As Big As We Make It!

Herb had been dating Liz for about a year. He was deeply in love with her and finally decided that he would ask her to marry him. So, he went to a jewelry store and used all of his hard earned savings to purchase an engagement ring for her. Unfortunately, the rings were more expensive than he imagined and he had little money to spend and had to settle for one with a small diamond.
One evening he took her to dinner and after they ordered their meal, with a shy, trembling voice he asked, “Liz, will you marry me?”
“Oh yes, of course I will,” said Liz.
With tears in his eyes he presented the ring to her and said, “Liz, I’m sorry, so sorry that the diamond is not as big as I wanted it to be or as large as my love.”
“Oh my,” said Liz, “that doesn’t matter. The diamond is as big as we make it!”
How very true! Value is always in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?
We often substitute things rather than thoughtfulness or gifts rather than goodness. We even confuse large with lovely or big with beauty. Often we substitute spending time with someone by offering them a present instead of ourselves.
When we give something to someone, especially God, cost doesn’t matter. What we keep for our self does.
Prayer: May we realize, Lord, that giving reflects the sincerity of our heart not the size of the gift. May we show our love more by what we do than what we give. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 9:7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Words Of Wisdom

Thomas Edison is recognized as being one of the greatest inventors who ever lived. He is credited with over 1,200 inventions, including the light bulb and the first “talking machine.” He was the founder of General Electric and greatly influenced the quality of life for everyone.
Edison was one who was known to be very conscious of the value of time. On one occasion the person introducing him as a featured speaker at a large gathering did not know when to end his remarks. He spoke endlessly of his creative genius, his ability to see things others did not see and the great future for his “talking machine.”
When he finally stopped talking, Edison stood up and said, “Thank you for your kind words. But I must make a correction. God invented the talking machine. I only invented the first one that can be shut off.”
“Let your conversation be gracious and effective,” said Paul, “so that you will have the right answer for everyone.” A wise warning for Christians who want to witness the grace of God in a way that will draw others to Christ.
We Christians are ineffective if we act offensive and arrogant. We must always be gracious and humble if we want others to listen to and accept God’s message of love, salvation and hope.
Prayer: We pray, Father, that the “grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” will always be obvious in our speech and conduct as we represent You to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 4:5-6 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Where's God When I Need Him?

Danny was kneeling next to his bed saying his prayers. Hands folded, eyes shut, his mother heard him praying: “Lord, my brother still doesn’t have a job and he sure needs one. And my sister, Ruth, she hasn’t had a date for a long time and she’s getting pretty old. And you know about Mon – she’s no better and may have to go back to the hospital. And Dad hasn’t gotten the promotion his boss promised him. You know, God, I’m really getting tired of praying for my family and not getting any results. Have you quit listening to me?”
Ever feel like Danny? No doubt most of us have.
Thank God for John’s insight: “And we can be confident that He will listen to us whenever we ask Him for anything in line with His will. And if we know He is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that He will give us what we ask for.”
John’s emphasis here is on God’s will – not our wants. And there is a dramatic difference between the two. Too often when we take our requests to the Lord they do not fit His will for our lives. We ask selfishly and do not take into consideration how what we want may differ from what we need to be and what He has designed for us to do. We need to align our requests with His will. The ultimate test of any prayer is: Lord, give me this for Your sake in Your name for Your will.
Prayer: Lord, help us to understand how to pray and what to pray for. May we accept the delays knowing that Your will is much better than our wants. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 9:7 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

Where Do I Begin?

A company was well known for its highly effective sales personnel. They were able to outperform all of their competitors by their volume of sales, the new customers they attracted and the loyalty of their old ones.
Once, during an interview, a professor asked the personnel director what he did to attract so many outstanding people to his company. After thinking for a moment he replied, “We give them a water test.”
The professor was surprised. He thought he knew of every pre-employment test available. So he asked, “What is the water test?”
“Well,” he responded, “before we hire anyone, we take them into a room where the faucet is running, the sink is overflowing and water is pouring onto the floor. We offer the person a mop and say ‘Mop up the water.’ If they begin to mop up the water without turning off the faucet, we know they are poor problem solvers and decision makers and they would not be good employees. So, we don’t hire them.”
Too often Christians try to “clean” up their lives without turning “off” old habits and behaviors that lead to sin. If we want to become who God wants us to become, we must turn away from every temptation that can distract, defeat and destroy us. We can solve the problem of sinning by deciding to keep away from evil.
Prayer: We look to You, Heavenly Father, for insight and guidance as we face the difficult choices of life. May we always recognize our need for Your wisdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:22 Reject every kind of evil.

When We Need Rest

It only lasted fifteen seconds.
But the 1906 earthquake that leveled most of San Francisco caused 375 deaths and left over 300,000 people homeless. Death, destruction and devastation were everywhere.
Tragedies occur every day – some much more significant and severe than others. But the significance of any tragedy is always personal – What impact does it have on me, my family or friends.
God is so good to us that we rarely prepare for the unwelcomed, unwanted or unanticipated events in our lives. They usually come unannounced or when we least expect them. When we awaken to a beautiful sunrise or go to bed following a glowing sunset, it always brings a contentment with life.
In times of prosperity there are many who want our friendship or our presence. It is good to laugh and be happy. But what happens when life falls apart? What do we do or where can we turn?
For the Christian there is always the Lord.
Jesus said, “Come unto me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest!” He offers us His unconditional love when we feel abandoned, His strength when we are weak, His peace when we are troubled and His grace when we sin.
Prayer: How marvelous are Your gifts, our Father. To know that we can come to You whenever any need arises is beyond reason but not beyond Your compassion. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 11:28 ”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

What's In Your Mind?

A group of visitors was watching a potter fashion an object from shapeless clay. Intrigued, one of them asked, “What are you making?”
“Something very beautiful,” he answered.
“How do you know it’s going to be beautiful?” asked the visitor.
“Because I can see it in my mind,” he replied.
Isaiah made a profound statement about the potter and his clay. “Lord,” he began, “you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand.”
Whenever and wherever pottery is mentioned in Scripture the story is the same: the potter has power over the clay. He can do with the clay what he will and shape objects that have a wide variety of uses. One may be used as a vessel to carry water or store grain. Another may be used to contain oil for a lamp that will shed light in dark places. Again, the potter may make a bowl for soup or a plate for a feast. The clay has no power or influence over the outcome of the process. The potter has control over the clay and will shape the clay carefully according to his will to fulfill its purpose.
Likewise for the Christian. God has a specific plan in His mind for each of our lives. For us to fulfill His purpose, He must shape us and mold us as a potter does with his clay until we are ready for His use.
Prayer: We thank You, Heavenly Father, that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us. May we be patient and willing to be made into Your likeness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 64:8 Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Give Thanks In All Things

When four-year-old Sammy awoke after surgery, the nurse explained that it would be necessary for him to be fed intravenously for the next few days.
After assuring him that everything would be fine, she began the process to administer the glucose. Always in the habit of giving thanks before each meal, Sammy asked in a brave and cheerful voice, “Aren’t you going to give thanks?”
It is not easy to give thanks in painful situations. Nor is it natural to see God’s goodness in all of life’s trials and troubles. But the Apostle Paul reminds us to “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
When we give thanks, we acknowledge our confidence in the Lord, knowing that He cares for us. When we give thanks, we express our closeness to God, realizing that He is with us in every situation. When we give thanks, we declare that we are willing to accept the counsel of God knowing that His will is being done.
Prayer: Dear Lord, may I learn the grace of giving thanks to You in all of life’s situations. Help me to realize that You are always with me, watching, protecting, providing and guiding me in every area of life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus…

What's In A Goal?

Charlie Brown struck out for the fourth time in the same game. In deep despair he cried out, “Lucy! I’ll never make it. All of my life I’ve dreamed of playing in the big leagues. But I know now I’ll never make it!”
“Charlie,” she answered, “choose an immediate goal. When you go out to pitch, see if you can walk to the mound without falling.”
What’s in a goal?
GUIDANCE: Establishing goals provides a process that enables us to accomplish worthwhile projects in life. Great things can be achieved when we know what we want to do. Goals enable us to make plans, solve problems, make decisions and set priorities. Then, at the end of the day, we can sit, review our progress or lack of it, redirect our steps and move forward.
OBJECTIVITY: We all have days when we feel like giving up. But if we have a goal in front of us, we will be able to see progress and see that the struggle is really worth the effort.
ACCOUNTABILITY: If we truly want to make a difference in this world we can find an accountability partner who will work with us to encourage us to “get where we want to go.” Being accountable is difficult without someone looking over our shoulder.
LABOR: Anything that has value and worth will require our hard work, patience, perseverance and prayer.
Prayer: Father, You have given each of us a reason for living and a purpose to accomplish. May we use the talents You have given us to achieve great things for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 3:13-14 …Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

What Do You Want?

A young man, aspiring to become a great philosopher, went to Socrates and said, “I want knowledge. What must I do to get it?”
Socrates asked the young man to accompany him to a beach. After staring at the water for a few moments he asked the young man to join him and walk with him into the water. They waded slowly into the water until they were neck deep. After pausing for a moment he pushed him under the water and held him there. The young man struggled and finally, after becoming exhausted, Socrates allowed him to surface and take some deep breaths.
After releasing him, Socrates asked, “While you were struggling underneath the water, what did you want more than anything in the world?”
“Air,” came the quick reply.
“When you want knowledge as much as you wanted air,” said the philosopher, “then you will get it.”
Whatever our hearts truly desire is what motivates us. And what motivates us is what we “get.” Throughout the Bible we are reminded constantly of this irony. If we focus our attention on the things of this world, we will no doubt acquire many “things.” If, on the other hand we “Delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts” and good things will come to us as by-products of His grace and goodness. We have His promise and that’s all we need!
Prayer: Lord, we ask for Your Spirit to move in our hearts and create a deep desire within us that will encourage us to take delight in honoring You always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 

"We Really Need You, God!"

Little Jeanie and her Mom were saying their “Good Night Prayers” together. Suddenly, she said in a bold voice, “God, please take care of Yourself. If anything happens to You, we’re in a mess. We really need You, God.”
Thankfully, Isaiah had some comforting words for Little Jeanie. Knowing others would have the same concern, God inspired him to write, “Don’t you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the earth? He never grows faint or weary!”
What encouraging words from the Lord Himself! Here we see Isaiah describing our God’s power to create, His power to sustain what He creates and His presence to help when we call upon Him. Our God is almighty and all powerful. Yet, with all of His greatness, He cares for each of us individually and our concerns and cares are not beneath Him or beyond Him.
Our God is beyond description and when we try to describe Him with our limited vocabulary, we only limit our understanding of Him. But this we know:
There is no limit to His love and no end to His forgiveness. No problem is too large for Him to solve nor any person too small for Him to recognize. He is not kind one moment and hateful the next. He is not strong one hour and weak the next. He does not want what is best for us one moment and then forgetful of us the next.
Prayer: Thank You God, for being our God. Thank You for being present today and every day and for Your promise of never leaving us nor forsaking us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 40:27-31 …The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom…

The Greatest Of These

Abraham Lincoln was known for his kindness to everyone. He was often criticized by his associates for being so gracious.
On one occasion one of them said, “With all of the power you have, why don’t you destroy your enemies?”
“Am I not destroying my enemies,” he asked, “when I make them my friends?”
Perhaps there is no more misunderstood or misused word in our world today than the word “love.” Nearly everyone has their own personal meaning for it. For some it has a “sexual” meaning. For others it has an “I like to be with you” meaning. And there are those who see love as demonstrating an unselfish concern for others – helping them when they are unable to help themselves or even provide for themselves.
Paul speaks of a love that is supremely concerned with the best interests and welfare of others. It is a love that makes the needs and concerns of others my very own. It is as though I am saying, “I don’t walk away from the needs of others, I take them with me. If they have a need, it is my need. If they hurt, I hurt. If they are in pain, it is my pain as well. If they have no food, I will share my food with them.”
As Christians we must move beyond the feeling, sentimental and emotional types of love to a love that calls us to do what Jesus would have us to do for others.
Prayer: Lord, we see in Your life and death the real meaning of love. Strengthen us to live as you lived and to love as You loved so others will see You in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 13 …Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs…

Taming A Temper

Bobby Jones began playing golf at the age of five. At twelve he was able to defeat any golfer in his hometown. But he had a major problem: he had a hot temper that caused him some serious problems.
When he was fourteen, he entered the National Amateur Tournament. He had high expectations of winning but he lost this very prestigious event. After things settled down, his Grandpa Bart went to him and said, “You’re good enough to win. But you’ll never win until you control your temper.”
Later in life, when Bobby Jones became a world famous golfer, Grandpa Bart said, “Bobby was fourteen when he mastered golf. But he was twenty-one when he mastered himself.”
“Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you…for anger gives a mighty foothold to the devil.”
We often become angry when someone does something that displeases us. It can be as simple as someone having too many items in a checkout line at the grocery or as large as a dear friend breaking an important promise or causing us embarrassment. The causes will vary but the result is always the same: the devil is given a “mighty” foothold in our lives. And that always opens the door to bitterness and faultfinding that can damage us and destroy others.
Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to be aware of our emotions that so easily get out of control when we don’t get our own way. Guard and guide us at all times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,  and do not give the devil a foothold.

Slippery Roads

Driving through a fierce snow storm Greg lost control of his car and it slipped into a deep ditch. A truck stopped and the driver got out and surveyed the situation. After a few moments he yelled at Greg and said, “Hey, you, let me tell you how to drive on slippery roads.”
“Forget it!” said Greg. “I don’t need advice, I need help.”
David knew what it was to need help. On one occasion he cried out, “I entrust my spirit into your hand. Rescue me, Lord, for You are a faithful God.”
David demonstrated his complete faith in God when he proclaimed these words. And Jesus, when He was dying on the cross, showed His absolute confidence in God when He uttered this same phrase. And Stephen repeated these identical words when he was being stoned to death, confidently expressing his Hope in God as he was passing into eternity.
How blest we are to be able to join David, Jesus and Stephen in knowing that we can say with no hesitation, “I entrust my spirit into your hand, Lord.” It does not matter what we have or what we do, whether we live alone or have large families, whether we manage great corporations or work alone and unnoticed. We have the same opportunity as they did to entrust ourselves and all that we have or ever will have to Him.
Prayer: How grateful we are, Heavenly Father, to know that we can – if we choose – trust You to care for and be with us in and through all the dangers of life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 31 …Into your hand I entrust my life; you will rescue me, O LORD, the faithful God…

Positive Thinking

One warm summer day a snail began climbing an apple tree. As he moved upward he heard a voice calling, “There’s no reason for you to climb this tree. There are no apples up there.” Looking around he saw a worm basking in the warmth of the sun.
Returning his attention to the task before him, the snail shouted back, “There will be when I get up there.”
A great example of positive thinking was Noah. If you recall, “God warned him about something that had never happened before…and by faith…he built an ark to save his family.” 
Perhaps no one in history experienced more ridicule and rejection for being different from his neighbors than Noah. God commanded him to build a huge boat in the middle of dry land. This certainly made no sense to him when he got his instructions from God. But it didn’t matter. He did what he was asked to do. And although his behavior seemed strange to his neighbors, it made no difference to him. Being obedient to God with what mattered. 
God often asks Christians to do things that seem strange to those who do not know Him. So, our being obedient to God often makes what we do look odd, perhaps even weird, to those who do not know the Lord. But remember, whenever God asks us to do something He also gives us the courage to overcome the skeptics and succeed.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to keep our eyes on You and on what You call us to do. Give us faith and persistence to do what You call us to do and never waver. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Hebrews 11:7  By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

Out Of Service

Recently, while waiting for an airport bus to take me to the parking lot, I noticed that several of them had signs that read OUT OF SERVICE! There I was – standing alone and helpless at the curb – inhaling the exhaust and listening to the noise of empty buses. I waited for quite some time wondering when one would come by and take me to my vehicle.
Then I thought of those standing around me. No doubt they, too, were anxious to be helped to their destination. Perhaps they had been on a long, lonely journey and were discouraged with the results of their efforts. Maybe they were fearful of what might be awaiting them. And of course, there were also those who were filled with joy and the expectations of a happy homecoming to a welcoming family, friends or business associates.
As I waited with them, I thought of all the people that God brings into our lives each and every day who need His grace. They face the same issues in life that we do and their experiences are no different than ours. Often they face their problems alone because there is no one to give them His help or hope. Unfortunately, too often we are like the bus: OUT OF SERVICE!
Jesus said, “Look around you! Vast fields are ready right now for the harvest.”
Prayer: Help us, Father, to get involved in serving You by serving others. Open our eyes to see their needs and our ears to hear their cries and then share Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 4:34-38 …“I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest...”

Only One Way

Janie was having lunch with her friend Margie who had just started a new job. Anxiously, she asked, “How do you like your new boss?”
“Well, he’s O.K.,” said Margie. Then continued, “He’s kind of bigoted, though.”
“What do you mean, bigoted?” she wondered.
“Well,” answered Margie, “he thinks that words can only be spelled one way.”
Being bigoted is not always wrong. Sometimes it is necessary and important, even critical. Though we often think a bigoted person is unreasonable and unwholesome, there are times when it is essential to be fanatical about some things in life.
One of those “things” is the “way to the Father.” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me!”
Peter was also bigoted when he said, “There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them.”
There are those whom we encounter every day that refuse to accept the fact that there is only one Name and one Person who can be called upon for salvation. This one way to eternal life did not come from a church or the disciples but from Jesus Himself.
God designated His Son Jesus to be the Savior of the world. There is no one else or any other way.
Prayer: Lord, help us to realize how important it is to fully accept, believe and declare that You alone are the only way to God and eternal life. May we never waver. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 14:1-6 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”…” I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Now It's My Time

Horace Whittell of England hated alarm clocks with a passion. Every weekday morning for 47 years he had been awaked at 6:00 a.m. to go to work. On the day after he retired, he took his clock outside, placed it on a rock and smashed it into little pieces shouting, “I’m through with you!”
For many there is nothing that can be more disturbing than an alarm clock that awakens them from a comfortable sleep. It may signal another boring day filled with endless interruptions and meaningless tasks. For others it may be the beginning of a day filled with one crisis after another and problems that cannot be solved.
How different for the Christian! Every day can be a special day, a day filled with unique challenges and great opportunities to witness and serve our Lord.
Solomon wrote, “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under the sun.” This verse reminds us that God has a special plan that He has designed for each of us. And if we want to enjoy a peaceful, productive and purposeful life, we must look to Him for His guidance.
When we discover, accept and fulfill His plan, we will enjoy His blessings every moment of every day. What may have been an annoying alarm will be God’s voice calling us to another “season” of service, informing us of something significant that only we can do for Him.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for calling us to lives that are filled with countless opportunities to serve You in endless, exciting ways. May we always be found faithful. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Motion Without Movement

Lucy was sitting behind her desk counseling Charlie Brown one sunny afternoon. Looking at him sternly she said, “Try to accomplish something!”
“Accomplish something?” he responded quickly, “I thought we were just supposed to be busy.”
Peter had some good advice in one of his most powerful sermons. He reminded his audience that “Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Peter was reminding his listeners that Jesus lived a life of perfect Servanthood – always looking for and finding ways to accomplish God’s work in His world. What is interesting about this sermon is its brevity: within a few sentences he was able to present the life, death on the cross and resurrection of Christ as well as His fulfillment of all that had been written about Him in Scripture.
The effectiveness of our preaching or witnessing for Christ does not depend on the length of time we take to present His message. Rather, the source of the Christians’ effectiveness is found in another statement in this sermon. Peter said that “God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power.”
Our Lord will bless our labors for Him when we become Spirit-filled and Spirit-led. Only then will our witness have His power and accomplish His will.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to surrender our lives to You and be available to do Your work. May we realize the blessings that may be ours as we serve You today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

Mistakes Are Not Fatal

The new bank president decided that he would meet individually with each employee to introduce himself. He wanted them to know that he was very interested in their work and how important they were to the success of the bank.
After introducing himself to all of the employees, he asked one of them to come to his office. After she sat down, he asked, “How long have you been working here?”
Proudly she responded, “Forty years. And in all that time I’ve only made one little mistake.”
“That’s fine,” he grumbled. “But in the future, be more careful.”
We all make mistakes. And there are at least three things we can do about them:
We can promise never to make another one. That, however, is impractical since we know that promise would be impossible to keep.
We can give up and never try to do anything else again as long as we live. And we know that’s impractical because life goes on.
Or we can learn from our mistakes and profit from them as though they were our teachers. When things do not work out as intended, we can go to God in prayer and ask for His wisdom which is available upon request.
Prayer: Lord, Your Word assures us that “if we need wisdom and want to know what to do” all we need to do is ask. May we learn to seek Your counsel and insight. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 1:5-9 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you…

"Make Your Plans Large!"

One of my most prized possessions is my mother’s Bible. Shortly after she went to be with the Lord, I was leafing through the well-worn and tear stained pages. In the margin next to Ephesians 3:20 she had written, “If God is your partner, make your plans large.”
In that passage of Scripture, Paul wrote, “Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” What power, Paul?
Here Paul is speaking about the mighty power that raised Christ from the dead: the same power that is available to Christians that comes from the living God. This power from God enables us to accomplish more than is possible for us to do on our own. It enables us to accomplish exceedingly abundantly more than we might even be able to ask or think – if we choose to avail ourselves of it!
God wants to work in and through the lives of His children – you and me. He wants to make His mighty power that raised His Son, Jesus Christ, from the grave available to each of us. So we must expand the way we think.
Exceedingly suggests excessiveness and abundantly means overflowing, or an overabundance of something. But he does not end with those words. He continues by adding more than we can ask or think!
If we sincerely take God at His Word, the only limitations on Christians are the ones we place on God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, it is beyond our abilities to truly understand the “mighty power” that is available to us. Increase our faith so we, in turn, can do more for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

I Must Know Them!

Years ago there was a king who would leave his palace and walk through the streets of his city dressed as one of his subjects. His guards feared for his life and often would try to stop him. Said one, “You must not do it for security’s sake!”
“But,” he replied, “I can’t rule my people unless I know them and how they live.”
What a comfort to know that our God knows us and understands us from having lived a human life in and through His Son. Whatever we face He has faced and whatever path we travel He has traveled. Jesus learned life’s secrets in life’s school of experience and can now bring us His encouragement, strength, insight and guidance.
We often forget that Jesus gained His knowledge of life’s ways because He was here among “us.” And now He is with His Father and remembers what it is like to be lonely and rejected, abandoned and fearful, alone and afraid, weary and worn out. He understands what it means to be tempted and tried, embarrassed and rejected and even forsaken by His very own brothers.
And it is because He passed through all of these experiences that now, in Heaven, He can be touched with our infirmities, and give us His sympathy, help, hope and understanding. Remember, He has endured and survived whatever His Father brings into our lives.
Prayer: We are grateful, Father, that You know us, understand us and now intercede for us. This gives us confidence to hold on tightly and never give up. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Hebrews 4:14-16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

How Much Good Should We Have?

It was the first parent-teacher conference of the year. Mrs. Adams was a bit fearful as she entered her son’s classroom. She did not know what to expect when she met his teacher.
“Mrs. Adams,” she began, “it is a delight to have your son as a student in my class. He is so good!”
“My son?” gasped Mrs. Adams. She was shocked beyond belief.
“Yes. Charles is a model student,” the teacher continued.
Then, turning to her son, Mrs. Adams said to Charles, “Your teacher said that you are a good student. Even a model student. Why can’t you be good at home?”
“Well, Mom,” he replied slowly, “I only got so much goodness in me and I decided to use it in school.”
Goodness is an expression of “God-like-ness” that should reside inside of every believer and find its way outside of each of us in showing God’s grace to others. God-like-ness should come easily, naturally and constantly in our relationships with others.
As we become more of who God wants us to be, we must allow Him to move freely in us and through us. As we sense His love flooding into our hearts, showing God-like-ness should not be something we force ourselves to do. Rather, it is something we do without even thinking about it because we are a child of God.
Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to express Your goodness to others as You have expressed it to us. May our goodness to others reflect Your love for them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. 


A successful executive of a large company had been in the hospital for days. He had waited, wondered and worried about what the diagnosis of his condition would be. After the tests were analyzed, the doctor came into his room and told him the results.
Tearfully and in shock, his wife asked, “Is there any hope, doctor?”
“It depends on where your hope is,” said the doctor. “If it is in me, I’m afraid not. But if it is in God, you have all the hope you need.”
Jesus gave Christians a prescription for hope. “Don’t be troubled,” He said. “You trust God, now trust me. There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you.”
Fear has a unique way of bringing life into focus. And there are only a few verses of Scripture that describe eternal life. But these few words are filled with promise and hope. The promise is that Jesus has gone before us to prepare a place for us. And the hope we have is He promised that He would come again to get us so we may be with Him in Heaven.
We can look forward to eternal life with Him because He has promised it to all who believe in Him as Savior and Lord. Although we may not know all we want to know about eternal life and what heaven will be like, we need not fear. Right now He is preparing our home!
Prayer: What joy we have, Father, that You – at this very moment – are preparing a home for us in heaven. We have great peace knowing that we will be with You forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 14:1-2 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

He's Never There

The family was enjoying a meal together after the morning worship service. Grandmother, always interested in her granddaughter Sara, turned to her and asked, “What did you learn in church today?”
“Well,” she said after thinking a moment, “I learned that the church is God’s house. But you know, Grandma, I never see Him when I go.”
That makes me wonder what Sara might have been looking for. Surely there were songs and the reading of Scripture. No doubt the people greeted one another and exchanged smiles and handshakes. There certainly was a sermon about the church being “God’s house.” But Sara was not able to “see” God at home in His home. Perhaps no one explained to her how one might recognize God.
Paul, in describing how Christians ought to “fellowship” said, “Try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.” The problem is not that we do not understand what we are to do, but in doing what we understand that God wants us to do.
The early church was known for the caring way Christians honored and respected each other. This came from their reverence and respect for Christ and their desire to live lives that pleased Him. Could it be that people looking for God in our churches cannot see Him “in His home” because we lack His compassion and care for one another?
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to reflect Your presence in our lives by the care and concern we have for one another. May everyone see Your love in all that we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 5:15-21 Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God And The Issues Of Life

Years ago a luxury ocean liner was making its way from England to America. Shortly after dark it encountered a massive thunderstorm and heavy seas. The ship began to heave first one way and then the other because of the enormous waves. One of the passengers sought out the captain and shouted in a loud voice, “Do something!”
“Madam, we are doing our very best,” he said calmly, “and we are trusting in the providence of God.”
“Is it that serious?” she asked.
The word “providence” comes from two Latin words, “care” and “preparation beforehand.” For the Christian this means that before we encounter problems or pain, trials or troubles God has already made His preparation for us to be safe and secure no matter what He brings into our lives.
We must realize that God sees “things” beforehand and knows what happens to us before it actually happens. Because of His knowledge and power, He will arrange the outcome of these “things” to fulfill His purpose for our lives.
Paul certainly believed in the providence of God. In his letter to the Romans he assures us that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called by Him.” If it comes into our life it is because God has a purpose and plan for it. Accept it and look for God’s hand in it.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to trust You when days seem dark and nights seem long. May we realize and accept Your “providence” for us in everything! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Give Up Or Go On?

Little Margie was having a difficult time learning to skate. It seemed as though the skates her father gave her far exceeded the strength and coordination of her legs and muscles. A neighbor watching her fall down and get up was amazed at her tenacity and determination. Finally he said to her, “Why don’t you give up?”
“Because,” she said with tears in her eyes, “my father didn’t give me these skates to give up with but to go on with.”
How like our Heavenly Father. He does not “give” things to us to cause us to fall down, but to help us “go” with Him and grow into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior.
We speak often about Paul’s “affliction” – not ever knowing what it was or the problems it may have caused him personally. But we do know that he said, “So I am glad to boast about my weaknesses…for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
The great lesson for us to learn from Paul is that if and when we are willing to admit our weakness, God can and will fill us with His power and strength. There is always the temptation for us to try to “do it on our own.” It is the natural thing to do. But that is not how God created us. God created us with the need to depend on Him for everything.
Prayer: Father, give us a willingness to recognize that in You, with You and through You, we can overcome any weakness that may defeat us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses…For when I am weak then I am strong.

Empty Hands

Alexander the Great left an indelible mark on the world. In his early life he was tutored by Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher, which shaped much of his thinking. By the age of thirty he had created one of the largest empires in the ancient world. He was undefeated in battle and to this day is considered to be a military genius and is remembered as one of history’s greatest commanders. He established over 30 cities as a result of his conquests and was responsible for spreading the Greek language and culture wherever his victories took him.
When individuals died during that period in history, it was customary for their hands to be wrapped in burial cloth. However, he decided that he would not follow that tradition. He said when he died he wanted people to see that his hands were empty.
“After all, we did not bring any money with us when we came into this world and we can’t carry away a single penny.”
Paul echoed the same words. He said we brought nothing into the world with us when we came and we will certainly not take anything with us when we leave. He wants us to understand that one day whatever we have will be left behind when we go to meet our Redeemer. The goal of the Christian is to lay up treasures in heaven by investing our lives in building His Kingdom on earth.
Prayer: Lord, it is natural to want the things of this world. They are attractive and appealing. Enable us to see “things” through Your eyes and use them for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

An Understanding Heart

A young boy with braces up to his knees on both legs hobbled into a pet store. Noticing the difficulty he had in walking, the owner approached him and said in a kind voice, “How can I help you?”
“I want to buy the puppy in the window,” he said.
“But, son,” said the owner, “that puppy has problems. He has a crippled leg and will need someone who can take care of him.”
Pulling up the legs of his trousers he said, “I understand. I have the same problem. So no one will love him more or take care of him better than me.”
One fact that should fill our minds and hearts with hope and encouragement comes from Hebrews: “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses for He faced the same temptations we do, yet He was without sin.” 
Thank God for the fact that Jesus was as human as we are. We can take great comfort in knowing that He faced everything that we face: hunger, loneliness, abandonment, pain, sorrow, grief, temptation, rejection – even death. And yet He never gave in or gave up His faith in His Heavenly Father. Jesus proved the fact that we do not need to give in to temptation and sin. He is the only one who ever lived that was always faithful and obedient to the teachings of Scripture and lived a life of perfection and set an example for us to follow.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the example Your Son, our Savior, set for us to follow. When we face temptation, give us Your strength to stand firm and not sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin…