or heartaches. But it does mean that God will see us through pain and sorrow and lead us to victory. We have His word that He will lead us through the valleys and shadows into His glorious presence.
Prayer: How thankful we are, Lord, that You have a plan that has been designed especially for each of us. May we be faithful to trust and follow You all the days of our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

What's The Problem?

A man who was grossly overweight made an appointment with a psychiatrist. He wanted to know why he could not control his eating.
“Why,” he asked, “am I so fat?”
Pausing to think for a moment, the psychiatrist responded, “Because your life is focused on food. When you go to a baseball game, you indulge in hotdogs and beer. When you watch TV, it means snacks like candy, chips and other snacks. When...”
Before he gave another example the patient interrupted and said, “You’re right. Now tell me, what type of food do you serve during your sessions?”
Whatever is uppermost in our minds is what we live for and eventually die for. Jesus, wanting us to be sure our priorities are the ones that lead us to living God-pleasing lives said, “Blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness for they will be satisfied.”
Whenever we surrender to anything in our life that is self-destructive or self-defeating, it is a sure sign that He does not have His proper place of honor in our lives. Peace and healing, happiness and satisfaction only come from the Lord
Prayer: Lord, as we look at our lives, may we realize that if things are out of control, we need to search our hearts for Your solution. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.